IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Condemns Renewed Violence in Nicaragua

May 25, 2018

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
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Washington, D.C. - The IACHR condemns new acts of violence that occurred in Managua, Leon and Chinandega, in Nicaragua, where three people died and scores were injured.

According to publicly available reports, on May 23, 2018, private groups known in Nicaragua as “fuerzas de choque” (shock troops) attacked protesters who were holding barricades in Leon. As a result of the attacks perpetrated by these armed parapolice groups, Manuel de Jesús Chávez Ramírez was killed with a shot to the head. Also as a consequence of such attacks, scores of people were allegedly injured and taken to the Hospital Escuela Oscar Danilo Rosales (HEODRA) in the university city, according to the available data.

The IACHR received information about similar events in Chinandega, where such “shock troops” were allegedly also active. Luis Ramón Cruz Alvarado was shot and killed in the violence in Chinandega. His father, Luis Manuel Cruz, told reporters that his son was riding his bicycle past the area when he was shot. Based on the available information, parapolice groups allegedly attacked protesters with shotguns and mortars and more than 20 people were injured in subsequent clashes.

The IACHR also obtained information about the murder of Marlon José Orozco, who was, according to his family, chased by several armed, masked attackers on motorbikes for carrying a blue and white flag in his car. The car that Marlon José Orozco was driving allegedly crashed in that chase, and his attackers shot him in the head.

During its working visit to Nicaragua on May 17-21, the Commission heard hundreds of witnesses who said repression in the country was being carried out by the National Police and its riot squads and by parapolice groups and armed third parties. In this context, the IACHR stresses the obligation of the Nicaraguan State to ban repressive structures, investigate the events they have been involved in, identify and punish those responsible for such structures who manage their operations from within the State and restore the legitimate and proportionate use of force, within the constraints of the rule of law. The Nicaraguan State must break up parapolice groups and take measures to prevent the operations of armed third parties who attack and harass civilians.

Further, during its visit, the IACHR was informed of a pattern of attacks using firearms aimed at the head, the eyes, the neck and the chest. The IACHR stresses that the use of force must comply with the principles of exceptionality, legality, necessity and proportionality, and it urges Nicaragua to investigate these events with due diligence, considering that they may entail serious human rights violations.

“We urge the State of Nicaragua to immediately end the repression of protesters and the arbitrary arrest of people who take part in protests,” said Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, the IACHR’s Rapporteur for Nicaragua. “Nicaragua must fulfil its obligation to respect and ensure the full enjoyment of the population’s rights to protest, to freedom of expression, to peaceful assembly and to political participation. Further, the Nicaraguan State must immediately break up irregular armed groups.”

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 118/18