European Parliament highlights violations in Nicaragua canal project

The European Parliament calls on the Nicaraguan Government to protect indigenous peoples’ lands from the impact of development megaprojects, mentioning extensively the case of the inter-oceanic Canal.

In an urgency resolution adopted on 16 February 2017, members of the European Parliament expressed their concern at the "steadily deteriorating human rights situation in Nicaragua" and deplored "the attacks and acts of harassment to which human rights organisations and their members and independent journalists have been subjected by individuals, political forces and bodies linked to the State". They have also highlighted the major challenge of public sector corruption as a context for these violations.

FIDH and its member organisation the CENIDH published a report in October 2016 on "the Impact of Interoceanic canal concession on human rights. The resistance of rural communities” , informing European actors about the serious problems surrounding the 100-year concession lent to a private Chinese company, the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company Ltd (HKND). The resolution takes up the main concerns highlighted in the report, including the absence of environmental impact study and of prior consultation launched with indigenous peoples, and the fact that the canal’s proposed route will go through indigenous lands and would displace between 30 000 and 120 000 indigenous people.

The European Parliament called on the Governement of Nicaragua to respect its international human rights obligations, in particular the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and ILO Convention 169 which foresees free, prior and informed consent for indigenous peoples.

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