Continued Human Rights Violations Lead to New UN Condemnation Against Nicaraguan Government

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The member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted today a new resolution on Nicaragua, denouncing serious human rights violations and urging the government to cease such abuses. With this resolution, the international community made it clear to the Nicaraguan government that it must abstain from acts of intimidation and retaliation and must urgently guarantee accountability for all human rights violations, which have been broadly denounced.

This significant resolution gives continuity to the one already taken by the UN body in March 2019. It furthermore reinforces the mandate given to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prioritise monitoring the situation in Nicaragua; she must prepare a detailed report on the human rights situation in the country, including improvements and challenges, to be presented to the Council for debate among the member states.

In the context of the adoption of the resolution and as a contribution to the monitoring that the High Commissioner is carrying out, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights is publishing a report today, entitled “623 Days of Repression and Resistance: The Human Rights Situation in Nicaragua, April 18, 2018 – December 31, 2019”, following over two years of repression of unarmed civilians and serious rights violations since the crisis broke out in April 2018.

The report outlines the various phases undertaken by the government in imposing a permanent state of emergency:
1) generalised repression of citizens’ protest;
2) imposition of a state of fear and the so-called “Operation Clean-Up”;
3) criminalisation of social protest and selective detention of former political prisoners
4) prohibition of social protest and desecration of graves;
5) “express kidnappings”, torture, and evidence of clandestine prisons.

The repression deployed by the regime has led to high levels of civil insecurity: the government has ignored the violence and calculated invasion suffered by indigenous peoples on the Caribbean Coast, murders in rural areas and violence against women—including femicides—and, the stigmatisation and criminalisation of human rights defenders and journalists who routinely bring to light the dire situation in the country. All of these crimes have intensified, are met with total impunity, and have increased in the context of the pandemic.

The unwavering positioning and actions of actors from the universal human rights system, the Inter-American human rights system, the Organisation of American States and the European Union vis-à-vis the crisis in Nicaragua have been instrumental in giving more prominence to the issue at the international level. They have emphatically called for a peaceful solution on the part of the Nicaraguan government—a call which several countries have joined, bilaterally echoing these demands and adopting sanctions to contribute to a speedy solution.

Today’s resolution from the Human Rights Council reinforces this stance and is encouraging for Nicaraguan civil society, which continues to resist, under difficult circumstances, the heavy repression and intimidation they face for their work to seek truth, justice and reparation for victims.

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