The Nicaraguan government appears to have engaged in serious abuses against protesters and arbitrarily shut down media outlets covering the recent protests. Organization of American States (OAS) member countries should urge President Daniel Ortega’s government to allow the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), the main rights body in the Americas, to visit the country and investigate the allegations of abuse.
Ortega announced changes in the country’s pension system on April 18, 2018, igniting demonstrations across the country that have evolved into a larger outpouring of anger against his 11-year administration. Human Rights Watch received credible accounts that suggest that police officers used excessive force to shut down demonstrations in several places across the country and that pro-government groups attacked peaceful protesters. The Nicaraguan Red Cross told Human Rights Watch that between April 18 and 25, it assisted 435 people injured during the protests, including 242 who were hospitalized. Nicaraguan newspapers and local rights groups have reported that at least 26 protesters and bystanders and one journalist died, as well as two police officers.