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The interoceanic canal in Nicaragua & communities’ struggles for rights

October 20, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


The Nicaraguan interoceanic canal of 2013 is the biggest mega-project ever contemplated in Latin American history which – if built – could imply the biggest removal of earth in human history. The legal design of the canal concession includes legislation prepared and approved by the political party in power, and it will result in multiple and severe human rights violations.

Since 2018, Nicaragua has been immersed in a deep political crisis which includes crimes against humanity committed by the government. Currently, the canal mega-project is on stand-by, but the contract and legal arrangements are still applicable for the duration of 100 years. The concession includes the expropriation of the land of rural, indigenous and afro-descendent communities and it gives away Nicaragua’s main water and natural resources to a private Chinese investor.

For 8 years, Nicaragua has seen the emergence of a potent peasants’ movement along with environmentalists and scientists in the front line against the canal. As the lead lawyer in the case, the human rights organisation Popol Na has opened an appeal to the project in the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. In her talk Mónica López will share the experience of engaging social movements for the protection of their rights and environmental rights, while simultaneously facing a dictatorial regime.

Bio: Mónica López Baltodano is a Nicaraguan human rights and environmental lawyer and the director of the human rights NGO Popol Na. She has been involved in human rights and environmental rights struggles in Nicaragua for over a decade, particularly focusing on the impact of megaprojects. She is the legal advisor for the Peasants’ Movement in Nicaragua and involved in several human rights platforms and initatives, such as Local Development Network, Cocibolca Group (of environmentalists) and the Articulation of Social Movements and Civil Society. Since the Nicaraguan people’s uprising in 2018, Mónica has engaged also with students’ movements and civil society platforms united against repression and claiming a democratic transition and justice for Nicaragua. She has prepared national and international legal actions and advocacy in human rights institutions such as the Interamerican Human Rights Commission (OAS), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council and the UN Human Rights Mechanism.


Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York
01904 325885
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Alcuin Research Resource Centre
University of York
York, YO10 5DD
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