The States of the Americas must demand more accountability from Nicaragua
<p>Photo: Roberto Fonseca</p>

Washington D.C, June 6th, 2018. The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) greets the achievement of positioning the crisis and general violence that has been ongoing since April 18th in Nicaragua on the agenda at the Organization of American States (OAS) by the Nicaraguan people and the organized civil society.

As the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) and other international organizations like Amnesty International (AI) have signaled, there are grave violations of human rights occurring in Nicaragua. Such violations include extrajudicial execution, acts of torture, cruel, degrading, and inhumane acts of treatment like arbitrary detentions, all products of the excessive use of force by state forces and other groups related to the government.  To this day, there are at least 129 assassinations and hundreds of people who have been detained and assaulted documented.

Although the OAS released a resolution at their assembly that condemned the violence, it is worrying that they did not directly relate the violations of human rights or the actual crisis with the government who is entirely responsible.

In accordance with international standards, the State has the responsibility to guarantee and respect the life and integrity of the people under any circumstance, as well as the responsibility to guarantee the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration. Regrettably, Nicaragua has not met their obligations by trying to silence the voice of the people who demand democracy and justice.

CEJIL also condemns the systematic persecution that human rights defenders are suffering in Nicaragua, as well as the same systematic persecution faced by those who question the actions of the state. In this context, we reject the recent accusation that the National Civil Police has made against Mr. Felix Maradiaga, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP), for supposedly committing the crimes of terrorism and drug trafficking. We denounce that the police does not have the institutional conditions to leadinvertigations credible and independent. It is also evident that this accusation was aimed at incriminating the people who are critical of the government to intimidate them so as to silence their voices.

The international community must examine the scope of this crisis and act on it so that peace can be reached, they must listen to legitimate claims from citizens. In particular, the OAS must emphatically support the work done by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and urge Nicaragua to comply with these recommendations put out by this commission. This implies facilitating all the necessary conditions so that their work can be completed under safe conditions.

Given the gravity of the actual situation, we urge the CIDH to appoint and put into operation the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, by its Spanish acronym) so they can go to the country as soon as possible.

To the Nicaraguan state, we demand the immediate cessation of violence and repression, which includes abstaining from persecuting, criminalizing, or in any way limiting the work of human rights defenders and the freedom of expression.