Nicaragua's Canal Initiative Endangers the Rights of Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean Communities
The University of the Pacific Law Review, Vol. 47 (Symposium Issue)
10 Pages Posted: 14 May 2016 Last revised: 14 Jun 2016
Date Written: May 1, 2016
This essay examines the trailblazing approach to communal property in the Inter-American human rights system, and then applies that legal framework to the distressing Nicaraguan initiative to construct a trans-oceanic canal. The estimated $50 billion megaproject started initial development in December of 2014, and seriously threatens the lands and livelihoods of the indigenous and Afro-Caribbean communities in its path. I conclude that, if Nicaragua proceeds with the Canal and several of its associated projects, the State will clearly violate the communities’ property rights, among other key rights and freedoms. As a result, Nicaragua, in accord with its international legal obligations, should halt the Canal initiative until it secures the free, prior, and informed consent of the affected populations.
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