Once again, the Ortega-Murillo Administration committed acts of repression against Nicaraguans peacefully participating on October 14 in a civil march, entitled “United for Liberty.” Activists and human rights defenders participated in the march calling for peace, justice, and liberty for the more than 400 political prisoners in Nicaragua.
While activists and well-known human rights defenders peacefully demanded that the Ortega regime free political prisoners, heavily armed anti-riot police violently attacked the demonstrators. According to an official communication from the police, the march constituted an instigating and provoking activity that obstructed the right to peace and freedom of movement of Nicaraguan families trying to carry out their daily activities. The communication indicated that 38 people were captured, 8 of which were released hours later. Among those detained include the political and social leaders Suyen Barahona, President of the Sandinista Renovation Movement; Ana Margarita Vijil, leader of the Sandinista Renovation Movement; and Jose Antonio Peraza, Director of the Movement for Nicaragua.
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) emphatically condemns and rejects the repression and brutality employed by the Nicaraguan police against activists and human rights defenders, as well as the censorship and harassment of independent national and international media workers, who were also detained while exercising their work. All of these acts constitute a grave violation of the rights to social protest, freedom of expression and the press, as well as the integrity and security that Nicaraguans are entitled to under the International Bill of Human Rights and the Nicaraguan Constitution.
With concern we denounce the pattern of repression and violence of the Ortega-Murillo regime designed to intimidate the Nicaraguan people into ceasing to exercise their legitimate right to protest. This violates the fundamental rights of Nicaraguans as well as international law. The threats and acts of criminalization, intimidation, and censorship continue to escalate, demonstrating the low political will of the national government to work towards a peaceful solution to the conflict and its desire to install a de facto state of exception.
We demand that the government of Nicaragua ensure the safety of its people and cease committing acts of violence. Additionally, we call on the government to respect the rights of its citizens, some of whom have precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and are currently detained. We demand freedom for all unjustly prosecuted political prisoners and those detained yesterday while exercising their right to protest. We demand information about their whereabouts and the conditions in which they are detained.
Finally, we urgently call on the international community to increase its efforts to contribute to a peaceful solution to the crisis that has take more than 300 lives, has wounded more than 2,000 people, and has resulted in hundreds of political prisoners and disappeared persons.