Following a 107-day-long wave of violence, repression, threats, and harassment inflicted upon the Nicaraguan people at the hands of Sandinista mobs, parapolice groups, and paramilitaries, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted precautionary measures on August 2, 2018 in favor of members of the Alianza Cívica por la Justicia y la Democracia [Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy] representing the private sector who participate in the Diálogo Nacional por Nicaragua [National Dialogue for Nicaragua] and are victims of persecution, harassment, threats, smears, and accusations by groups allied with the current government.
The claimants – Michael Edwing Healy Lacayo, José Adán Aguerri Chamorro, Felipe Argüero, Álvaro Javier Vargas Duarte, Claudia Neira Bermúdez, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, and Juan Carlos Gutiérrez Soto – together with their relatives who were identified in the proceedings, declared in the denunciation they submitted to the IACHR that since the outset of the National Dialogue they have been the object of threats issued by journalists from media outlets allied with the government, as well as by other anonymous actors seeking to intimidate them.
Likewise, they declared they had received explicit threats in the form of WhatsApp messages that singled them out as being ‘mafiosos,’ ‘criminals,’ and ‘Sandinista supporters.’ The denunciations made by the beneficiaries also include the receipt of death threats [and] the burning of and trespassing onto their properties, as was the case with Michael Edwing Healy Lacayo, President of the Unión de Productores Agropecuaríos de Nicaragua [Union of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua] (UPANIC), whose farm was violently expropriated by assailants. As of the date this resolution was filed, the trespassers were taking advantage of the farm’s plantain harvest.
Similarly, those requesting protective measures were the victims of threats to their good reputations [and] public calumny and slander by being called ‘terrorists’ and ‘assassins.’ In addition, evidence was made known to the public of threats sent to the beneficiaries’ personal telephones and email addresses, as well as harassment, persecution, and intimidation by government sympathizers.
As stated in Resolution 58/2018 issued by the IACHR, “the information submitted demonstrates that the rights to life and personal integrity of the claimants, as well as those of their relatives, are at serious and urgent risk.” For that reason, under Article 25 of IACHR Regulations, the government of Nicaragua was asked to safeguard and adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the rights to life and personal integrity of the claimants, as well as to ensure that State agents respect the rights of the beneficiaries and those related to risky acts attributable to third parties. Lastly, the Commission requested a report on the actions adopted in order to investigate the present incidents that led to the adoption of said precautionary measures and prevent their repetition.
The International Institute on Race, Equality, and Human Rights condemns the perpetration of today’s acts of violence, repression, harassment, arbitrary detention, disappearance, and criminalization of the human rights defenders and activists in the country by the current government. Consistent with its work of protecting and promoting human rights, Race & Equality will continue supporting the work of denouncing [rights violations] as well as promoting and protecting Nicaraguans’ human rights. We call on the Nicaraguan government to attend to the IACHR’s recommendations, so as to safeguard the comprehensive protection of the lives of the populace.