Nicaragua: Violence and repression continue

42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
-Interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s report on Nicaragua
-Joint statement from CIVICUS & RedLad

It has been more than a year since the crisis began in Nicaragua, and violence and repression continue unabated. Thousands have been arbitrarily detained and hundreds have been criminalized for exercising their right to peaceful assembly. A recent report, “The Articulation of Social Movements of Nicaragua,” identifies two new phases of political repression during 2019: harassment of activists, restriction of public freedoms and extrajudicial executions.

CIVICUS and REDLAD welcome the recent release of political prisoners. However, the Amnesty Law under which they were released establishes that no investigation will be carried out to investigate the use of lethal violence by the State to repress the protests, perpetuating impunity for those responsible for these crimes. The report of the Articulation of Social Movements of Nicaragua indicates that there are still 121 political prisoners and prisoners held by the Nicaraguan State.

Further attacks on civic space are ongoing. Repression of dissenting voices through arrest, shutting down of protests and closing of organisations represent an alarming unwillingness of the government to engage with and listen to those it governs.

Human rights violations remain widespread in rural and cross-border territories of the country.  The environment for those who live in communities under militarized police forces is particularly dire, resulting in persecution of citizens who participate in protests, sieges by the National Police, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and harassment of authorities of opposition municipalities.

Like the High Commissioner, we are concerned at the lack of political will to guarantee truth, justice and reparation for the victims of repression and their families. There are no guarantees that the negotiations will be restarted, which were canceled unilaterally by the government, or that the commitments agreed between the parties will be fulfilled.

In this climate, international scrutiny on Nicaragua remains as crucial now as ever. Nicaragua is falling far short on its responsibility to ensure accountability and justice. We welcome the OHCHR’s continued monitoring and reporting on Nicaragua and call on the Council to establish an independent investigative mechanism as the first step towards accountability for crimes and redress for those affected.

 

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