A long-fought victory
On October 25, 2018, the indigenous peoples of Panama scored an important victory: after years of struggle, the Naso finally had their land rights recognized. The National Assembly approved a law recognizing the Naso Comarca – their nearly 400,000 acre traditional territory in Western Panama. The draft law now goes to the President for his signature.
The Naso Comarca overlaps with the Panamanian side of La Amistad International Park and Palo Seco Protected Forest. As many recent studies have shown, indigenous lands are among the best protected – so by recognizing the Naso Comarca, Panama will notch a win for both human rights and the environment.
This is a huge win for the Naso, and they are celebrating: “As indigenous peoples, we have the right to have our Comarca recognized by the state. We’ll protect our culture and our environment. For us, security is our lands – and once we have our lands, we’ll be able to rest happy. This is our dream as a people” – Reynaldo Alexis Santana, Naso King.
Photo of Naso girls in the soon to be Comarca by Rita Willaert.