Human rights violations caused by the construction of the canal in Nicaragua denounced

CEJIL - along with ten other social organizations - denounced before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the multiple violations of human rights involved in the construction of the interoceanic canal in Nicaragua.

The construction of the canal covers a strip of land 278 kilometers long, with a surrounding area of 10 km on either side. It is a construction that is three times larger than the Panama canal and will result in the greatest soil and sediment removal of all time. This has prompted much concern by environmental organizations that have shown that the canal’s route will affect 7 protected areas, destroy 193 thousand hectares of diverse forests, and poses a threat of contamination to the Great Lake Cocibolca, the most important Central American freshwater reservoir.

The organizations bringing the complaint also expressed concern about the State's failure to consult with indigenous peoples and people of African descent. These groups are found in 52% of the Canal route and will be affected by the process of land expropriation, and the violation of their land rights and their right to participation and self-determination. An additional 119,000 people might be displaced.

For the petitioners, these situations amount to violations of both social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights. Within this framework, a request was made at the regular session of hearings in March that the Commission carry out an official visit to Nicaragua and report in detail the scope and consequences of the implementation of the project, promoting a broad and transparent debate and using consultation mechanisms with the affected population. The State was held accountable for the project and the IACHR reiterated its request for the authorities to visit the country.