The Naso Tjër Di people of Panama now have a protected territory of their own. The creation of the 1,600-square-kilometer (620-square-mile) comarca, as it’s called in Panama, came as a result of a recent decision by the country’s Supreme Court recognizing the Indigenous nation’s land rights. The court’s decision rested in part on evidence of the role that Indigenous groups play in protecting the environment in Panama, as has been shown elsewhere on the planet, according to an analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). The Naso celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the creation of their comarca. Image courtesy of the National Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP). Leaders in the Naso community have been working toward the goal of a comarca for decades, seeing it as a bulwark against potentially destructive outside incursions. “Having that official recognition of their land is so fundamental to their well-being and survival as a group,” Sarah Dorman, a staff attorney with CIEL, told Mongabay. The Naso nation comprises around 4,000 people living in the rainforests of northern Panama along the Teribe River, territory they have lived in for generations. But even as other Indigenous groups in Panama have been able to secure their own comarcas, the Naso’s claim to the land remained unrecognized by the government. Deforestation in Panama. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Change appeared to be coming in 2018, when Panama’s National Assembly passed a law to establish the Naso Tjër Di Comarca. Shortly…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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