GENEVA (3 October 2022) – The Nicaraguan State has a duty to comply with its international obligations to respect and guarantee fundamental freedoms, experts from the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have urged ( IACHR) in a joint statement.
In several letters
addressed to the Nicaraguan government today, UN experts said the cancellation of the legal personality of hundreds of associations “represents a clear pattern of repression of civic space” and expressed concern about the attacks and unlawful interference with media freedom.
In light of the government’s closure and co-option of civic spaces and democratic participation in Nicaragua, UN and IACHR experts have raised concerns about growing restrictions on fundamental freedoms of expression , peaceful assembly and association, reaching a critical point. The experts called on the Nicaraguan authorities to end the repression of civic space and to guarantee access to justice for victims of human rights violations.
“(The) State of Nicaragua must immediately end the judicial persecution of all dissenting voices, release those imprisoned for political reasons and ensure prompt, impartial and thorough investigations into allegations of human rights violations, so that managers are held accountable and effective. reparations offered to victims,” the experts said.
Since April 2018, Nicaragua has adopted a “censorship strategy” and developed a “clear civic space repression model” against dissenting voices, including journalists, human rights defenders, civil society, academics, students, members of the Catholic Church, political parties. and opponents of the government.
In the joint statement, the experts further urged the State of Nicaragua to “refrain from using the law arbitrarily and selectively and from applying abusive government practices to impede or restrict citizen participation and freedom expression, peaceful assembly and association”.
Experts pointed out that restrictions on fundamental freedoms not only constitute human rights violations, but also have a humanitarian impact.
“(T)he number of political prisoners stands at more than 200, many of whom are held in unsanitary conditions, without access to adequate medical care, subjected to solitary confinement regimes and prevented from receiving visits from their families, among other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” the experts said.
The experts urge the State of Nicaragua to respect the fundamental rights of all persons deprived of liberty, to life and to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
They further called on the international community “to encourage respect for their fundamental rights and freedoms and to take humanitarian support measures depending on the seriousness of the allegations received”.
They further expressed their concerns regarding the ongoing persecution of various Nicaraguan civil society actors who are forced to flee and are in need of humanitarian assistance. “Under international human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law, States are called upon to open their borders and guarantee emergency entry into their territory to civil society actors in seeking international protection or demonstrating urgent humanitarian needs, including recognition of refugee status,” the experts said.
The joint statement provides key steps to promote and defend the restoration of the rights to freedom of assembly, association and peaceful expression of Nicaraguan society and recalls the recommendations previously highlighted in the joint statement on the protection and support of civil society at risk and the joint statement on protecting the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in times of emergency.
Allegation letters from special procedures mandate holders are made publicly available after 60 days of dispatch to Member States, in the following database: https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/
The experts: Mr. Clément Voule, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association and Mr. Pedro Vaca Villareal, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) .
For more information and media requests, please contact:
Adam Azzi ([email protected]) at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Team of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association or Paula Roko ([email protected] org) at the office of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
UN Special Rapporteurs are part of what are known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the general name for the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific national situations or issues themes in all regions of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
For media inquiries for other United Nations Independent Experts, please contact Renato Rosario De Souza ([email protected]) or Dharisha Indraguptha ([email protected]) UN Human Rights on Twitter: @UN_SPExperts.