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Saturday, June 10, 2023

UN Human Rights Chief Denounces Church Oppression in Nicaragua

Delivering her latest update on the country to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Bachelet said scores of people remain locked up in the wake of political, human rights and electoral crises over the past four years. 

Newsroom (22/06/2022 9:00 PM Gaudium Press) The human rights situation in Nicaragua has continued to deteriorate over the past three months, with detainees being held in appalling conditions, civic space shrinking, and an “unprecedented” rise in people fleeing the country, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said.

Last year, dozens of political opponents were arrested ahead of the presidential election in November, which saw Mr. Ortega secure a fourth consecutive term in power. 

“I take this opportunity to again urge the competent authorities to ensure the swift release of all people arbitrarily detained, and to guarantee their physical and mental integrity. Likewise, I strongly urge authorities that an independent verification of detention conditions be undertaken,” said Ms. Bachelet.

Citing civil society sources, the Human Rights High Commissioner reported that 173 people are presently held in detention centers in connection with the 2018 crisis.

Another 50 people detained in the context of the 2021 elections are being held in conditions that contravene UN standards on the treatment of prisoners.

Parliament has shut down at least 454 organizations since November 2018, affecting not only national and international groups working in areas such as human rights, education, and development but also medical and professional associations. 

Ms. Bachelet said her Office has also documented several cases of harassment and intimidation by the Nicaraguan authorities, putting the right to freedom of movement under grave threat.

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 “Passport renewals at a consulate abroad have been denied on some occasions, requiring the individuals to carry out the process in Nicaragua where their safety may be at risk,” she said. “Nicaraguans intending to leave the country have also had their passports withheld without justification. Additionally, entry into the country of a Nicaraguan citizen has allegedly been denied.”

The Nicaraguan police have also resumed harassment of Catholic priests, she said. The Government has also ordered the Catholic Channel to be removed from cable television.

Last month, international media reported that Bishop Rolando Álvarez, a critic of the Ortega regime, began an “indefinite fast” inside a church after being followed by the police 

Ms. Bachelet pointed to “serious concerns” that the Government could be seeking to further deepen its repressive campaign against political opposition.

In April, two parliamentary commissions completed an analysis of the criminal legislation being used to persecute perceived opponents, which proposes to tighten penalties and introduce other repressive measures such as confiscation of assets.

 “I strongly urge the Government of Nicaragua to uphold – not move further away from – its human rights obligations. I call on authorities to immediately cease policies which are today only serving to isolate the country and its people from the regional and international communities,” she said.


Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinistas who overthrew the authoritarian regime of Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista takeover until his loss in the 1990 presidential election. He returned to power in 2007.

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(Via The UN)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh

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