REPORT Nº 125/01 CASE 12.388 YATAMA NICARAGUA December 3, 2001 I. SUMMARY 1. On April 26, 2001, the organization Yabti Tasba Masraka Nanih Asia Takanka, YATAMA, the Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH), and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) (hereinafter “the petitioners”) submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”) a petition against the Republic of Nicaragua (hereinafter the “Nicaraguan State”, “Nicaragua,” or “the State”) for the alleged violation of rights enshrined in Articles XX (right to vote and participate in government) and XXI (right to assemble) of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (hereinafter “the American Declaration”) and in Articles 8 (right to a fair trial), 23 (political rights), 24 (equality before the law), and 25 (judicial protection), in conjunction with Article 1(1) (obligation to respect the rights) of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”). 1 The complaint is related to alleged irregularities committed by the Supreme Electoral Council and the courts of justice of Nicaragua, to the detriment of the victims’ political rights. 2. With respect to admissibility, the petitioners allege that their petition is admissible because it meets the requirements set forth at Article 46 of the Convention. The Nicaraguan State failed to avail itself of the procedural opportunity afforded by the Convention to make arguments related to admissibility. 3. The Commission, after analyzing the petition, the parties’ positions, and the requirements set out at Articles 46 and 47 of the Convention, concluded that it is competent to hear the claim, and declared the petition admissible. II. PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION 4. On April 26, 2001, the Commission received the complaint by the petitioners against the Nicaraguan State, and by note of May 15, 2001, proceeded to send the State the pertinent parts of the petition, and to request that, as provided in Article 30 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure (hereinafter “the Rules of Procedure”), it make its observations within two months so as to determine how to proceed with the complaint. On August 9, 2001, the Commission reiterated to the State that it should make observations on the petition, and gave it an additional 15 days to do so. The Nicaraguan State did not exercise the option to make observations on the petition within the procedural opportunity and time frame afforded by Article 48 of the Convention and Article 30 of the Rules of Procedure. Nor did the State request an extension of the time period. III. THE PARTIES’ POSITIONS A. The petitioners 5. In the complaint, the petitioners state that YATAMA 2 is an indigenous regional political party 3 in the autonomous regions of the Atlantic region of Nicaragua, and that it decided to run candidates in the two electoral regions of that larger region, for the elections for mayor and deputy mayor (of the municipal governments), and members of the municipal councils, to be held November 5, 2000. YATAMA ran candidates in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region 1 The petitioners note that the Nicaraguan State also violated the rights enshrined in Articles 21, 25, 26, and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of the United Nations, and Convention Nº 169, concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, of the International Labor Organization. Nonetheless, in the final section of this application setting forth the relief sought, they ask the IACHR to declare that the Nicaraguan State has violated the above-noted articles of the Convention and the Declaration. 2 The acronym “YATAMA” is the abbreviation, in Miskito, of Yabti Tasba Masraka Nanih Asia Takanka, which mean “organization of the children of mother earth.” 3 On May 4, 2000, the Supreme Electoral Council of Nicaragua gave legal recognition to the indigenous organization YATAMA as a regional political party. 1

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