Comments Made by Nicaraguan Ambassador to the OAS and His Subsequent Dismissal Confirm Serious Human Rights Violations in Nicaragua

March 29, 2022

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has been notified of the comments made by Ambassador Arturo McFields, Nicaragua's Permanent Representative to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), during a regular meeting held on March 23. These comments confirm the serious human rights violations that are being committed in Nicaragua, amid deteriorating institutions and heightened government efforts to silence dissident and critical voices. According to publicly available reports, Nicaragua's Foreign Ministry denied McFields' allegations and dismissed him from the position that same day.

As has already been documented, the State's violent response to the social protests that started on April 18, 2018, triggered a serious political, social, and human rights crisis in Nicaragua, which continues to deepen due to issues like the informal imposition of a state of emergency and the consolidation of the government's concentration of and perpetuation in power.

Further, the principle of the separation of powers is being violated in the country: all legislative and judicial institutions are aligned with the executive, which facilitates and/or consolidates arbitrariness. A police state persists that—alongside pro-government groups—attacks, watches, threatens and harasses all individuals who are identified as opposition supporters.

Almost four years after the beginning of this human rights crisis, there is a persistent context of impunity concerning the human rights violations committed in State repression. These human rights violations left 355 people dead and more than 2,000 people injured, and they also led to hundreds of arbitrary dismissals of healthcare professionals and more than 150 unwarranted expulsions of university students. Thousands of people were also forced to flee the country and seek asylum elsewhere, after being subjected to persecution. More than 169 individuals remain in arbitrary detention, in conditions that violate their rights to dignity and personal integrity, according to the Political Prisoner Recognition Mechanism.

In the context of these events, the IACHR once again urges Nicaragua to end persecution of dissident voices, release all arbitrarily detained individuals and seek ways to restore all rights and safeguards to ensure the rule of law in a democratic State. The IACHR further urges States in the Americas and the international community to demand that the State of Nicaragua comply with its international obligations concerning human rights.

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. 065/22

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