WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
17 Aug 2018 | Press Release

Nicaragua Must Immediately Provide Unconditional Access to OAS Human Rights Investigators

Washington, DC—Yesterday, an independent panel of investigators commissioned by the human rights arm of the Organization of American States (OAS) urged the Nicaraguan government to provide them full access to documents related to the violence that took place from April 18 to May 30 in Nicaragua. The panel, known as Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, by its Spanish acronym), is supposed to support current investigations, review records, and interview witnesses regarding the human rights abuses that have left more than 300 people dead since April 18, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

“If the Nicaraguan government is serious about justice and respect for human rights, it should be cooperating with the panel of experts,” said Geoff Thale, the Vice President for Programs at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas. “The four members of the investigative panel are all impartial, internationally respected specialists in human rights and international law. The government insists it has nothing to hide; if that’s the case it should be working actively with the panel, not stalling on or denying requests for information.”

In a press statement, the GIEI said they had met twice with Nicaraguan government authorities in order to request timely and unconditional access to the case files of those who have been killed or detained during the unrest. They also said they had not been provided information on any government reparation plans for victims of the violence.

“The panel of experts was created with the consent of Nicaragua’s government in order to guarantee truth and justice to those who’ve suffered deaths, acts of torture, or illegal detentions since April 18. The Ortega government needs to uphold its international commitments and give the panel the access they need to do their job,” said Thale.