Joint Statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Nicaragua, on 15 December 2022
Speaker: Juan Carlos Arce
I deliver this statement on behalf of 34 Nicaraguan and international organisations, of which 12 are part of the Colectivo 46/2, a coalition that monitors Nicaragua’s cooperation with the UN human rights system.
We lack appropriate terms to describe the suffering that the Nicaraguan people have endured since the repression of the April 2018 protests, and the severity and breadth of the human rights crisis at the hands of the government in Nicaragua. With over 150,000 Nicaraguans in exile, Nicaraguans are the third largest population applying for asylum in the first half of 2022, after Venezuelans and Ukrainians according to UNHCR.
The November 6 municipal elections resulted in the absolute control by the ruling party over the country’s 153 municipalities, in a process ‘characterized by repression of dissenting voices and undue restriction of political rights and civil liberties,’ according to the OHCHR.
Indigenous peoples of the Northern Caribbean Coast continue to be exposed to widespread attacks by armed settlers on their territories, with 90 documented attacks since 2018, including 32 killings, according to local rights groups.
With the cancellation of the legal status of more than 2500 civil society organisations, the UN and the IACHR (Inter-American Commission of Human Rights) have denounced a ‘clear pattern of repressing civic space’ against dissident voices, including journalists, human rights defenders, civil society actors, academics, students and members of the Catholic Church. Today, the government detains some 235 political prisoners in inhumane conditions.
In this context, the government’s exceptional refusal to cooperate with the UN’s human rights bodies is condemnable. In a rare move, the two UN’s anti-torture treaty body committees denounced the government’s refusal to cooperate, while the authorities also refused reviews by four other UN human rights committees over the past year. UN experts from five ‘Special Procedures’ mandates have also issued repeated requests to visit the country, without response. Civil society analysis based on information from the UN and the Inter-American systems also points to the government’s absolute failure to implement the 14 recommendations of Human Rights Council resolution 49/3.
For these reasons, we launch today our global call for a resolution on Nicaragua to renew for a period of two years the mandate of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua, and the monitoring mandate of the OHCHR (Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights).
We call on all governments to support such a resolution at the next session of the Human Rights Council, and reinforce its intersectional approach, by bringing particular attention to the situation of indigenous peoples and afro-descendants, migrants and forcibly displaced persons, those detained for political reasons and the families of victims.
Freedom for all political prisoners in Nicaragua!
Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR Centre)
Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)
Colectivo de Derechos Humanos Nicaragua Nunca Más
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Network of Human Rights Europe (RIDHE) International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Mesoamerican Women Rights Defenders Initiative (IM-Defensoras) The International Institute on Race,
Equality and Human Rights Unidad de Defensa Jurídica (UDJ)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation Diakonia
Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF)
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Plataforma Internacional Contra la Impunidad (PICI)
Protection International Mesoamérica
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos – Guatemala (UDEFEGUA)
Women’s Link Worldwide
Nicaragua Lucha Coalition, including member organisations:
Articulación de Movimientos Sociales
Grupo de Reflexión de Excarcelados Políticos (GREX) Organización Víctimas de Abril (OVA)
Periodistas y Comunicadores Independientes de Nicaragua (PCIN)
Unidad de Registro (UDR)
Unión de Presas y Presos Políticos Nicaragüenses