IACHR Condemns Destruction of Civilian Organizations' Property in Nicaragua

February 8, 2021

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Washington, D.C.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the destruction of and interference with property that was confiscated by the State of Nicaragua from the most representative nongovernmental organizations in the country. The IACHR urged Nicaraguan authorities to restore democratic guarantees and the conditions needed to enable the defense of human rights and the full exercise of freedom of association, expression, and the right to social protest.

On January 30, 2021, the IACHR spoke out against the demolition of facilities confiscated from the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) in Managua, which began on January 29, 2021, and the use of its offices at its headquarters in Juigalpa, Chontales.

In October 2020, the IACHR denounced the de facto occupation of properties belonging to the Río Foundation. Then in December 2020, it denounced the posting of official notices on several of the facilities that had been seized announcing that they had been requisitioned and were now State property.

These events took place after the National Assembly revoked the legal status of nine local human rights NGOs in December 2018, including CENIDH and the Río Foundation. Since then, the headquarters of these organizations have been raided and occupied by State agents, and although the affected organizations have filed judicial appeals regarding these events, these have not been addressed to date. The legal and administrative measures to revoke legal status by means of illegal, arbitrary processes and the de facto occupation, destruction, or interference with the facilities of human rights organizations is one of the gravest possible restrictions on freedom of association. The aim of these actions is to silence those who are speaking out against the human rights situation in the country.

The IACHR urged the State of Nicaragua to cease its harassment of human rights defenders and guarantee the conditions needed for them to go about their work promoting and defending human rights and exercising their own rights. Likewise, given that this repression is part of a widespread human rights crisis that has been going on in Nicaragua since April 2018 and in which the country's constitutional and democratic order has been impaired, the IACHR called once more for democratic guarantees to be reinstated in the country and expressed its willingness to collaborate with the State of Nicaragua to achieve this.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 030/21