UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor calls for action after the murder of Indigenous land defender Nacilio Macario in Nicaragua

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 1, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lawlor condemned the murder of Indigenous environmental defender Nacilio Macario in Nicaragua and called on the government to investigate his death.

This UN Human Rights media release notes: “Mr. Macario, an indigenous Mayangna, was originally from the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean Coast and campaigned against illegal gold mining and logging taking place in his community. He was allegedly killed by settlers on 14 November 2020 while taking water and food to members of communities protecting their land.”

Lawlor says: “The Government has a duty to ensure a safe and supportive environment for those who defend the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples in Nicaragua.”

“This time it was Mr. Macario who stood up for his land against the illegal exploitation of people associated with the extractive industry, but if those responsible are not duly investigated and brought to justice, these murders will continue to be carried out with impunity.”

Lawlor adds: “I would like to echo High Commissioner’s recommendation and request the Government of Nicaragua to guarantee the exercise of freedoms of peaceful assembly, expression and association; and publicly condemn and sanction any attack or intimidation against human rights defenders and community leaders, among others.”

Despacho 505 has reported: “Human rights agencies in Nicaragua recorded 49 indigenous killings in 2020.”

More than 100,000 people have left Nicaragua since 2018 in the context of a worsening human rights crisis in that country.

In March 2020, the Peace Brigades International-Nicaragua Project was established in Costa Rica to provide accompaniment, psychosocial support, networking facilitation and security workshops to Nicaraguan human rights defenders living in exile.

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