OAS Permanent Council Nicaragua Working Group Issues Statement

Recalling Permanent Council resolutions CP/RES. 1108 (2172/18), adopted on July 18, 2018, CP/RES. 1109 (2175/18), adopted on August 2, 2018, and CP/RES. 1110 (2182/18), adopted on September 12, 2018,

Reaffirming that States have the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in the context of assemblies such as peaceful protests, and to ensure that national legislation, policies and practices, as the national framework for the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, of expression and of association, are in compliance with international human rights law:

Expresses its strong condemnation of the continuing repressive actions and measures taken by the Government of Nicaragua, including through the outright criminalization of any forms of protest, which contravenes basic international human rights standards and has generated a worrisome number of victims since last April;

In this context, stresses its deep concern and repudiation for the arbitrary detentions of protesters and human rights defenders on the occasion of manifestations last Sunday, October 14, which only contributes to aggravate the social and political crises in the country. While at least 25 of them were released the following day, according to the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI), the Working Group makes an urgent call to release all persons that are still arbitrarily detained;

Endorses the view of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that “the declaration that anti-government protests are illegal because of violent acts and the a priori attribution of responsibility to conveners and organizers – in addition to being a clear violation of the principle of innocence – implies an arbitrary limitation of the right to social protest and therefore violates international human rights standards.”;

Calls upon the Nicaraguan government to end immediately violence perpetrated by government-controlled police and parapolice forces, hold accountable those responsible for violence and killings, and release all arbitrarily detained persons;

Reiterates its willingness to uphold a meaningful dialogue with the Government of Nicaragua and stresses its deep concern and regret for its systematic refusal to receive the Working Group, for its denial to have any kind of dialogue and to not allow the WG to visit Nicaragua, and to obstruct every contact of the Working Group with other relevant Nicaraguan parties of interest to reach a peaceful and mutually agreed to solution to the situation in Nicaragua;

Reaffirms its continued support for a peaceful solution for the crisis in Nicaragua and urges the Nicaraguan government and all relevant stakeholders to engage in a meaningful national dialogue conducive to a sustainable and peaceful reconciliation.