In a joint submission for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Afghanistan, ISHR and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) draw urgent attention to the ongoing gender persecution in Afghanistan by the Taliban, and the institutionalised framework of gender apartheid.
In a joint statement, governments composing the ‘core group’ of countries leading a resolution to establish UN scrutiny over Nicaragua – Costa Rica, Chile, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay and Ecuador – urged the authorities to ‘cooperate fully’ with UN human rights bodies, raising the cases of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, Miskito leader Brooklyn Rivera and business woman Karen Celebertti.
The European Union and other governments – including France, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands, Georgia, Ukraine, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States – expressed concern at a range of rights abuses in the country. In a strongly-worded statement, Argentina announced it would reintegrate the ‘core group’, which it had left in 2020.
During the dialogue, Cristiana ‘Cris’ Huerta, a feminist activist from Nicaragua, briefed the Human Rights Council on the fate of women human rights defenders in a statement delivered on behalf of the International Service for Human Rights. For Cris, feminist activists are faced with two choices: prison or exile.
In October, Nicaragua had yet again refused to be scrutinised by a UN women’s rights committee established under a treaty ratified by the Nicaraguan State itself. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) publicly ‘deplored’ Nicaragua’s ‘unacceptable conduct’ and ‘baseless accusations’. This exceptional act of defiance was also met by strong criticism from governments and UN experts, with Deputy High Commissioner Al-Nashif condemning the use of ‘inappropriate language’ by Nicaragua’s Ambassador, Rosalía Bohorquez, against the Committee. The Committee’s findings on women’s rights in Nicaragua will be issued in February 2024.
Upcoming regional elections in 2024
As the North and South Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua – predominantly inhabited by Indigenous Peoples – is scheduled to hold regional elections in March 2024, Deputy Al-Nashif raised concern at the ‘arbitrary cancellation of the legal status of YATAMA, the main Indigenous and Afro-descendant political party in the country.’ She also expressed concern at the significant risks to the rights of Indigenous Peoples entailed by the Bio-CLIMA project – funded by the Green Climate Fund –, in particular given the lack of adequate processes to guarantee free, prior and informed consent of affected communities.
In her final remarks during last Monday’s dialogue, Deputy Al-Nashif recommended that Nicaragua promptly release National Assembly members Brooklyn Rivera and Nancy Henriquez, and restore the legal status of all political parties arbitrarily cancelled, including YATAMA, ahead of the 2024 regional elections.