Urrejola’s Appointment Brings “Great Expectations” in Nicaragua

Chilean lawyer Antonia Urrejola was elected as president of the 2021 Board of Directors of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

By Ana Lucia Cruz (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The appointment of Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, as the new president of the 2021 Board of Directors of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), was received by Nicaraguan defenders “with great expectations.” They feel the experience of the Chilean lawyer will help to “expand” the work done in defense of the rights of Nicaraguans.

Urrejola’s election has also been celebrated by IACHR rapporteurs. Commissioner Joel Hernandez, president of the Board of Directors of the IACHR in 2020, expressed through his social networks his “support” and assured that the Presidency of the organization was “in the best hands.”

Urrejola was elected during the opening of the 179th period of sessions of the IACHR and, with her, Julissa Falcon was also appointed as first vice president and, as second vice president, Flavia Piovesan.

The IACHR expressed its celebration since, for the first time in history, the organization’s Board of Directors is made up exclusively of women.

Human rights defenders in Nicaragua with “great expectations”

Lawyer Carla Sequeira, director of legal assistance for the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), affirmed that Urrejola’s election was “appropriate and is positive for Nicaragua and for the countries where human rights continue to be violated.”

“She (Antonia Urrejola) has indeed been one of the people who has raised her voice in favor of the defense of the human rights of each and every Nicaraguan. At the CPDH, we are emphatic in stressing the importance of her appointment,” she highlighted.

The lawyer assured that, as a Nicaraguan and human rights defender, she hopes that the appointment of Urrejola will help to “expand and maintain the demands for respect of the rights of each and every Nicaraguan.”

Vilma Nunez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), celebrated Urrejola’s rise to the presidency of the IACHR. She emphasized that her election will have “a positive effect on the supervision, monitoring and attention currently given to Nicaragua.”

Nuñez affirmed that the work of Urrejola, also the rapporteur of that organism for Nicaragua, would be “enhanced —without any type of bias— and make known the stark reality” which Nicaraguans continue to experience.

Yonarqui Martinez, a renowned Nicaraguan lawyer who has defended dozens of political prisoners of the Ortega regime, stressed that Urrejola’s work has demonstrated “the empathy she has with the people of Nicaragua.”

“She is a great ally in the defense of human rights. We believe her work will continue to focus on supporting the defense of the rights of Nicaraguans. Making visible the way in which opponents are being treated, in how human rights defenders are treated and how the rights of all Nicaraguans continue to be violated,” she said.

Lawyer Julio Montenegro, one of the founders of the People’s Defenders organization, highlights that Urrejola’s appointment is “key for Nicaragua.” He notes, “she knows firsthand the situation the country and will know how to continue denouncing and advocating for human rights in Nicaragua.”  

Antonia Urrejola has ample experience in defense of human rights

Commissioner Urrejola, who has worked as IACHR’s rapporteur for Nicaragua in recent years. She participated in the follow up that that organization has done, since April 2018, to the socio-political crisis that Nicaraguans continue to experience to date.

In 2018, Urrejola headed a delegation of the IACHR that verified in situ the serious violations, committed by the Ortega regime, against Nicaraguans.

The Chilean lawyer has been fully involved in the drafting of IACHR reports, where the organization has denounced a series of human rights violations of Nicaraguans, among these the right to life and liberty.

In her work as a defender, Urrejola has been categorical and persistent in her demand for the respect of all the rights and guarantees of Nicaraguans. Likewise, she has excelled in her denunciation of the impunity promoted by the State of Nicaragua. Especially in the cases of more than 300 people who were killed in the context of the protests.

During more than 15 years of experience, Antonia Urrejola has been a human rights advisor of the Presidency of Chile and the Ministry of the Interior. Furthermore, she has worked as a consultant for international organizations such as the UNDP, the ILO, FLACSO, Justice Studies Center of the Americas (CEJA), the IADB and, between 2006 and 2011, as the senior advisor to the former Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.