Nicaragua: A new investigative mechanism established by the Council is a critical step towards accountability

Resolution on Nicaragua adopted at the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

CIVICUS welcomes a UN Human Rights Council resolution on Nicaragua adopted on 31 March which significantly advances UN scrutiny on the country and will strengthen accountability processes. The resolution establishes a group of three human rights experts with the mandate to investigate human rights violations and abuses in Nicaragua, and to collect evidence for use in ongoing and future accountability efforts.

Under Ortega’s government, the human rights situation in Nicaragua has reached a point of critical repression. Last December, Nicaragua was downgraded to ‘closed’ on the CIVICUS Monitor – the lowest civic space rating a country can have – reflecting the atmosphere of fear and violence which prevails in the country.

‘As civils society groups are forced to close and journalists hounded from the country, independent UN monitoring is crucial to ensure accurate reporting of the myriad violations which are taking place,’ said Débora Leão, CIVICUS’s Civic Space Research Officer for the Americas. ‘That the Human Rights Council responded strongly to ongoing severe violations in Nicaragua strengthens its credibility to act in the face of human rights crises.’

Early on in this Council session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented a report on Nicaragua which outlined ‘serious violations of civil and political rights’ in the context of Nicaragua’s 2021 elections. The report concluded that ‘political leaders, journalists, businesspersons, human rights defenders and members of civil society organizations were arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and subjected to treatment and prison conditions contrary to the prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’

‘The resolution will make a real and tangible difference to those on the ground – to the individuals and families of those who have been attacked, imprisoned and tortured for exercising their fundamental freedoms,’ said Débora Leão. ‘It is a significant step towards accountability, and the justice that they deserve.’

Read our statement to the Council here.

The resolution was led by a core group of Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

Civic space in Nicaragua is rated as closed by the CIVICUS Monitor