Grave human rights crisis in Nicaragua

The repression of social protest carried out by Nicaraguan security forces and para-police groups has left at least 273 people dead and 1800 injured in the last three months. What started with demonstrations against a pension reform has ballooned into a human rights crisis.

Since April 18, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has verified violations of the rights of demonstrators and members of the political opposition through the excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions, torture and murder. The repressive response has also included press censorship measures, denying or hindering medical assistance to injured persons, and state support for para-police groups.

Protesting is an essential component of any democracy that involves fundamental rights such as petitioning authorities and freely expressing oneself. Along with the protection mechanisms and other organizations, we demand once again that the Nicaraguan state stop repressing social protest and dissent, that it investigate in an urgent and impartial manner the recent murders and other acts of state violence, and that it adopt reparation measures for victims and their relatives.

It is fundamental that the IACHR’s Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (known as MESENI), which assesses compliance with the Commission’s recommendations and precautionary measures, and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) be able to carry out their tasks freely and fully.

More information is available at the IACHR’s special site on Nicaragua, and in this joint letter (in Spanish) that 12 organizations sent to OAS member states on June 15.

Photo: Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons