Messy conflict dynamics - Indigenous v. Settler in Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast

An interesting article for those of us working on community and indigenous land, and conflict resolution - and one that highlights the necessity of strengthening local land governance alongside titling or registration initiatives:

After decades of peaceful co-existence, the relations between Nicaragua’s largest indigenous group and non-indigenous settlers are souring.

Despite a law that bans the sale of indigenous land in the region, it has been widely reported that some indigenous leaders have granted “permits” to the settlers effectively handing tracts of land over for long term use. …

Jose Boanerges, vice president of the association and a 35- year-old farmer who came to the region 15 years ago, believes communal property laws are being used to discriminate against non-indigenous settlers. … Nicaragua has been a world leader in the granting of land rights to native peoples. Indigenous communities gained autonomy in 1987 over their ancestral lands and “Law 445” was introduced in 2003 to allow indigenous people to apply for land titles. “They created the law and now they themselves violate it,” he said. "The community that doesn’t want to sell their land should be respected. But if they’ve sold it, they should respect the rights of the person who bought it. He’s a Nicaraguan too.”

Have any other land protection practitioners seen similar conflict dynamics emerge where you are working? Do you have any stories about how they can be addressed?

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