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Statement from the OAS General Secretariat on Nicaragua

  December 21, 2020

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) expresses its deep concern over the enactment in Nicaragua of the "Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace."

The initiative approved by the Legislative Assembly seeks to restrict political rights with the aim of limiting electoral competition, in a clear attack on the basic principles of a democratic state, in accordance with the provisions of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

In effect, the attempt to hold elections while preventing the participation of those who are legitimately in opposition to the government is an attack on fundamental rights enshrined in international human rights instruments.

The Nicaraguan government, through these types of acts, would deny the Nicaraguan people the right to freely choose their representatives, transforming the 2021 elections into an imposition rather than an election.

The OAS General Secretariat reminds the government of its publicly expressed commitment to implement the recommendations of the last OAS Electoral Accompaniment Mission deployed for the 2017 municipal elections, which included measures that would undoubtedly improve democratic conditions in the country, and they differ radically from those that are now being implemented.

For the above reasons, the OAS General Secretariat calls on the government to repeal the law in question, and reiterates its call to begin a process with the various political and social actors in the country, to undertake the necessary electoral reforms that guarantee free fair and transparent elections. Likewise, the OAS General Secretariat stands ready to advise on the process of the reform of electoral norms, as was agreed at the time between the government of Nicaragua and the OAS.

Reference: E-127/20