Resolution on Nicaragua adopted at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
CIVICUS welcomes the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution on Nicaragua, which renews and strengthens scrutiny on the country ahead of its November elections.
Since 2018, the Ortega administration has overseen socio-political and human rights crisis in Nicaragua. Systematic repression of demonstrations has effectively suppressed mobilisations. Human rights defenders, journalists, and political opponents face, intimidation, criminalisation and harassment from security agents and pro-government civilian groups. At the end of 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported that there were still more than 110 political prisoners in Nicaragua. Escalating human rights violations in Nicaragua put the country on CIVICUS’s Watchlist, which highlights serious concerns regarding the exercise of civic freedoms. In a report delivered to the Council last month, the High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted that ‘the rule of law continues to deteriorate’, and the crisis has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and natural disasters.
The adopted resolution means that the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights will enhance and broaden its monitoring of the human rights situation and deliver a comprehensive report at the HRC’s 49th Session, to be held next March. The High Commissioner will provide updates to the Council at the 47th and 48th Sessions. Such monitoring represents a further step towards truth and accountability. The resolution also leaves further measures available for the Human Rights Council to take in future should the situation continue to deteriorate.
With elections set for later this year, we are seriously concerned that repression will escalate, putting human rights defenders and broader civil society at even greater risk. We therefore particularly welcome that the resolution mandates an additional briefing to the Council and an opportunity for dialogue specifically on the context of upcoming general elections, which will be held in November 2021.
The Human Rights Council has, with this resolution, sent a message that states who violate the rights and freedoms of their people with impunity will face condemnation and scrutiny from the international community. It represents valuable international support to the thousands of people in Nicaragua who have been calling for accountability and justice since 2018. We call on council members to urge the government of Nicaragua to release all human rights defenders and activists currently incarcerated and commit to guarantee a safe environment for civil society organisations and human rights defenders in the country.
Civic space in Nicaragua is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor