Geneva, September 20, 2019. United Nations member states participating in the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council adopted the Report of the Working Group with the results of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Nicaragua. This Report brings together a total of 259 recommendations to the State of Nicaragua made by other member States in order to help improve the human rights situation in the country, which has faced a serious human rights crisis since April 2018.
We regret that the State of Nicaragua has rejected 124 recommendations, 100 of which are related to the current crisis and propose the return of human rights mechanisms, freedom for all political prisoners, the full restitution of civil and political rights, the cessation of repression and security guarantees for Nicaraguan exiles to return to the country.
Nicaragua justified this rejection by claiming that the recommendations “do not apply due to lack of substance and distortion of reality.” The Nicaraguan ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Carlos Ernesto Morales, denied the systematic violations of human rights committed by State forces and para-state armed groups, which have been widely documented by national and international human rights organizations such as OHCHR and IACHR. Additionally, he said that “some states issued political speeches, far removed from constructive recommendations, trying to politicize” the UPR.
The Nicaraguan State only accepted 135 recommendations, most of which are related to the rights of children and adolescents, gender violence, inclusive public policies, climate change, combating poverty and inequality, access to education and improving land titling for indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.
Nicaragua’s lack of commitment
During the session of the Human Rights Council held today in Geneva, a series of diplomatic delegations and civil society organizations expressed their concern over the recommendations rejected by the State of Nicaragua and the State’s denial of reality, which in turn shows its lack of commitment to restoring the fundamental human rights of its citizens.
“Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru remember that the report of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Nicaragua corroborates the lack of accountability; the denial of the victims’ right to the truth, justice and reparation; the reduction of civic space; the violation of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly; the attack on human rights defenders, journalists and people who are critical of the government; arbitrary detentions and torture. The countries mentioned above urge the Nicaraguan Government to comply with human rights commitments and to consider the implementation of all the recommendations presented (in the UPR),” said the representative of Peru on behalf of a group of South American countries.
Delegations from Egypt, Haiti, India, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, Russia, Serbia, South Africa and the United Kingdom also participated in the plenary discussion.
The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and its partner organization in Nicaragua, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), noted: “We are concerned that (the State of Nicaragua) continues to deny lethal violence in the city and the countryside, hiding the serious human rights crisis in the country, trying to give an image of normality that does not correspond to the repression that the population continues to face today. Serious crimes are still in impunity, public demonstrations continue to be repressed and parapolice forces harass, threaten and attack any dissenting voice. We are deeply concerned that the State rejects the numerous recommendations on access for human rights organizations to the country (…) We insist that the State restore the legal status of which [9 civil society organizations] were arbitrarily deprived and the return of their assets as well as ensuring a safe environment for them to carry out their work without reprisals or threats.”
Other civil society organizations that participated in the session were UNICEF, UNFPA, Indigenous Missionary Council, CIVICUS and the International Network for Human Rights (RIDH).
Race and Equality joins the calls to the State of Nicaragua to honor its international commitments in the field of human rights and immediately implement both the accepted recommendations, as well as those that it rejected based on the supposed lack of substance and distortion of reality. Likewise, we urge the State of Nicaragua to return to the dialogue table, ensuring a broad, credible, representative, inclusive and transparent dialogue to achieve a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis, as recommended in the Universal Periodic Review.
The UPR is one of the main tools of the Human Rights Council that allows member states to examine each other on how they are fulfilling their international human rights commitments. These recommendations are essential for Nicaragua to overcome the current situation of serious human rights violations and comply with international obligations acquired through the ratification of international human rights instruments.
On May 15, the State of Nicaragua was evaluated by the UPR in Geneva, and in that session a total of 94 States made recommendations to Nicaragua to help improve the human rights situation in the country.
A month earlier, on April 3, representatives of Nicaraguan civil society participated in the pre-session of the UPR of the UPR, a space in which they presented the various human rights violations committed in the country to inform the delegations that would later evaluate Nicaragua.
This is the third time that Nicaragua has been subjected to the UPR’s scrutiny. In the previous review, which took place in 2014, the State accepted 164 recommendations, but human rights defenders denounced that an important part of those recommendations were not fully implemented.