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Group of Experts and women human rights defenders analyze the present and future of Nicaragua

UN Group of Experts and Nicaraguan women human rights defenders analyze the present and future of the country in light of the First Report of the Group of Experts

Washington D.C., March 14, 2023.- In a discussion on the first report of the Group of Experts on Human Rights in Nicaragua (GHREN), Nicaraguan women human rights defenders Olga Valle, Wendy Flores, and Josefa Meza, and experts Jan-Michael Simon and Angela Buitrago, urged the international community to take strong measures and sanction individuals and institutions accused of perpetrating human rights violations and abuses since 2018 in Nicaragua. The defenders called on the UN Human Rights Council to renew GRHEN's mandate for two more years.

After a year of thorough investigations, the GHREN report concludes that the Government of Nicaragua is committing systematic and widespread human rights violations that constitute crimes against humanity targeting a specific sector of the civilian population identified as "opposition." This report demonstrates that the alleged abuses - which include extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, torture, arbitrary deprivation of nationality and the right to remain in one's own country - are not an isolated phenomenon, but a product of the "deliberate dismantling" of democratic institutions and the destruction of civic and democratic space.

The international community must act in the face of the humanitarian crisis

Ángela Buitrago, GHREN expert, explained that the investigation shows how "the method and form of carrying out these crimes has become more sophisticated, and from that point of view, it has already reached the maximum element which is deportation, loss of nationality, and obviously also the consideration of statelessness for the people who were deported".

The humanitarian conditions are becoming more complex at the national and international level, and "GHREN has made a call to understand that the consequences of all these decisions affect not only Nicaraguans, but also the international community. It is generating -without a doubt- a humanitarian crisis that is going to be complex in the region", added Buitrago.

For the President of GHREN, Jan Michael Simon, "the international community is obliged to Do no Harm", meaning that any cooperation with the Nicaraguan government in the area of development should be conditioned "that any penny that is disbursed has an objective of strengthening human rights in Nicaragua".

According to the expert, there are sources that "make it easier for the government to continue obtaining oxygen to maintain the situation in which it finds itself" and using funds for "very particular purposes." For this reason, the GHREN has made an "unusual" recommendation for this type of mechanism, which is related to the fact that "the international community will have to see, not only the obvious issue of holding individuals and their actions accountable and sanctioning institutions for their actions; but rather see it in a broader way, in terms of how to influence so that this system of government does not continue to do what it is doing," explained the expert.

Given the persistence of impunity, the GHREN investigations must continue

Wendy Flores, activist from the human rights collective "Nicaragua Nunca Más," regretted that these investigations and the presentation of this first GHREN report, as well as the Concluding Observations of the United Nations committees, are not being carried out in Nicaragua as a result of the political persecution carried out by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

"The country we want is not the one that is representing us today; it is a country loaded with injustice, persecution, abuses, serious human rights violations, crimes, and murders that remain in impunity and that were executed by police and parapolice forces that today continue to terrorize the population and the victims... It is important to continue deepening the investigations and that the international community takes up the recommendations of the Group of Experts," said Flores.

For her part, Olga Valle, Director of Urnas Abiertas, explained that her organization has documented "how the consolidation of the totalitarian state after the electoral farce of 2021 (general elections) deepened or began to condition and limit also economic, cultural, social and environmental rights".

Valle called on States and democratic forces to extend sanctions to institutions and individuals linked to the commission of crimes against humanity. She also urged them to incorporate human rights and transparency parameters in development and investment projects, since there are "international financial institutions such as CABEI, IDB, World Bank or IMF, which can still be identified as financiers of the regime in the last 5 years."

Josefa Meza, member of the Mothers of April Association (AMA) and mother of young Jonathan Morazán, victim of extrajudicial executions in the peaceful demonstrations of 2018, gave a message of hope and the fight against impunity: "On behalf of the Mothers of April Association (AMA), and all the mothers who are victims of this repression, we welcome this report with great hope that we will finally find justice and there will be an end to impunity".



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