Press Release

The IACHR Stresses Its Competent Jurisdiction Concerning Nicaragua and laments Nicaragua’s Decision to Denounce the Charter of the OAS in a Context of Serious Human Rights Violations

November 20, 2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is sorry about the State of Nicaragua’s decision to denounce the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) on November 19, 2021, and about the effects of that decision on the Nicaraguan people and on victims of human rights violations in a context where serious human rights violations are being committed in the country.

The Nicaraguan government officially notified the General Secretariat of the OAS on November 18, 2021, of its “irreversible decision to denounce the Charter of the Organization of American States in keeping with Article 143, which launches procedures for Nicaragua to definitively withdraw and resign from this Organization.” Article 143 says that, “after two years from the date on which the General Secretariat receives a notice of denunciation, the [...] Charter shall cease to be in force with respect to the denouncing State, which shall cease to belong to the Organization after it has fulfilled the obligations arising from the [...] Charter.”

Based on the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the transition period that is to be expected according to the Charter of the OAS is meant to provide a safeguard against denunciations that happen abruptly and suddenly, and against State decisions adopted in violation of democratic principles, inter-American public interests, and the operations of the inter-American system to protect human rights.

The Commission calls on the State of Nicaragua to reconsider its decision and invites Member States of the OAS and/or the Organization’s political institutions to engage in an authentic, bona fide dialogue that reflects their obligations concerning human rights.

More than three years after the start of social protests on April 18, 2018, the IACHR has noted that the rule of law has broken up in Nicaragua due to the concentration of power in the hands of the Executive and to the application of a state of emergency. There is a persistent context of widespread impunity concerning the human rights violations committed in State repression. These human rights violations have left 355 people dead, more than 2,000 people injured, and 1,614 people arrested, and they have also led to hundreds of arbitrary dismissals of healthcare professionals and more than 150 unwarranted expulsions of university students. At this time, more than 150 individuals remain deprived of liberty. According to data issued by the UNHCR, more than 110,000 individuals have been forced to flee Nicaragua and request asylum in other countries due to persecutions and human rights violations. Further, democratic platforms have been shut down and several liberties and forms of freedom of expression have been suspended, amid various forms of wrongdoing perpetrated by Police and para-Police groups aligned with the Executive.

The IACHR notes that the State of Nicaragua has obligations based on all the international instruments it is a party to. The Commission affirms its competent jurisdiction concerning the State of Nicaragua and will continue to exercise its mandates to monitor the country through the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI, by its Spanish acronym). This includes monitoring compliance with the recommendations issued by the IACHR through various mechanisms, assessing and managing petitions and cases, supervising the recommendations made in merits reports, and actively assessing and supervising compliance with the precautionary measures that are in force.
The Commission stresses its commitment to the Nicaraguan people, and particularly to victims of human rights violations in Nicaragua.

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. 312/21

9:30 AM