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Francisca Ramírez

HRD & Coordinator
Council for the Defence of the Land, the Lake and Sovereignty
Open Deomcracy Article

Human Rights vs. Authoritarianism in Nicaragua

Francisca Ramírez is the Coordinator of the Consejo por la Defensa de la Tierra, Lago y Soberanía (Council for the Defence of the Land, the Lake and Sovereignty), a civil society movement that opposes the construction of an inter-oceanic canal financed by the Hong Kong based HKND Group. The mega-project would displace thousands of small farmers and indigenous peoples in places like Nueva Guinea and the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS), without respecting their right to free, prior and informed consent. The main goal of the Council is to repeal Law 840, which grants a 100 year concession to HKND Group for the land over which the route of the canal will be built. Francisca Ramírez, based in La Fonseca, Nueva Guinea, has been intimidated, arbitrarily detained and her family members have been violently attacked in retaliation to her activism.


Land disputes in Nicaragua, largely ignored by the authoritarian government, have led to precarious situations for indigenous communities and those who defend them. In many cases, the companies who carry out violations and human rights defenders and communities are working in collaboration with police forces and even the army. HRDs have been attacked, criminalised, imprisoned and even killed.