STATEMENT: Aggressions against human rights organizations in Nicaragua continue

Washington, D.C. December 14, 2018. The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race & Equality) strongly condemns the violent and illegal forceful entries of the Nicaraguan police into the offices of the Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos [Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights] (CENIDH), Instituto de Liderazgo de Las Segovias [Las Segovias Leadership Institute] (ILLS), Centro de Información y Servicios de Asesoría en Salud [Center for Health Information and Advisory Services] (CISAS), Fundación para la Promoción y el Desarrollo Municipal Popol Na [Popol Na Foundation for Municipal Promotion and Development], Fundación del Río [River Foundation], Instituto para el Desarrollo y la Democracia [Institute for Development and Democracy] (IPADE), and the Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos y Políticas Públicas [Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policy] (IEEPP). These forceful entries occurred beginning early Friday morning. All of the organizations had their legal status arbitrarily invalidated by the Nicaraguan Assembly. Race and Equality condemns these events as well the violent assault and looting of the newsrooms of the digital publication Confidencial, where the TV studios of the programs Esta Noche and Esta Semana are also located.

Representatives from the organizations reported that in order to break into their offices, the police agents abused their authority and physically assaulted the security guards in each location. They also broke down the doors, destroyed the furniture, and illegally seized documents, computers, and even vehicles.

Given this unprecedented attack in recent Nicaraguan history, we express our opposition to the arbitrary actions of the Nicaraguan authorities, as well as the impunity they enjoy when violating the fundamental freedoms of association and peaceful assembly of human rights defenders, the media and dissident activists. The actions of the authorities serve the purposes of the Ortega Murillo dictatorship and demonstrate an abrupt restriction of spaces for democratic participation and political rights of the groups that demand justice and peace in Nicaragua.

The human rights defenders involved are persistently attacked, criminalized, and persecuted. Additionally, the illegal takeovers carried out by the police not only violate the right to property and privacy of the defenders, but they are a forceful expression of the totalitarianism and politics of fear that the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo have installed in the Central American country.

We demand that the Ortega government restore the legal status of the aforementioned organizations as well as return their stolen property.

These attacks are evidence of the state of repression and human rights crisis that the people of Nicaragua are facing. For this reason, we urge the international community to address these acts that violate the well-being of every human being and make it impossible to build democratic societies that seek to achieve welfare, justice and peace.

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