UN Urges Nicaraguan Government to Stop “Witch Hunts”

 

“We are dismayed because many human rights defenders, journalists and other dissenting voices are being criminalized and charged with unfounded and disproportionate charges, such as ‘terrorism’,” the report said.

 

HAVANA TIMES – A group of UN experts urged the Nicaraguan government to “stop the repression” and the “witch hunt” against dissenting voices and participants in opposition protests, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported today.

In a statement posted on its website, the agency warns that almost four months after the start of protests against President Daniel Ortega, “selective repression, criminalization and alleged arbitrary arrests have increased, creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty” in the country.

“We are dismayed because many human rights defenders, journalists and other dissenting voices are being criminalized and charged with unfounded and disproportionate charges, such as ‘terrorism’,” the report said.

The UN office stresses that the government has dismissed doctors who treated wounded protesters, while other critical voices such as peasant leaders, students and representatives of the Catholic Church “continue to be subjected to intimidation, threats and deprivation of liberty, including collective arrests and ill-treatment.”

“We deplore what appears to be a smear campaign aimed at discrediting or vilifying human rights defenders as ‘terrorists’ and ‘coup makers’, and apparent attempts to undermine the opposition,” the statement said.

The human rights experts expressed concern about a new law to combat terrorism, recently approved in Managua by the Ortega controlled legislature, as they fear it gives the government “more room to make arrests and criminal proceedings against protesters and make improper use of it.”

The OHCHR also asked the authorities to maintain “a clear and updated record” of the detainees and to guarantee them “the right to a fair trial, with all the guarantees of due process.”

“Impunity, violence and repression have never been a breeding ground for peace and stability, and could plunge the country into deeper social and political unrest,” the report warns.

The experts also called on the government to “immediately demobilize paramilitary groups and investigate extrajudicial executions, killings and allegations of enforced disappearances with due diligence, without delay and through the use of effective, impartial and independent procedures.”

The crisis in Nicaragua erupted on April 18 with a student rally over a social security reform that triggered new protests as a result of the violent repression unleashed by the police and paramilitaries against civilian demonstrators.

Human rights NGOs account for between 330 and 450 dead, more than 2,000 injured and hundreds of detainees and disappeared in less than four months. The Government officially registers 197 deaths.

One thought on “UN Urges Nicaraguan Government to Stop “Witch Hunts”

  • Those who are fortunate to live in the free Western democratic countries should consider the actions of the “socialist” dictators – Castro, Maduro, Ortega et al, and treasure their freedom.

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