Washington, D.C.; December 3, 2020. The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) earlier today, detailing actions by the State of Nicaragua that restrict and criminalize the work of independent journalists, violating Nicaraguans’ right to freedom of expression.
The petition includes 39 victims who have suffered various acts of repression and violence at the hands of State agents and pro-government groups. The 39 victims include managers, journalists, and employees of the independent outlets Radio Darío, 100% Noticias, Confidencial-Esta Semana, and Radio La Costeñísima.
The petition describes physical attacks, death threats, arbitrary detentions, surveillance, destructive police raids, and property confiscation against independent Nicaraguan media. Race and Equality also submitted evidence of arbitrary actions against the victims by all three branches of the Nicaraguan government, demonstrating the lack of independence in the judicial branch and other public offices.
100% Noticias and Confidencial-Esta Semana have sought justice through various judicial processes, as detailed in the petition, while Radio Darío and Radio La Costeñísima have had to abandon such processes after repeated retaliations against them.
Race and Equality’s petition also highlights three pieces of Nicaraguan legislation that can be used to restrict freedoms of expression, association, and assembly: the Law Against Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (known as the Law Against Terrorism); the Law to Regulate Foreign Agents; and the Special Law on Cybercrime.
Race and Equality has requested that the IACHR find the State of Nicaragua responsible for violating the rights to a fair hearing and judicial guarantees; to the freedoms of expression and association; to life, personal liberty, and personal integrity; to the protection of dignity and reputation; to private property; and to free movement. All these rights are protected under the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Nicaragua is a party.
The petition also calls for the IACHR to recommend measures for reparations to the victims and measures to ensure non-repetition of these violations.
Cover picture: Jorge Mejía Peralta.