In response to the resolution that the United Nations Human Rights Council passed today to put in place monitoring and reporting on the ongoing human rights crisis in Nicaragua, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:
“By putting in place monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Nicaragua, the United Nations Human Rights Council has refused to accept impunity for crimes under international law and serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions and torture. This is a vital first step towards justice, which sends an important message of support to the victims of human rights violations that the international community will not forget them.”
“We expect the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to be robust in its reporting on the ongoing human rights crisis and we urge the Nicaraguan government to fully engage with the Office to find a solution that ensures the victims’ rights to justice, truth and reparation.”
On 18 April 2018, a series of reforms to the social security system triggered widespread social protests in Nicaragua. In response to these protests, the Nicaraguan government adopted a strategy of violent repression. At least 325 people have been killed, primarily by state security forces and pro-government armed groups; more than 2,000 have been injured; hundreds have been arbitrarily detained, and tens of thousands have been forced to flee to Costa Rica.
Amnesty International and other international organizations have documented cases of serious human rights violations and crimes under international law, including torture and extrajudicial executions carried out by pro-government armed groups and members of Nicaragua’s National Police.
However, instead of applying the law in defence of victims of human rights violations, the Nicaraguan authorities have used it as another tool used to criminalize social protest. Moreover, in response to criticism, they have expelled the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) and the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) from the country.
The human rights situation in Nicaragua continues to deteriorate seriously every day. Reports of arbitrary detentions and the torture of persons deprived of their liberty continues. Moreover, civil society organisations whose legal status was cancelled by the government remain unable to freely carry out their work in the country, and the harassment of journalists and human rights defenders continues.