Nicaraguan Government Committed Widespread Human Rights Violations: UN


Nicaragua’s government committed human rights violations and turned a blind eye while armed mobs rounded up protesters, some of whom were later raped with rifles and tortured in detention, the United Nations (U.N.) human rights office said on Aug. 29.

It documented human rights violations between April 18 and Aug. 18, including the disproportionate use of force and extrajudicial killings by the police, disappearances, widespread arbitrary detentions, and instances of torture and sexual violence in detention centers.

Report Documents Persecution

“We’ve issued a report calling for urgent action to address the human rights crisis in Nicaragua, where the level of persecution is such that many of those who participated in the protests that erupted in April, defended protesters or riots, or simply expressed dissenting views, have been forced to hide, have left Nicaragua or are trying to do so,” outgoing U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told reporters in Geneva during his last news conference as High Commissioner of human rights.

“Repression and retaliation against demonstrators continue in Nicaragua as the world looks away. The violence and impunity of these past four months have exposed the fragility of the countries institutions and the rule of law and created a climate of fear and mistrust and just the numbers of those leaving Nicaragua is testimony to that.”

He urged the U.N. Human Rights Council, which meets next month, to consider setting up an international inquiry or truth commission to prevent the situation getting worse and to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses.

Crackdown on Protests

The violent crackdown on protests against President Daniel Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla leader, has drawn international condemnation. The U.N. report said over 300 people had been killed and 2,000 injured.

Zeid also warned on a possible refugee crisis as people are fleeing persecution.

“If we don’t stem this, stop this, you know, how many other countries are going to be placed under severe pressure from the outflow of refugees who are fleeing and then, there will be a knock-on effect,” he said, noting the current outflow from Venezuela.