Nicaragua: European Parliament calls for further individual sanctions against perpetrators of human rights violations

On 8 July 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the human rights and democracy situation in Nicaragua, underlining the grave deterioration of the situation over the past few months. It is the second time in a year the European Parliaments expresses concern over the human rights violations in the country. In the previous resolution dating from October 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) had denounced the adoption of repressive laws, including new “Foreign Agents” legislation modelled on the 2012 Russian law.

In this new resolution, MEPs condemned “all repressive actions of the Nicaraguan authorities” against opposition members, journalists, students, indigenous people, human rights defenders and civil society. MEPs further call for the immediate and unconditional release of all arbitrarily detained political prisoners, including pre-presidential candidates that have been arbitrarily arrested in the past few weeks.

Adopted four months ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, the resolution also urges Nicaraguan authorities to make immediate changes to the electoral law to ensure that the November 7th electoral process is free, credible and equitable. It further underlines the Nicaraguan authorities’ failure to implement the recommendations made by the Organisation of American States in October 2020.

The European Parliament also called for accountability for the human rights violations committed in 2018 by the Nicaraguan government, echoing civil society’s consistent calls. FIDH and its member organisation CENIDH released a report in February 2021 documenting the widespread and systematic extrajudicial executions recorded in the country during the 2018 protests that may amount to crimes against humanity.

MEPs called on the Council of the European Union to swiftly expand the list of individuals under sanctions for their involvement in human rights violations. Over the past months, FIDH strongly advocated for the use of individual sanctions as a tool to step up the EU’s engagement on the human rights situation in Nicaragua. We argued that it was essential for EU Member States to show that the ongoing human rights violations in the country could not be tolerated.

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