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United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - States Parties Reports

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Nicaragua - Fourteenth Periodic Reports of States Parties due in 2005 (Addendum) - Reports submitted by States Parties under Article 9 of the Convention [2007] UNCERDSPR 11; CERD/C/NIC/14 (15 October 2007)


International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
17 October 2007
Original: SPANISH





Fourteenth periodic reports of States parties due in 2005



[21 June 2007]


Chapter Paragraphs Page

of Youth 46-49 18

3. Citizen Participation Act (Act No. 475) 50-52 20

4. Code of Children and Adolescents 53-57 20

5. The Municipalities Act and amendments thereto 58-62 21

6. Creation of the Presidential Secretariat for

Atlantic Coast Affairs 63-67 22

7. Indigenous peoples of the Pacific, central and northern

regions of Nicaragua 68-70 24

8. Categorization of the offence of discrimination 71-76 25

B. Article 4 77-84 26

1. Act on Amendments and Additions to the Criminal Code 82-84 27

C. Article 5 85-267 28

1. Case of the Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Alatakanka

(YATAMA) Indigenous Party 85-90 28


Chapter Paragraphs Page

2. Administration of justice 91-112 29

3. Political rights 113-131 34

4. Regulations pertaining to the Autonomy Statute

of the Atlantic Coast 132-138 40

5. Budget of the Atlántico Norte and Atlántico Sur.

Autonomous Governments and Regional Councils 139-146 44

6. General position of the State of Nicaragua on the

Awas Tingni case 147-169 49

7. Indigenous peoples and ethnic communities in

Nicaragua which hold title to their properties 170-171 53

8. International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 172-176 54

9. The right to work 177-195 54

10. The right to public health 196-224 57

11. The right to education 225-254 63

12. The right to a name and a nationality 255-267 68

D. Article 6 268-304 70

1. Creation of the Office of Procurator for Defence of the

Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities 268-287 70

2. The right to land 288-295 73

3. Regulations of the Organic Act on the Judiciary 296-304 74

E. Article 7 305-335 76

1. Training for specialists in bilingual intercultural

Education 313-322 77

2. The right to culture 323-335 79



Bibliography 84


Executive Summary

The State of Nicaragua has adopted a series of legislative measures and decrees designed to give effect to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Among the most salient items of legislation promulgated during the period from 1995 to the present, mention should be made of the following: Act concerning the Official Use of the Languages of the Communities of the Atlantic Coast; Regulations pertaining to the Autonomy Statute of the two Regions of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua; Act concerning the Communal Property Regime of the Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities of the Autonomous Regions of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua and the Bocay, Coco, Indio and Maíz Rivers; Decree creating the Council of the Caribbean Coast; Decree declaring National Garifuna Day (19 November of each year).

Other general laws have also been promulgated over the past 10 years and contain special provisions for the protection of the indigenous people: they include the Citizen Participation Act; the General Education Act; the Code of Children and Adolescents; the General Act on the Environment and Natural Resources; the Act on the Promotion of Integral Development of Youth; and the General Health Act.


In October 1997 the Regional Autonomous Education System (SEAR) was approved and is geared towards comprehensive education of indigenous individuals and ethnic communities. There is also a Bilingual Intercultural Education Programme (PEBI) which facilitates access to various levels of education for the inhabitants of the autonomous regions of Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast.


The Government of Nicaragua submitted the National Health Plan 2004-2015, which contains the general guidelines, specific policies and strategies aimed at bringing about a change in the health situation of the individuals, families and communities of the Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast.

Case of YATAMA and Awas Tingni

The Government of National Reconciliation and Unity, in its desire to promote respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples and ethnic communities, is in the process of complying with rulings in the YATAMA and Awas Tingni case, for which every effort is being made to carry out to the full the orders of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and to protect the rights of all our country’s indigenous peoples, using these processes to promote relations among the Government, the indigenous peoples, the ethnic communities and their local authorities and governments.

Commitments undertaken by the Government

The Government of National Reconciliation and Unity adopted as one of its priorities the promotion of the human rights of the indigenous peoples of Nicaragua and Afro-Nicaraguans by promoting laws, measures and programmes in favour of those peoples.

Accordingly, the Government of National Reconciliation and Unity is endeavouring to reduce the illiteracy rate on the Caribbean Coast through nationwide implementation of the “Yo, sí puedo” (Yes, I can) programme in coordination with the Coordination Committee on the Literacy Programme promoted by the Ministry of Education (MINED) with the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (URACCAN) and other local organizations.

It is the interest of the Government of National Reconciliation and Unity to ratify international treaties for promoting human rights, but on condition that they are consistent with the Political Constitution and are of benefit to Nicaraguans. Accordingly the Government of Nicaragua will review the appropriateness of ratifying Convention No. 169 and will conduct the necessary consultations on its content with all State and regional institutions and civil society organizations involved.

From the cultural point of view, specific actions have been initiated, such as support for the Action Plan for Safeguarding the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, “A masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of mankind” (1 March 2006 to 31 August 2008). The purpose of this Plan is to revive Garifuna culture.

The central Government is also promoting a regional forum in the RAAS to submit to the cooperation community the Regional Development Plan for the RAAN and the RAAS in order to attract investment and social projects on behalf of the municipalities and communities with indigenous and ethnic populations, such as the Miskito, Sumo-Mayagna, Rama, Garifuna, Afro-Nicaraguan and Mestizo groups.

Accordingly, the Government of National Reconciliation and Unity wishes for greater integration of the Atlantic Coast with the Pacific, central and northern regions of Nicaragua, as evidenced by the fact that several of the ministries and institutions of the central government are headed by Afro-Nicaraguans, Miskitos and Mayagnas of both autonomous regions, who have displayed great ability and merit in the fulfilment of their functions.


AC Coastal Alliance

ADPESCA National Fisheries and Aquaculture Administration

APAN North Atlantic Fishing Association

APRODIN Association for the Promotion and Defence of Indigenous Rights in Nicaragua

BICU Bluefields Indians and Caribbean University

CAMINOS Assistance, Mediation, Information and Guidance Centres

CEDEHCA Centre for Human Rights and Rights of Citizens and Autonomous Groups

CENIDH Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights

CEPAD Nicaraguan Council of Protestant Churches

CIDCA Atlantic Coast Research and Documentation Centre

CISP Committee for Solidarity with Peoples

CONADETI National Demarcation and Titling Commission

CONAPINA National Council for Comprehensive Care and Protection of Children and Adolescents

CRAAN Atlántico Norte Autonomous Regional Council

CRAAS Atlántico Sur Autonomous Regional Council

CSE Supreme Electoral Council

CSJ Supreme Court of Justice

DGME Directorate-General for Migration and Aliens

DGOI Directorate-General for International Organizations

EIB Bilingual intercultural education

FADCANIC Foundation for the Autonomy and Development of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua

FAO United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

FISE Social Investment and Emergency Fund

FJR Rural judicial facilitators

FSLN Sandinista National Liberation Front

GRAAN Atlántico Norte Autonomous Regional Government

GRAAS Atlántico Sur Autonomous Regional Government

IDB Inter-American Development Bank

IDR Rural Development Institute

ILO International Labour Organization

INAFOR National Forestry Institute

INATEC National Technology Institute


INC Nicaraguan Cultural Institute

INETER Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies

INIDE National Development Information Institute

INSS Nicaraguan Social Security Institute

INVUR Nicaraguan Institute for Urban and Rural Housing

JENH Youth Setting New Horizons

LOPJ Organic Act on the Judiciary

MAGFOR Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

MARENA Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources

MINED Ministry of Education

MINREX Ministry of External Relations

MINSA Ministry of Health

MITRAB Ministry of Labour

NACARA Nicaragua Adjustment and Central American Relief Act

OAS Organization of American States

ODACAN Office for Development for the Autonomy of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua

PAHO Pan American Health Organization

PAMUC Coastal Unity Movement Party

PARLACEN Central American Parliament

PDDH Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman

PEBI Bilingual Intercultural Education Programme

PGR Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic

PIM Multi-ethnic Indigenous Party

PLC Liberal Constitutionalist Party

PN National Police

PREDHA Regional Programme for Education in Human Rights and Rights of Autonomous Groups

PRODEP Land Administration Project

RAAN Atlántico Norte Autonomous Region

RAAS Atlántico Sur Autonomous Region

SEAR Regional Autonomous Education System

SEPCA Presidential Secretariat for Atlantic Coast Affairs

SIBURAAN Union of Divers of the Atlántico Norte Autonomous Region

SIDA Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency


SILAIS Local Comprehensive Health-care Assistance System

SINTRAMARSI Union of Marine and Related Workers

SOLCARSA Sol del Caribe S.A

TPS Temporary Protected Status

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund

URACCAN University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua

USCI Unit for the Monitoring of International Conventions

WFP World Food Programme

WHO World Health Organization

YATAMA Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Alatakanka


1. Nicaragua, as a Member State of the United Nations, has ratified the human rights covenants and conventions obliging them to take legislative, administrative and judicial measures for the application of the above, which form part of domestic legislation under the Constitution.

2. Nicaragua ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by Decree No. 17 of 3 December 1977.[1] Through this international instrument the State of Nicaragua undertook to adopt measures whereby the population would respect, promote and encourage universal and effective respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms laid down in the Political Constitution, without discrimination on grounds of race, sex, language or religion.

3. The Government of Nicaragua, through the Unit for Monitoring International Conventions (USCI), the Directorate-General for International Organizations (DGOI) and the Ministry of External Relations (MINREX), has prepared this report with the collaboration of the Interagency Committee made up of institutions, central government ministries and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that promote human rights, while at the same time covering topics directly linked to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

4. The institutions, ministries and bodies that participated in the preparation of and consultation on the report are as follows: INSS; the Presidential Secretariat for Atlantic Coast Affairs; MINED; INIDE; MINSA; INVUR; MITRAB; Commission for Ethnic Affairs and Autonomous Regimes of the National Assembly; the Property Administration; CIDCA-UCA; URACCAN; GRAAS; CRAAS; GRAAN; CRAAN; CEDEHCA; Office of the Procurator for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities; PGR; INC; UNHCR; CONAPINA; CALPI; DGME, IPADE; MP and CSJ.

5. The Government of Nicaragua has the honour to submit to the distinguished members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination the tenth to fourteenth consolidated reports covering the period 1997-2006, pursuant to the application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as established in article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention.


6. With the promulgation of the Autonomy Statute of the Autonomous Atlantic Coast Regions of Nicaragua (Act No. 28), the Atlantic Coast was divided into two autonomous regions, one in the north and the other in the south, comprising a total area of 45.77 % of the national territory (59,673.6 km2).

7. The Atlántico Norte Autonomous Region (RAAN) is located in the north-western part of Nicaragua and comprises the largest territorial area of the Caribbean Coast. It is bordered on the north by the Republic of Honduras, on the west by the departments of Jinotega and Matagalpa, on the south by the RAAS and on the east by the Caribbean Sea. It covers a total area of 32,127.28 km2 (24.7 % of the national territory) and has its administrative seat in the city of Bilwi, municipality of Puerto Cabezas.[2]

8. The Atlántico Sur Autonomous Region (RAAS) is bordered to the north by the RAAN, to the south by the department of Río San Juan, to the east by the Caribbean Sea, and to the west by the department of Chontales. It occupies an area of 27,546.32 km2 (21.1 % of the national territory) and has its administrative seat in the city of Bluefields.[3]

9. Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast is populated by six ethnic groups: Rama, Mayagna, Miskito, Creole, Mestizo and Garifuna. Mestizos predominate among the mining communities, Miskitos in Puerto Cabezas and Waspam, Creoles in Laguna de Perlas and Corn Island, and Mestizos and Creoles in Bluefields.

10. In addition, the north, centre and Pacific areas of Nicaragua are home to the Xiu-Sutiava, Naho-Nicarao, Chorotega and Cacaotera-Matagalpa indigenous communities.

11. The 2005 population census conducted by INIDE showed for the first time the selfrecognition, or sense of belonging to indigenous groups or ethnic communities, for all people residing in the national territory. Table 1 provides information showing the population belonging to each indigenous group or ethnic community and also highlights Nicaragua’s ethnic cultural diversity.

12. According to data provided by the 2005 Population and Housing Census, 8.6 % of the country’s total population claim to belong to a particular ethnic group) Miskito, Mayagna, Creole, Rama, Garifuna, Chorotega, Xiu-sutiaba, Cacaotera or Nahoa). Of these, 11 % claim not to know which group they belong to; if one adds to them those not surveyed they account for 15 % of the total of population that is indigenous or Afro-Nicaraguan population.

13. The breakdown is as follows: Miskitos (27.2 %); Mestizos from the Caribbean Coast (25.3 %), Chorotega-Nahua-Mangues (10.4 %), Creoles (4.5 %), Xiu-Sutiavas (4.5 %), Cacaopera-Matagalpas (3.4 %, Nahoa-Nicaraos (2.5 %) and Mayagna-Sumos (2.2 %).

14. These population groups are mostly rural (56.8 %) with different behavioural patterns, depending on the indigenous people or ethnic community. The Creole population has a marked urban presence (90.5 %), followed by the Xiu-Sutiava (80.4 %), Garifuna and Ulwa (62 % each).

Table No. 1

Indigenous People or Ethnic Community
Urban RM%
Rural RM %
443 847
191 682
252 165
4 185
1 907
2 278
3 271
2 033
1 238
9 756
1 080
8 676
120 817
45 445
75 372
Creole (Kriol)
19 890
18 219
1 671
Mestizo on the
Caribbean Coast
112 253
49 611
62 642
16 047
3 902
4 955
6 158
Chorotega- Nahua-
46 002
11 808
100. 2
34 194
15 240
3 874
11 366
13 740
8 835
4 905
Don’t know
47 473
16 461
31 012
not surveyed
19 460
10 974
8 486

Source: INIDE 2005 Population and Housing Census.

A. Refugees

15. The Nicaraguan State is committed to the respect and promotion of human rights, for which purpose it abides by its humanitarian commitment to provide effective protection for all persons without any discrimination whatsoever. To that end article 42 of the Political Constitution establishes that:

“Nicaragua recognizes and guarantees the right of refuge and asylum. Refuge and asylum provide protection only for persons persecuted for their struggle for democracy, peace, justice and human rights.

“The law shall determine the status of asylum-seeker or political refugee, in accordance with the international agreements ratified by Nicaragua. In the event of a decision to expel asylum-seekers, they may never be dispatched to the country in which they were persecuted.”

16. Nicaragua is host to 290 Salvadorian refugees, a reduction compared with previous decades. But there are still former Salvadorian refugees residing in Nicaragua, whose full social integration is jeopardized by their irregular status. For over five years, the Nicaraguan Council of Protestant Churches (CEPAD), the organization that represents UNHCR in Venezuela, has been endeavouring to secure their legalization, since they entered Nicaragua as refugees and many have been were documented as residents but have failed to renew their resident status, remaining in the country irregularly for as long as 18 years, using expired identification having no access to various procedures and rights. CEPAD estimates at 1,300 the number of former Salvadorian refuges who have not been legalized.

17. Since early March 2004 work has been proceeding on the creation of an inter-agency commission on refugees in Nicaragua with the principal aim of elaborating a draft law on the subject. In July 2004, with the collaboration of UNHCR, training was provided for delegates of State institutions and non-governmental organizations covering the principal elements of refugee rights to be taken into account in the preparation of domestic laws.

18. As a result, starting in August 2004, a committee made up of representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, DGME, the Ministry of External Relations, the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH), the Nicaraguan Network on Migration and CEPAD, began preparation of a sketch of the preliminary draft law.

19. On 25 April 2006, with the assistance of UNHCR, the preliminary draft refugees act was submitted to the members of the Population and Development Committee of the National Assembly and is being studied for its approval on the annual agenda of the current National Assembly.

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