Press Release

IACHR Speaks Out Against Stigmatization Campaign in Nicaragua

May 16, 2019

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Washington, DC—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has categorically rejected the ongoing campaign to discredit and stigmatize all those who report or speak out against the human rights violations that are continuing to occur in Nicaragua. These include civil society organizations, members of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy who are taking part in the current negotiations, and the IACHR itself.

In recent weeks, the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) has informed the IACHR that members of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy have been the target of various accusations by authorities at the highest level of government in an attempt to discredit their role in the current negotiation process. Both the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy and other civil society organizations that have reported human rights violations in Nicaragua have also been targeted by a growing number of stigmatizing messages seeking to discredit them on social media platforms and in other media.

The IACHR expressed its concern over these practices, which have been observed throughout the process of state repression that has been going on in Nicaragua since April 2018. They seek to discredit civil society organizations and those who have taken on a fundamental role in finding a solution to the current crisis, such as the Catholic Church, while attempting to portray that the situation in Nicaragua is largely stable.

“We reject the Nicaraguan government’s continual, tendentious statements against human rights defenders in Nicaragua and those who are involved in the negotiation process,” said Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, rapporteur for Nicaragua. “These claims seek to distract from the fact that the government’s priority should be finding a swift solution to this crisis and complying with its obligations to guarantee in respect the human rights of all Nicaraguans,” she added.

Nicaraguan authorities have also sought to discredit the IACHR’s work in Nicaragua through press releases and public statements that attempt to justify their noncompliance with the international human rights obligations which the state voluntarily agreed to be party to. Since the IACHR paid a working visit to Nicaragua in May 2018 to observe the human rights situation in the country following the crisis that began in April 2018, the government of Nicaragua has ignored the findings and recommendations made by the IACHR in its Preliminary Observations and subsequent Country Report.

The IACHR urges the state of Nicaragua to comply with these recommendations and the precautionary measures it has granted to people at serious risk. The IACHR also urges the state to respond to the various requests for information that have been made of it and the repeated requests that it conduct a specific, technical comparison of its data on the victims of the current crisis with the data obtained by MESENI, including data on deaths and detainments.

IACHR president Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño said, “The IACHR wishes to assure all Nicaraguans of our ongoing commitment to their human rights. We wish to state once again that we are willing and able to collaborate with the population and provide all technical assistance needed to restore human rights in the country, as per our mandate.”

The IACHR will continue to monitor, promote, and protect human rights in Nicaragua through its different mechanisms. The IACHR fulfills its mandate independently and autonomously as part of the powers conferred on it by the Organization of American States, and it is committed to providing constant support for those who suffer human rights violations.

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. 118/19