Press Release

The Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) Completes First Week in Action

July 2, 2018

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Managua, Nicaragua – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) would like to present the results of the first week of work by the technical staff of the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI, by its Spanish acronym), who arrived in Managua on June 24, 2018.

The MESENI’s role includes supporting and assisting the Verification and Security Commission (CVS, by its Spanish acronym) established in the National Dialogue’s agreement. The MESENI team took part in CVS plenary meetings and also met with CVS members designated by the Civil Alliance for Justice and Democracy and with members designated by the Government. To that effect, the MESENI accompanied the CVS technical coordination team on an observer mission to Jinotepe on June 29, along with the representative of the Mediation and Testimony Commission of the Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference. In Jinotepe, meetings were held with several social actors, including truck drivers. On June 30, 2018, the MESENI accompanied the CVS—at the latter’s request—to the facilities of the police unit El Chipote in Managua, for the release of 10 people who had been arrested in Nagarote.

To follow up on the recommendations made by the IACHR in its report “Serious human rights violations in the context of social protests in Nicaragua,” the MESENI held meetings with the State’s highest authorities, to address compliance. The IACHR values the openness of Nicaraguan authorities at those meetings and would like to thank them for the information they provided. The MESENI discussed with the State the measures that have been taken to protect the lives, personal integrity and safety of all demonstrators, and also to dismantle parapolice groups and to prevent the operations of armed third parties who attack or harass civilians. 

The IACHR acknowledges that the State of Nicaragua has made progress towards compliance with the Commission’s recommendation 3, by creating the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, by its Spanish acronym) for Nicaragua; with recommendation 14, to remain open to international scrutiny, by facilitating a visit by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and with recommendation 15, its joint commitment to the MESENI along with the IACHR.

On the other hand, the IACHR is sorry to see no progress in regard to compliance with the precautionary measures granted in favor of people whose lives or personal integrity have been in serious danger since April 18, 2018. 

In keeping with its mandate to monitor the human rights situation, the MESENI held meetings with State institutions, civil society organizations and other relevant actors. 

The IACHR notes that the MESENI heard—while it was in Nicaragua—allegations of 18 violent deaths and many injuries in the context of the ongoing repression. The MESENI also received information about acts of selective repression, allegedly in the form of arbitrary detentions and raids in private homes to search for people who took part in protests and tranques (road blocks). Such persecution allegedly also extends to relatives and neighbors of the identified protesters.

The MESENI also heard allegations of a new type of seizure of land held by individuals, by people who occupy such land in groups. In this context, the mechanism has received abundant information about people who are being forced to flee their homes to hide in safe houses elsewhere in the country, and even about many people who are going abroad, in many cases to seek international protection by requesting asylum.

Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, the IACHR’s Rapporteur for Nicaragua, warned that “it is urgent and essential to end repression and arbitrary detentions, as well as the new forms of violations that are being identified.” Urrejola reminded the Nicaraguan State of the importance of complying with the recommendation to protection the lives, personal integrity and safety of all demonstrators and of all people who are exercising their rights and public liberties and suffering the consequences of the current repressive atmosphere. 

In the context of its role to build capacities and train Nicaraguan civil society, the MESENI led two workshops on Inter-American human rights standards on June 29, with close to 35 participants in total. The MESENI will continue to hold training activities about the standards of the Inter-American Human Rights System.

“The IACHR stresses its willingness to cooperate, in order to reduce violence in the country and demand justice for victims,” noted IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão.

The MESENI will continue to fulfil its role on site. However, as usual, the IACHR will continue to register complaints and requests for precautionary measures through the regular pathways, the fastest of which is the petition system portal available on the IACHR website.

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. 141/18