Press Release

IACHR Presents Performance Report and Results for the Special Follow-Up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI)

June 25, 2019

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Washington, DC—Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presented the Performance Report on the actions implemented by the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI), the outcomes this has achieved, and the impact it has had through its different mandates over the year since it was set in motion.

On April 18, 2018, in response to the onset of the current crisis in Nicaragua, the IACHR deployed all of its standard mechanisms and implemented new ones to enable it to act on its mandate as fully as possible. On May 3, 2018, the IACHR established a Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit (SACROI) to provide targeted support for this situation. It also conducted a working visit to Nicaragua between May 17 and 21, 2018, to observe the human rights situation in the country and make its initial recommendations to the state.

At the invitation of the state of Nicaragua and in compliance with the recommendations included in both its preliminary observations and the final report on that visit, the IACHR set up MESENI in the field on June 24, 2018. The IACHR wishes to underline that the state of Nicaragua was initially open to MESENI setting up operations in the country and that this support was essential to this process and to the success of MESENI’s early initiatives. These included: dialogue with senior state authorities on compliance with IACHR recommendations; achieving the release of people who had been arbitrarily detained; missions to verify the human rights situation at the Jinotepe and Juigalpa roadblocks; access to La Modelo penitentiary to interview people who had been criminalized; the gathering of official information on people who were injured or killed in the protests; support for the establishment of the GIEI-Nicaragua; and technical meetings with senior authorities in order to monitor compliance with IACHR recommendations. Over the course of six months, MESENI's operations on the ground kept the international community informed of the developments in the human rights crisis that has been unfolding in Nicaragua since April 18, 2018. More importantly, it has provided support and assistance to the Nicaraguan people at a time when the rule of law was in rapid decline in the country.

On December 19, 2018, the state of Nicaragua decided to suspend MESENI’s work in the country and further visits from the IACHR. MESENI has continued to monitor the human rights situation in Nicaragua from the IACHR headquarters in Washington, DC, and by conducting working visits to other countries in the region to which Nicaraguans have fled in search of international protection as a consequence of state repression.

To mark MESENI's first year in operation, the IACHR wishes to acknowledge the positive outcomes of the initiatives it has implemented to protect the rights of the people of Nicaragua, preserve memory of what has taken place there, and influence the path of action being taken by victims and their families in their efforts to obtain truth, justice, and reparation. In the IACHR's view, the leadership and courage of all victims of human rights violations in Nicaragua is the driving force behind MESENI’s work. As a consequence, the IACHR will continue to monitor the grave situation in Nicaragua through all its mechanisms, including MESENI.

The IACHR is grateful to all the OAS member and observer states for the support they have provided through their contributions to strengthen the IACHR’s work and to establish and maintain MESENI over this first year of operations.

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. 160/19