GENEVA (14 June 2018) – UN human rights experts* are calling for an immediate halt to violence and repression in Nicaragua, to end a two-month national crisis of social and political unrest in which at least 148 people have been killed and 1,337 wounded.
“We are deeply disturbed by the sustained violence in Nicaragua since 18 April 2018. An immediate and coherent way forward has to be found through genuine political dialogue as a first step to effectively defusing the situation and bringing an end to the crisis,” the experts said in a joint statement.
“We urge the Government to comply with all the recommendations issued by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) following their visit to the country from 17 to 21 May, and which have already been accepted by the Nicaraguan Government.
“We also encourage the Government to cooperate fully with the follow-up mechanism tasked with verifying the implementation of the recommendations, as well as with the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) that will investigate recent acts of violence in the country.
“While we acknowledge that these are steps in the right direction, we are deeply dismayed to see that repression and the use of excessive and indiscriminate force by State security forces, including anti-riot police and pro-government armed groups has not stopped. This has resulted in a large number of people being killed or wounded, alleged arbitrary detentions, media shut-downs and cyber-attacks, and attacks on universities,” said the experts.
Although the Special Rapporteurs have already expressed grave concern about the constant threats, intimidation and smear campaigns against human rights defenders, journalists, priests, students and demonstrators supporting the peaceful marches, the experts remain appalled by recurrent reports discrediting campaigners and putting them in danger.
“We strongly condemn the acts of violence, repression and harassment and strongly urge the State to protect them and ensure they can carry out their work safely,” the experts said.
The experts also say they are deeply troubled by reports of threats, harassment and reprisals against health workers who have tried to help injured people during the demonstrations, and they also expressed concern that injured protesters faced alleged obstacles to accessing health services.
“We call on the Government of Nicaragua to respect its human rights obligations and to undertake prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the alleged violations, and to prosecute and sanction those responsible,” the experts said.
“We call on the Government in Managua to accept Special Rapporteurs to visit the country, and to allow access to a monitoring mission conducted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” they stressed.
* The UN experts: Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders;Mr. Dainius Pῡras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health;Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons; Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Mr. Fabián Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; Ms. Koumbou Boly Barry, Special Rapporteur on the right to education.