INTER - AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS COMISION INTERAMERICANA DE DERECHOS HUMANOS COMISSÃO INTERAMERICANA DE DIREITOS HUMANOS COMMISSION INTERAMÉRICAINE DES DROITS DE L'HOMME ORGANIZACIÓN DE LOS ESTADOS AMERICANOS WASHINGTON, D.C. 2 0 0 0 6 EEUU February 26, 2013 Ref.: Case No. 12.354 Kuna de Madungandí and Emberá de Bayano Indigenous Peoples and Their Members Panama Mr. Secretary: On behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, I am pleased to address you in order to submit to the jurisdiction of the honorable Inter-American Court of Human Rights, case no. 12.354 against the Republic of Panama (hereinafter, “the State,” “the Panamanian state,” or “Panama”), related to the ongoing violation of the right to collective property of the Kuna de Madungandí and Emberá de Bayano indigenous peoples and their members as a result of the State of Panama’s failure, to date, to pay the financial compensation stemming from the dispossession and flooding of the victims’ ancestral territories. The case also has to do with the failure to recognize, award title for, and demarcate the lands granted to the Kuna de Madungandí indigenous people over the course of a lengthy period of time that falls within the Court’s ratione temporis jurisdiction, as well as the failure, up through the present time, to recognize, demarcate, and award title for the lands granted to the Emberá de Bayano indigenous people. The failure on the part of the State to meet these obligations regarding the collective property of the indigenous peoples was accompanied, simultaneously, by the State’s decision to systematically ignore the multiple legal commitments it had assumed even up through 2010. In addition to the foregoing, and as a corollary to its obligation to effectively protect the territory and natural resources of the Kuna de Madungandí and Emberá de Bayano indigenous peoples and their members, the Panamanian state failed in its obligation to prevent the intrusion of colonists and illegal logging. This situation worsened beginning in the 1990s. The Commission also concluded that the State of Panama failed to fulfill its obligation to provide the Kuna de Madungandí and Emberá de Bayano indigenous peoples and their members with an appropriate and effective mechanism for accessing territorial property and for obtaining a response with regard to the multiple complaints of intrusion by third parties into their territories and natural resources. Lastly, the case was analyzed by the Commission from the vantage point of the right to equality and non-discrimination and in light of the series of violations committed as a manifestation of discrimination against the two indigenous peoples. Such discrimination is likewise echoed in the existence of provisions that reflect an “assimilationist-type” policy that helps promote violations of indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral territory and natural resources.

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