Nicaragua Human Rights

Concerns: Violence against women, freedom of expression, sexual and reproductive rights

The total ban on all forms of abortion remained in force. Two thirds of rape victims whose cases were recorded between January and August 2009 were under 18. Intimidation and attacks on government critics increased, raising fears of curbs on the rights to freedom of expression and association. There were clashes between supporters of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) and government critics throughout the year. Nicaragua remained one of a handful of states in the Americas not to have signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In November a new post of Special Ombudsman for Sexual Diversity was created within the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman.

Sexual and reproductive rights

The total ban on all forms of abortion remained in force. Nicaraguan Ministry of Health figures showed an increase in maternal deaths during the first 19 weeks of 2009 as compared with the same period in 2008, rising from 20 to 33. Some 16 per cent of the 33 deaths in 2009 were due to complications following unsafe abortions; no such deaths had been recorded in the comparable period in 2008, before the law prohibiting all forms of abortion came into effect.

In May the UN Committee against Torture stated that it was "deeply concerned" that the Nicaraguan government had taken no steps to repeal the law, despite concerns having previously been expressed by three other UN committees.

The Supreme Court of Justice failed to rule on an appeal lodged in July 2008 challenging the constitutionality of the law prohibiting all forms of abortion, despite having committed itself to doing so by 6 May 2009.

Violence against women and girls

Official efforts to combat violence against women and girls were ineffective. Statistics from the Women and Children's Police Unit stated that 1,259 rapes were reported between January and August of 2010. Of these, two thirds involved girls aged 17 or under.

Freedom of expression and association

There was a series of incidents involving attacks on journalists, government critics and civil society activists.

In November, pro-government supporters in Managua attacked a group of protesters demonstrating against corruption and curbs on freedom of expression. FSLN supporters threw stones at them, breaking the glass entrance door of a police station where protesters had taken refuge. None of those involved in the attack had been arrested by the end of the year. The Civil Co-ordinating Committee (Coordinadora Civil, CC), a national network of civil society groups, reported attacks and intimidation of its members by FSLN supporters.

In August, CC members were attacked on their way to a cultural event after discussing a proposal for alternatives to the government's existing social and economic policies. More than 30 CC members were reportedly injured.

Leonor Martínez, a 24-year-old member of the CC, was attacked by three armed men in October as she returned home from a press conference in Managua on human rights violations. They beat her, breaking her arm in several places, and threatened that if she carried on working with the CC they would kill her and her family. The men had allegedly been involved in previous attacks on CC members. An investigation into the attack was opened. In November, Leonor Martínez received telephone threats which referred to her work with the CC. By the end of the year, no one had been brought to justice for any of the attacks on CC members.

Nicaragua Newsroom

July 13, 2021 • Press Release

After Two Years of ICE Detention, Maura, a Transgender Woman from Nicaragua Regains Her Freedom

After a campaign to free Maura, a 41-year-old transgender woman from Nicaragua, generated over 14,000 emails to the ICE San Diego Field Office, the Department of Homeland Security agency has …

February 15, 2021 • Report

Government Tactics to Silence Criticism and Social Demands Deepen Human Rights Crisis in Nicaragua

Since the current human rights erupted in Nicaragua in 2018, the government has clamped down on all forms of dissent or criticism. The authorities have pursued a policy of eradicating, at any cost, activism and the defense of human rights, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

July 30, 2019 • Press Release

Costa Rica: Attack on television station is deeply concerning

Last Saturday, an improvised explosive device exploded in front of the premises of Teletica, in San José de Costa Rica, causing material damage to the front of the building. Since January, the Nicaraguan journalist Carlos F. Chamorro has been presenting his programme Esta Semana from this Costa Rican television station, because of fears for his life inside Nicaragua, where he has suffered attacks and threats in response to his criticism of Daniel Ortega’s government.

May 2, 2019 • Press Release

Nicaragua: Ortega government continues to violate the right to freedom of press

Ahead of World Press Freedom Day and more than a year since the Nicaraguan government launched its strategy of repression against the protests that began on 18 April 2018, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

March 25, 2019 • Press Release

Costa Rica: Authorities must guarantee the human rights of people fleeing the crisis in Nicaragua

The international community must support Costa Rica in its efforts to receive, protect and support people fleeing the human rights crisis in Nicaragua, said Amnesty International today.

December 21, 2018 • Press Release

Nicaragua: Report affirms the government of President Ortega has committed crimes against humanity

In response to the publication of the “Report on the Acts of Violence Occurred Between April 18 and May 30, 2018 in Nicaragua,” by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI-Nicaragua) …

October 18, 2018 • Report

Instilling terror: From lethal force to persecution in Nicaragua

From the beginning of June, the government of President Daniel Ortega intensified its strategy for repression in a so-called “clean-up” operation, targeting protesters with arbitrary arrests, torture, and the widespread and indiscriminate use of lethal force by police and heavily armed pro-government groups, said Amnesty International today in a new report.

July 25, 2018 • Press Release

Nicaragua: Amnesty International condemns killing of Brazilian medical student

In response to the fatal shooting of the Brazilian medical student Raynéia Gabrielle Lima in Nicaragua on 23 July, Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, said: “The repression of the civilian …

July 18, 2018 • Press Release

Nicaragua: Government must end repression after three months of senseless slaughter

Three months after the government of President Daniel Ortega first unleashed its lethal strategy of repression on student demonstrators on 18 April, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said: …

July 10, 2018 • Press Release

Nicaragua: State repression has reached deplorable levels

The repressive actions of the Nicaraguan government have reached deplorable levels, Amnesty International said today, after one of the bloodiest weekends since the repression of protests began almost three months ago.

URGENT: Children seeking asylum in the U.S. are being denied their human rights based on their nationality — help ensure that all girls and boys fleeing violence can seek safety.