Since 2007, Native Future has provided technical and financial support to the Wounaan-led and managed Foundation for the Development of the Wounaan People and their Land Commission. This support has resulted in the following advances:
2007: U.S.-based international human rights lawyer, Professor Leonardo Alvarado traveled to Rio Hondo, Platanares and Majé-Chimán, and found their claims to their traditional lands to be meritorious. (Download a copy of an English executive summary here Alvarado Report – Executive Summary in English or the complete Alvarado Report in Spanish.)
2008: With Wounaan community members, Native Future volunteers Cameron Ellis and Julian Dendy map the boundaries of Rio Hondo and Platanares.
Native Future launches the 2008 – 2009 Wounaan Land Tenure Project, the goal of which is to help Wounaan communities Rio Hondo, Platanares and Majé-Chimán gain control over their traditional lands.
Native Future Scholar Leonides Quiroz testifies before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (UNHRC – Concluding Remarks Panama)
Panama passes “Law 72” which establishes a special procedure by which indigenous communities can secure legal recognition of their land rights and hold these rights as a community.
2009: Native Future supports Economic & Environmental Study of Wounaan communities comparing impacts of Wounaan land use to those of colonists. Martin Heger Economic and Environmental Study
2010: Wounaan submit applications for collective title to first three communities – Rio Hondo, Platanares and Majé-Chimán – to the appropriate Panamanian authorities.
2011: Native Future Scholar, Leonides Quiroz successfully defends his thesis graduating from Law School and becoming the first Wounaan lawyer.
2012: Native Future Volunteer Cameron Ellis trains a team of Wounaan to use GPS and develop maps of the boundaries of their communities, in the process mapping the Wounaan community of Cemaco.
Still, title has not been granted, and Wounaan forests and way of life continue to be destroyed. Nine other Wounaan communities are in the same predicament and need to secure land title to stop the destruction of their rainforests. Native Future’s Land Tenure program will continue to support the Wounaan to protect their land rights and the integrity of the rainforests in which they live.
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