Amnesty International has denounced the Nicaraguan government over its handling of the proposed Nicaragua Canal, claiming it could lead to the forced eviction of hundreds of families.
According to the non-governmental organisation (NGO), an “obscure legal framework” led to the concession of the project being awarded without genuine consultation with affected communities, violating human rights and potentially leaving many people homeless.
The Nicaraguan congress passed a law in June 2013 that gave a green light to the development of a canal that will link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and a number of related sub-projects (including an airport, two ports, a pipeline, a railroad track, and two free trade areas).
The project was subsequently awarded to HK-Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Limited, based in Hong Kong.
According to a statement from Amnesty International, “the law also leaves the door open to future development projects without ensuring proper consultation with affected communities”.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, stated: “Authorities in Nicaragua have secretly sold the country’s future to the highest bidder and put thousands of people at risk of losing everything.
“The only way to undo this appalling error is to repeal the law that backs this project before it causes more and permanent damage and go back to the drawing board, ensuring all people who might be affected have a say about their future.”
It is planned to measure approximately 275 km, dividing Nicaragua in two.
The NGO also criticised the Nicaraguan government for its treatment of protestors against the canal.