OAS-Backed Experts Expelled a Day Before Release of Critical Report
Washington, DC—Yesterday, the Nicaraguan government expelled a panel of investigators convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the day before they were scheduled to present their final report on violence and human rights abuses in the country at a press conference in Managua.
Geoff Thale, the Vice President of Programs at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), issued the following reaction:
“The decision by the Nicaraguan government to kick out an international group of experts, after inviting them in to investigate protest-related violence, is a blatant and deplorable effort to silence the truth. The government will clearly go to any lengths to protect itself from oversight, investigation, or criticism by internationally respected, independent investigators.
“The past seven months has seen more than 300 people killed, mostly at the hands of government-linked paramilitaries and security forces, with hundreds more arbitrarily charged for political crimes. Thousands of others have fled the country for their safety and that of their families. The government’s repressive tactics make it all the more important that we hear the findings that are the result of the months of investigation by the widely respected group of experts appointed by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”
The experts were convened in an agreement with Nicaragua’s government, in order to examine violent acts that had taken place in the country since the outbreak of social protests on April 18. As part of the accord between the IACHR and the Nicaraguan government, the report covers events up until May 30, and includes recommendations for how Nicaragua can ensure justice for those killed, beaten, or arbitrarily detained in association with the protests.
A press conference had been scheduled for December 20 at 10 a.m. in Managua. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is expected to announce soon a rescheduled date and location for the report’s release.