Ownership of disputed land granted to Wounaans

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Government leaders attend ceremony

Mennonite World Conference press release

Members of the Wounaan community in Panama have now been granted official ownership of land on which lumber was being harvested against their wishes.

In early April 2012, members of Iglesia Evangélica Unida Hermanos Menonitas de Panamá (United Evangelical MB Church of Panama) requested prayer for the peaceful settlement of land claims. This request came after a confrontation between members of the Wounaan community and loggers that resulted in the death of one individual connected to the Mennonite Brethren church.

In a June 5 email sent to Mennonite World Conference, local leaders provide an update, with a note of celebration and thanks: “Today is an historical day in Panama. For the first time, the Wounaan received an official certificate for their collective lands in two territories (Puerto Lara and Caña Blanca). All this is the result of years of hard work, sacrifice, patience, frustration and even death.

“Thanks to God, the right they were claiming for years is a reality today. The government, represented by its local minister, directors and authorities, witnessed this celebration of legitimately granting land to the Wounaan.”

 

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