Nicaragua: FIDH and CENIDH call for an end to the repression of protest demonstrations

Press release
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The FIDH and the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH) deplore the acts of repression directed against protesters and urge the Nicaraguan authorities to stop the disproportionate use of force.

The CENIDH’s figures indicate that 25 people have been killed and 64 injured as a result of the crackdown and direct attacks on protesters. An indeterminate number of civilians are missing and there have also been many confirmed arrests, although a precise figure is not available at this time. In a number of cities around the country, the National Police and government shock troops (with army support in the city of Estelí) have mounted assaults against the civilian population amid protests against plans announced last week to reform the National Social Security Institute (INSS). Public discontent over the reforms has become the catalyst for a new wave of unrest.

Among the dead are minors, students and journalist Ángel Gahona from local newspaper El Meridiano, murdered in the city of Bluefields in the South Caribbean Autonomous Region. Gahona was shot in the head, apparently by a sniper, while covering the protests in this area.

“We demand that the Nicaraguan government cease this brutal onslaught against protesters and the civilian population immediately,” said the organisations in a joint statement. “We call on the government to enter into a dialogue in which all groups involved, without exception, can take part, and to arrange for the immediate release of those detained. We ask the government to seek a real solution to the various social and political conflicts besetting Nicaragua that upholds respect for human rights,”

they continued.

The FIDH and the CENIDH also urge the Nicaraguan authorities to carry out an immediate, independent and impartial investigation into the human rights violations that have been committed, particularly with respect to the right to life of those killed; to determine the whereabouts of individuals who have been reported missing; to respect the right to freedom of expression and information by restoring the operation of currently suspended media channels; and to ensure that these events do not go unpunished.

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