UN Human Rights Office Sees “Setbacks” in Nicaragua

The Ortega dictatorship has maintained a de facto state of exception since September 2018. EFE / Confidencial

The Office of the UN High Commissioner indicates lack of compliance with its recommendations, issued 15 months ago to the Nicaraguan Government.

By Ana Lucia Cruz (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called “deficient” on February 8, compliance with its recommendations issued 15 months ago to the state of Nicaragua.

It points out that during this period, the Nicaraguan Government led by the Daniel Ortega, shows no significant progress. The Commissioner even highlights “some setbacks in the compliance of recommendations.”

Back in 2019, OHCHR issued14 recommendations to the Nicaraguan state authorities. Eleven of those concerned, “promoting an inclusive dialogue.” Likewise, “helping to overcome the sociopolitical and human rights crisis” that continues to affect the country.

The latest OHCHR report on Nicaragua

In a Special Bulletin, OHCHR points out some of the recommendations not complied with by the Nicaraguan government. These include respect and restitution of rights and freedoms; accountability for serious human rights violations, and legislative and institutional reforms, including the reform of the electoral system.

The Office of the High Commissioner notes that, although violence against those who participate in protests or other political acts seem to be less frequent than in 2018 and 2019, “frequent violations of the rights to personal freedom, of expression, of peaceful assembly, association and of participation persist.”

According to OHCHR’s monitoring, civil society counted 106 persons until December 2020 “arbitrarily deprived of their liberty,” after “participating in protests or because they were perceived as opponents.”

According to a report by the Blue and White opposition movement, published in early January 2021, in December 2020 alone there were a total of 374 incidents related to the sociopolitical crisis in Nicaragua.

The group registered eight deaths, 195 cases of harassment, 35 arrests, 29 attacks, 23 threats, 22 prosecutions, 15 cruel treatment and torture. These carried out “against the relatives of political prisoners, former political prisoners, members of social movements and opponents in general.”

OHCHR noted “the devastation from hurricanes Eta and Iota further aggravated the sociopolitical and human rights crisis affecting Nicaragua since April 2018.” The two hurricanes hit the North Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua in November 2020. Additionally, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, “caused a general increase in poverty, unemployment and inequality, in Nicaragua and throughout the region.”

OHCHR points out “setbacks”

The organization recorded “backward steps” of the Nicaraguan State in the area of human rights. They cite the “approval of various legislative reforms incompatible with international human rights standards.”

OHCHR said the implementation of reforms, such as the extension of the period of detention without charges from a period of 48 hours to 90 days, represents an “impairment of the exercise of rights and freedoms of Nicaraguans.”

National and international human rights organizations criticize several other laws approved by the Ortega regime. These include the Foreign Agents Law and the Cybercrime Law, approved in October 2020.

OHCHR calls on the Government to “rapidly resume constructive cooperation” with its organization and with “regional human rights institutions.” This, in order to allow “a more in-depth evaluation of the progress and challenges related to the situation of human rights in Nicaragua.”

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.


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