UN agrees on probing Nicaragua’s alleged human rights violations
With 20 votes in favor and 7 votes against, the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations agreed to launch a probe to determine whether there was a violation of human rights in Nicaragua.
Those opposing the investigation were Venezuela, Russia, Honduras, Eritrea, Cuba, China, and Bolivia. There were also 20 abstentions. The resolution had been proposed by Ecuador, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Peru, and was sponsored by nearly fifty governments.
The UNHRC authorizes the creation of a group of experts to examine over the next year the alleged human rights abuses committed by the Daniel Ortega regime.
A group made up of three experts will be established to undertake thorough and independent investigations into all alleged human rights abuses and violations committed in Nicaragua since April 2018, the date of the beginning of the social protests.
The group will have an initial mandate of one year and its mission will be similar to the one approved in 2019 for Venezuela through another Human Rights Council resolution, making it the second such investigative mechanism for Latin American countries.
The text also denounces a democratic regression in Nicaragua at all levels and underlines the irregularities and arbitrary detention of opponents ahead of the Nov. 7 2021 elections which ratified Ortega’s continuity.
The investigative team will collect, preserve and analyze information and evidence on these alleged human rights violations, identifying those responsible.
The document expresses the body’s concern about the deterioration of democracy and the human rights situation in Nicaragua, where there has been an increase in restrictions on democratic space and repression of dissent.
This repression includes acts of intimidation, harassment and illegal or arbitrary surveillance of human rights defenders, the text stresses. It also deplores the lack of accountability for these acts since 2018 as well as the prohibition of peaceful demonstrations and trials without due process.
The document calls on the Nicaraguan authorities to cease arbitrary detentions and intimidation, the immediate release of those unjustly detained, and also to investigate the cases of harassment of political leaders, journalists, activists, and other critics of the Ortega government.
It also regrets the death of political prisoner Hugo Torres, a historic former Sandinista guerrilla who died on February 12 after eight months of detention in outrageous conditions.
The UNHRC particularly expressed its concerns over the violations of civil and political rights in the context of last year’s elections and regrets the failure of the Nicaraguan government to implement electoral and institutional reforms that would guarantee free and fair elections.
The delegations who voted against the resolution claimed it represented an interference in Nicaragua’s internal affairs with political motivations.