Nicaragua is experiencing a serious socio-political and human rights crisis resulting from the dismantling of democratic institutions and the destruction of civic and democratic space. Since 2018, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has committed systematic and widespread human rights violations that constitute crimes against humanity against a sector of the population considered to be opponents, real or perceived.
Five years after the protests began in April 2018, Human Rights Organizations have documented 355 deaths, more than 2,000 people injured, more than 2,090 people deprived of liberty for political reasons and the exile of more than 250,000 Nicaraguans, including 316 people expulsed for political reasons.
Our work in Nicaragua
Race and Equality strengthens Nicaraguan civil society organizations’ capacity for documentation, litigation and advocacy before the Inter-American System and the Universal Human Rights System, with the aim of guaranteeing justice, comprehensive reparation and non-repetition for victims of state repression. We also train women, indigenous, Afro-descendant and LGBTI+ leaders to actively participate in key events such as the OAS General Assembly and the Summit of the Americas.
At the Inter-American System, we have worked on requesting precautionary and provisional measures in favor of persons deprived of liberty for political reasons and journalists in situations of serious risk to their lives and personal integrity. We have filed petitions with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) alleging violations of the American Convention on Human Rights to declare the international responsibility of the State of Nicaragua; as well as complaints to the United Nations Special Procedures, such as those made to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which resulted in opinions declaring the arbitrariness of the detention of almost 40 Nicaraguans (opinion 10-2022, 58-2022 and 39-2020, among others).
We provide technical assistance to partners in order to make their human rights reports effective tools for advocacy. We have accompanied them to participate in the reviews of the State of Nicaragua before the United Nations Treaty Bodies, such as the Committee against Torture.
- Race and Equality has published several reports on the human rights crisis in Nicaragua. One of our reports, NICARAGUA: An unresolved human rights crisis. Analysis of arbitrary detentions, judicial processes without guarantees and political persecution (July 2021), examines the violations committed against persons deprived of liberty for political reasons in the context of their detentions, as well as during their judicial processes and the challenges faced by the institutionality in Nicaragua.
- We organized visits by United Nations experts, such as the visit to Costa Rica of the former Vice-President of the Human Rights Committee Vasilka Sancín in 2022, whose objective was to follow up on the concluding observations issued by the Committee for the State of Nicaragua.
- We lead the advocacy campaign before the United Nations #MecanismoParaNicaragua. This is an effort by Colectivo 46/2, a coalition of 21 local and international organizations that pushed for the creation and subsequent expansion of the mandate of the
Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN).
- We also lead the “Nicas Libres Ya” campaign, in which, together with local organizations, we demand the release of politically motivated prisoners who are being subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and even torture. This campaign contributed to the release of 222 people in February 2023 and continues to demand the release of all those who remain in prison.