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Geneva, February 10th 2020: Representatives from international organizations monitoring the Human Rights situation in Nicaragua urge the United Nations Human Rights Council to act on the grave human rights crisis that persists in Nicaragua since April 2018.
As of today, civic space restriction and multiple violations have left at least 328 people dead and more than 100,000 forcibly displaced, primarily to Costa Rica.
Despite the fact that more than 500 people were released from jail between February and December 2019, at least 65 people continue to be detained for political reasons. Many of the people who were released from jail, along with their families, continue to suffer harassment by police and parapolice. Violations of fair trial guarantees remain widespread; this is of particular concerns for all those who continue to face charges in politically motivated trials.
Extreme violence continues in rural areas, primarily in northern Nicaragua, and has resulted in the killings of campesinos considered to be opponents of the regime. Assaults, threats, and reprisals continue against human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous people, Afro-descendants, people released from detention, relatives of the victims of repression, members of the Catholic Church, and citizens exercising their right to dissent.
Women and LGBTI+ people have been particularly exposed to violence. At least 334 women, including eight trans women, suffered arbitrary detentions and criminalization and judicialization due to political reasons. During their detention, both groups were especially vulnerable to ill treatment and sexual assaults.
The Government of Nicaragua continues to openly curtail the right to defend human rights and the exercise of freedom of expression. The legal status of nine non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has not been reinstated since their suspension in December 2018. On the contrary, administrative harassment has increased as new and vaguely-worded regulations have been enforced. Media restrictions also continue; the news programmes “Esta Semana” [This Week], “Esta Noche” [Tonight], and “100% Noticias” [100% News] continue to be unable to broadcast on public television. [and] their oﬃces remain forcibly closed and their work equipment confiscated by the police more than one year ago, remain in police possession.
There are well founded concerns that 2021 presidential elections may bring about greater violence and repression. There is no indication to date that the Nicaraguan authorities are willing to guarantee truth, justice, and reparations for victims of the repression and their families.
Therefore, we ask UN member States to:
- Support a substantive resolution beyond a technical update of resolution 40/2 which reflects the High Commissioner’s findings regarding the critical situation that faces the Nicaraguan population, in order to enable the OHCHR to enhance its monitoring, documenting, and sharing with the international community information on the situation of human rights in Nicaragua – notably as a contribution to ensuring accountability and to support the rule of law through, among other measures, security sector reforms; and institutional guarantees for judicial independence and autonomy for the Attorney’s office;
- Continue to monitor the human rights situation in Nicaragua until the State ceases its repression and agrees to guarantee truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of no repetition.
- Urge the Government of Nicaragua to restart an inclusive national dialogue that enables agreement to be reached on the terms and conditions of a democratic transition.
- Strengthen human rights monitoring in the lead up to the 2021 presidential elections, so as to guarantee the fundamental rights of the Nicaraguan citizens, including the right to freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, as well as the rights to vote and to stand for election.
The apparent lack of political will by the Government of Nicaragua to solve this crisis calls for a doubling of efforts from the international community. We must not abandon to their fate those who defend their rights and struggle for peace, justice and accountability.
Center for Justice and International Law - CEJIL
Front Line Defenders
Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders
International Plattform against Impunity -PI
Associated for Justice -JASS
Washington Office for Latin America -WOLA
Race and Equality
Due Process of Law Foundation -DPLF
Urgent Action Found
 On April 2019 new regulations to NGOs were set without the due publicity. Among the measures adopted are shorter times for renewing constancies and other requirements that imply more administrative control from the government and demand more attention from organisations to detriment of their ordinaries activities. New and major sanctions were set for delays or non-compliance including suspension and most importantly the new normative states a prohibition for any “intervention on political or partisan issues of the country”. More information: Confidencial. “Gobernación impone mecanismo de control político a las ONG.” February 5th, 2020. Available at: https://confidencial.com.ni/gobernacion-impone-mecanismo-de-control-politico-a-las-ong/