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Nicaragua: Bold Action Needed to Press for a Democratic Transition

HRW Oral Statement - ID on the High Commissioner Report on Nicaragua - HRC54

We welcome the High Commissioner’s report which highlights the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Nicaragua, including the shrinking of civic space which has left “no room for dissent”.

We share his urgent call for the government to release all political prisoners and restore the nationality of everyone arbitrarily deprived of it.

We are alarmed by the recent arbitrary closure of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), the largest university in the country and 27th to be stripped of its legal registration in recent years. More than 3,400 nongovernmental organizations, including human rights, religious and humanitarian groups, have been shut down—almost 50 percent of the country’s nongovernmental groups, according to the latest official figures.

79 government critics remain arbitrarily detained, including Bishop Rolando Alvarez. Human rights defenders and journalists who are still in the country remain at high risk. 

The international community, especially Latin American states, should take bold action to help press for a democratic transition that ensures rights in Nicaragua.

We urge all states to works towards establishing a “Group of Friends of the Nicaraguan People,” as recently suggested by 180 victims of the Nicaraguan government, 20 Nicaraguan nongovernmental organizations and 9 international human rights groups. The Group of Friends should conduct high-level meetings to design, in consultation with Nicaraguan civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders, a strategy to curb abuses, provide pathways to accountability, and push for free and fair elections.

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