Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Calls for Action Against Repression in Nicaragua
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has issued a statement urging Latin American countries to take action against the ongoing repression and human rights violations in Nicaragua. This call comes just days before the general assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Nicaragua, under the leadership of President Daniel Ortega since 2007 and re-elected in 2021 amidst disputed elections, has seen a surge in arrests of political opponents since the anti-government protests in 2018. In February of this year, the government even stripped 222 political prisoners of their nationality and expelled them to the United States.
IACHR Demands End to Persecution and Release of Detained Prisoners
The IACHR, which is affiliated with the OAS, has called on the Nicaraguan government to put an end to the persecution of its citizens and release all prisoners who have been detained arbitrarily. The commission strongly condemns the continued repression and human rights violations in Nicaragua, including the confiscation of assets belonging to the released prisoners, which it deems as an arbitrary and disproportionate criminal sanction.
International Community Urged to Promote Return to Democracy
In addition to addressing the Nicaraguan government, the IACHR also calls upon Latin American countries, the international community, and the political bodies of the OAS to actively promote a return to democracy in Nicaragua. The commission expresses concern over the authorities’ arbitrary policies regarding entry and exit from the country, including the withdrawal and retention of passports, as well as the refusal to issue travel documents to certain individuals.
The IACHR further denounces the prohibition of return for Nicaraguans, which has resulted in forced displacement and the forced separation of families. The commission highlights the occurrence of new arbitrary arrests of activists, journalists, and members of the Catholic Church between April and May.
Targeting of Catholic Church and Violent Raids
The IACHR reports that critical sectors of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua continue to be targeted by the authorities. Bishop Rolando Alvarez Lagos, a prominent figure, has been incommunicado since March 25, confined to a punishment cell. The commission also condemns the disproportionate use of force and violent raids carried out during the arrests of over 140 individuals during Holy Week, which commemorates the 2018 protests. Many of these individuals have been subjected to secret hearings or placed under house arrest, resulting in a state of anxiety, siege, and constant persecution.
The IACHR further highlights the disqualification of 26 lawyers in May, which has created an environment of fear and self-censorship. It also draws attention to the worsening repression against indigenous communities by armed settlers, who act with the tolerance of the authorities.
The Nicaraguan Fighting Coalition, consisting of 20 human rights organizations, has also raised concerns about the crisis of freedom of the press and expression in the country. They emphasize that the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Nicaragua, including the right to freedom of expression and access to information, has been severely curtailed under the authoritarian regime of the Government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
(With information from AFP and EFE)