On December 14, 2008, the Government of Nicaragua handed over to the indigenous Awas Tingni community the much-awaited title to its traditional territory. This event was the result of over 7 years of advocacy by the Awas Tingni community, assisted by the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, to secure legal rights to its traditional lands and resources.The titling of Awas Tingni's lands was ordered in the 2001 case of the Mayagna (Sumo) Community of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua, a landmark case decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the principal human rights tribunal in the western hemisphere. This is the first case in which an international tribunal with legally binding authority has found a government in violation of the collective land rights of an indigenous group, setting an important precedent for the rights of indigenous peoples in international law. Download a PDF for more background information on this case.
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An abridged version of the judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the Awas Tingni case, along with other original documents relevant to the case and an introductory note, are compiled in a special issue, Vol. 19, no. 1, of the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law. These same documents, the full text of the judgment, and other relevant documents are available through links on this web page.
Case of the Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni Community v. Nicaragua (Judgment on the Merits), Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Aug. 31, 2001. [PDF] En español. [PDF]
Provisional Measures Resolution
Resolution on Provisional Measures of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, September 2, 2002. En español. [PDF]
Complaint of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Submitted to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the Case of the Awas Tingni Mayagna (Sumo) Indigenous Community Against the Republic of Nicaragua, June 4, 1998. [PDF] En español. [PDF]
Reply of the Republic of Nicaragua to the Complaint Presented Before the Interamerican Court of Human Rights in the Case of the Mayagna Community of Awas Tingni, October 21, 1998 (Unofficial Translation). [PDF] En español. [PDF]
Final Written Arguments of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, August 10, 2001 (Unofficial Translation). [PDF] En español. [PDF]
Final Written Arguments of the Republic of Nicaragua on the Merits of the Issue, August 17, 2001 (Unofficial Translation). [PDF]
Petition and Preliminary Declaration of the Mayagna Community of Awas Tingni on Reparations and Costs, August 22, 2001 (Unofficial Translation). [PDF] En español. [PDF]
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Transcript of the Public Hearing on the Merits before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Jennifer A. Amiott, Environment, Equality, and Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights in the Inter-American Human Rights System: Mayagne (Suno) Indigenous Community of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua, 32 Envtl. L. 873 (2002).
S. James Anaya & Claudio Grossman, The Case of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua: A New Step in the International Law of Indigenous Peoples, 19 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. Law 1 (2002); also available at: http://www.ajicl.org/AJICL2002/vol191/introduction-final.pdf. [PDF]
S. James Anaya, The Awas Tingni Petition to the International Commission on Human Rights: Indigenous Lands, Loggers, and Government Neglect in Nicaragua, 9 St. Thomas L. Rev. 157 (1996).
S. James Anaya & S. Todd Crider, Indigenous Peoples, the Environment, and Commercial Forestry in Developing Countries: The Case of Awas Tingni, Nicaragua, 18 Hum. Rts. Q. 345 (1996); also available at: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/human_rights_quarterly/v018/18.2anaya.htm.
Patrick Macklem & Ed Morgan, Indigenous Rights in the Inter-American System: The Amicus Brief of the Assembly of First Nations in Awas Tingni v. Republic of Nicaragua, 22 HR Quarterly 569, available at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/human_rights_quarterly/v022/22.2macklem.pdf. [PDF]
Ester Melba McLean Cornelio, El caso Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua: Hacia el reconocimiento de los derechos de propiedad comunal indígena en la Costa Atlántica (Presentation, University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (URACCAN) in Managua, Nicaragua, Sept. 8 - 10, 2004). [PDF]
Ester Melba McLean Cornelio, La Falta de Implementación de la Sentencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en el Caso Awas Tingni (Presentation, UN Seminar of Experts on Implementation of National Legislation and Jurisprudence Concerning the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tucson, AZ, Oct 12-14, 2005). [PDF]
Luis Rodríguez-Piñero Royo, "El caso Awas Tingni y el régimen de derechos territoriales indígenas en la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua" in Derechos humanos y pueblos indígenes: Tendencias internacional y contexto chileno (Jose Aylwin O. ed.), Temuco, Instituto de Estudios Indígenas/Universidad de la Fronterna (2004).
Luis Rodríguez-Piñero Royo, "El caso Awas Tingni y la norma internacíonal de propiedad indígena de las tierras y recursos naturales" in Avances en la protección de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas (Fernando M. Mariño Menendez & J. Daniel Oliva Martínez eds.), Madrid, Dykinson, 2004 [reproduced with permission of the copyright owner].
Jonathan P. Vuotto, Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua: International Precedent for Indigenous Land Rights, 22 B.U. Int'l L.J. 219 (2004).