Naso autonomous region is recognized in Panama


Naso King Reynaldo Santana (Photo: Land Rights Now)

When it ruled in November in favor of land rights and autonomy for the indigenous Naso people, Panama’s Supreme Court framed the decision not only in terms of centuries-old territorial links, but also environmental stewardship. The decision read in part: “This High Court holds, with no room for doubt, that the indigenous people historically have preserved the environment in the places where they have settled because they bear ancient knowledge of biodiversity, plants, animals, water and climate that enables sustainable use of the resources available to them.” The Supreme Court’s Nov. 12 ruling cleared the way for President Laurentino Cortizo to sign the necessary legislation, which he did on a Dec. 4 visit to Naso territory in the mountains of Panama’s northwestern province of Bocas del Toro. Cortizo’s predecessor, Juan Carlos Varela, had blocked the legislation by issuing a veto in December of 2018. But last November’s Supreme Court... [Log in to read more]

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