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Human Rights Council must seek accountability for gross violations in Nicaragua

Civil society organisations have published an assessment detailing the wilful inaction of the State of Nicaragua, which has failed to address gross human rights violations as urged by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 46/2.

Colectivo 46/2, a coalition of international and Nicaraguan NGOs named after the resolution adopted by the HRC in March 2021 to address the country’s rights crisis, has produced a three-chapter evaluation of the State’s action, and inaction, to implement resolution 46/2. The assessment concluded that the State has not taken any actions since April 2021 to meet the Human Rights Council’s recommendations, instead taking measures in the opposite direction.

“All UN and Inter-American human rights bodies are unequivocal: the authorities have not only suppressed fundamental freedoms and dismantled the rule of law. They have also continued dismantling socio-economic rights, and enabling violence and discrimination against indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples,” said Claudia Paz y Paz, director of the program for Central America and Mexico of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

“The State’s persistent disdain for dialogue with the UN is such that it even refused to simply respond to questions from an expert committee on socio-economic rights and ignored the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council over the past three years” said Mariel Merayo, Coordinator for Latin America Coordinator at the Centre for Civil and Political Rights

Human Rights Council Member States are due to review resolution 46/2 in March. In light of Nicaragua’s continued flouting of its human rights obligations, Council members must take assertive steps to break the impunity cycle and lay the ground for future accountability: it is time for the Council to establish an international mechanism that investigates serious human rights violations in Nicaragua since April 2018, identifies the perpetrators, and preserves evidence.

“Ortega has made clear he does not intend to revert course. Yet, perpetrators of gross human rights violations cannot hide forever: the UN should sow the seeds for future accountability, be it in Nicaragua, or through avenues for international justice,” said Juan Carlos Arce, member of the coordination council and coordinator of organisational strengthening of Colectivo Nicaragua Nunca Más.

“Nicaragua’s State has had ample opportunities to engage in good faith with the international community: it turned down each and all of them. Instead, Nicaraguan leaders preferred doubling down on their crackdown on human rights and any form of dissent,” said Raphael Viana, Program Officer at the International Service for Human Rights. “The international community must establish a mechanism that will ensure evidence is collected so that justice and the rule of law can be restored in Nicaragua.”

This is the third evaluation released by Colectivo 46/2, looking at the October-December 2021 period, including the November electoral process. Two previous assessments have been released in August and November 2021. These three reports draw from extensive documentation from the UN and Inter-American systems, to look at Nicaragua’s compliance with the 14 recommendations made in the March 2021 UN resolution, including on arbitrary detentions, the shrinking of civil society space, sexual and gender-based violence, and the rights of indigenous peoples.

At no point have the Nicaraguan authorities taken any serious steps, nor demonstrated any willingness, to address any of the points above. Colectivo 46/2 will thus continue to campaign for more stringent steps to be taken against the Nicaraguan State at the next session of the Human Rights Council.

Colectivo 46/2 is a coalition of 21 national and international human rights organisations that monitor the Nicaraguan State’s implementation of the 14 recommendations made to it in the resolution 46/2 adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2021.

The coalition has researched, documented and has periodically informed the international community about the lack of efforts by the State of Nicaragua to address its international human rights obligations and the concerns of the international community. Colectivo 46/2 calls on the UN to appoint experts to investigate the human rights crisis that has been happening in the country since April 2018.

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