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article imageHonduran government grants land to indigenous group

By John Sevigny     Sep 17, 2013 in World
Honduras has handed over nearly a million acres of forest land on the Caribbean coast to the Miskito indigenous people, in an agreement both parties hope will protect the area from environmental exploitation.
An estimated 200,000 Miskito live along the eastern coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.
"This is an unprecedented and historic moment for our peoples," Norvin Goff, chairman of a group representing the Miskito community told Mongabay.com. "The entire region is at risk from illegal hunting, logging and clearing of land to graze cattle. The Miskito people can protect it, but only if we have title to those lands."
The land is in Honduras’ northeastern corner. The government gave the Miskito 265,000 acres of land over the past year and the community now controls a total of 7 percent of Honduran territory.
Reynaldo Vega, director of the country's National Agrarian Institute, told the Washington Post, the Miskito can now legally defend the area from mining, gas, oil and lumber companies.
“This will allow them to defend themselves against third parties who illegally make use of the area’s natural resources,” Vega said. “Foreign companies that operate in the area will have to talk first to the Miskito community.”
More about Honduras, Central america, Indigenous peoples, Miskitoindians
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