Washington, D.C. – July 5, 2018. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has granted precautionary measures to Aníbal Toruño, director of Radio Darío, as well as to journalists from the station in response to the ongoing hostility, harassment, and repression to which they have been subject, particularly after the April 20th attacks on the radio’s headquarters by way of pro-government groups who burned the station. The measures are a product of Nicaragua’s current crisis which, since April 18th, has claimed the lives of over 300 people, and has seen peaceful protestors – men, women and young adults – attacked and targeted by paramilitary forces and pro-government mobs.
Mr. Toruño’s risk situation, and that of journalists Aníbal Enrique Alonso Toruño, Victor Xavier Morales Toruño, Audberto Gallo, Eduardo Amaya, Henry Blanco, Eladio Canales, Elmer Cano, Leo Cárcamo, Gary Castillo, Marcelino Osorio, Alexander Quiroz, Francisco Torres and Jorge Vallejos, originated at the beginning of the Nicaraguan crisis and resulted from the radio station’s stance of reporting against Ortega government repressions. Just today, July 5th, two of the journalists from Radio Darío who were granted IACHR precautionary measures were beaten up by the National Police while covering the situation in the province of León, which to date has left three people killed and several wounded; police has also destroyed their equipment and has confiscated it without justification.
The government has adopted tactics, which include carried-out acts of aggression, cases of unlawful/arbitrary detentions, torture practices, cruel and inhuman treatment, censorship, attacks against the press, and other forms of intimidation, such as threats, hostility and persecution which aim to disrupt public protest and discourage citizen participation. These and other tactics have been implemented by the government to stifle the demands of a public which is dissatisfied with the logic behind state violence.
The IACHR used the context of intimidation, serious human rights violations by way of excessive use of force by the police, and the vulnerability and lack of protection for the population in general, especially human rights defenders and journalists, as the background to grant precautionary measures for this group of journalists and human rights leaders who are today intimidated, persecuted and threatened for promoting spaces of citizen participation amidst the national crisis.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights resolved that Mr. Toruño and his journalists’ situation of vulnerability and risk due to their vocal opposition, fulfills the requirements of seriousness, urgency, and risk of irreparable harm laid out in Article 25 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure. By way of the precautionary measure, the Commission is urging the State of Nicaragua to ensure the adoption of measures necessary to guarantee the life and physical integrity of the members of Radio Dario. The State must, in response, ensure that its agents will respect the life and physical integrity of the beneficiaries, as established in international human rights law. Furthermore, the Commission is also requesting that the State adopt the measures necessary so that the beneficiaries can carry out their work as journalists without being subject to acts of intimidation, threats, or violence; this includes protection for the radio headquarters. The State was also asked to inform the Commission of measures it takes to investigate the facts which prompted the adoption of said precautionary measures.
The Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights will continue supporting efforts of promoting and protecting Nicaraguan human rights, as well as the denouncing of violations of them. We urge the national government to implement the recommendations of the IACHR in order to safeguard the lives and physical integrity of Radio Dario’s journalists, as well as their director, Aníbal Toruño, so that they may continue the work of publicly broadcasted information and denunciation, which are indicative of unimpaired participation and political expression that every Nicaraguan citizen must be allowed to have.
Read Resolution 47/2018 – Precautionary Measures for Aníbal Toruño Jirón and other members of Radio “Dario”. (only available in Spanish).