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Colombia protests over boundaries of Nicaragua nature reserve

February 17, 2021

Colombia on Tuesday lodged a protest at Nicaraguan plans to create a nature reserve that Bogotá said included parts of its Caribbean territorial waters.

“Colombia rejects the fact that, under the pretext of an environmental protection measure and in contravention of international law, Nicaragua includes and qualifies portions of the Caribbean Sea as if they were part of its territory,” the Colmbian foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said that a law approved recently by the Nicaraguan parliament is “unilateral” and “does not comply with international requirements and procedures for the recognition of areas and places of special interest and environmental protection.”

In January, Nicaragua’s parliament authorized the creation of the so-called “Nicaraguan Caribbean Biosphere Reserve” with an area of more than four million hectares and 72 protected areas.

Colombia’s foreign ministry said that the decision “ignores the existence … of the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve” in Colombia, which was declared a natural reserve in 2000 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The two countries are facing off over a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that in 2012 set the maritime limits in the Caribbean Sea and granted Nicaragua part of the territory that had belonged to Colombia.

For Colombia, the new declaration is “one more attempt” by the Central American country to “pretend compliance and respect” for human rights and the environment before the ICJ.

“It is widely known by the international community that the Nicaraguan authorities are systematic offenders in these matters,” the ministry added.

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