Press Release

IACHR Updates Death Toll Records of Human Rights Crisis that Started in April 2018 in Nicaragua

November 15, 2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has updated its records of the number of people killed in the context of the human rights crisis that started on April 18, 2018 in Nicaragua, as well as the web page of the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI).

Since it conducted a working visit to Nicaragua over the period May 17–21, 2018, the Inter-American Commission has engaged in historic efforts to monitor the situation and record data on the victims of the serious human rights violations that happened in the context of the State's violent response to social problems. The IACHR's report on that visit states that these rights violations were a consequence of an excessive use of force, including the use of lethal force by officers of the State and by para-Police agents. A total of 212 individuals were reported dead, according to the report, which warned that the violence was still ongoing at the time of publication and that the figures would need to be updated later.

Updated records of the number of people killed in the crisis say at least 355 individuals died during the repression of social protests over the period April 18, 2018–July 31, 2019. Disaggregating this figure by gender, 15 women and 340 men were killed over this period. Of the total number of dead, 27 individuals were children or adolescents. The figures also show that 23 officers of Nicaragua's National Police were killed in this context.

Data from several sources was systematically assessed to update these records. It includes partial information provided by the State of Nicaragua; data and statements gathered by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts for Nicaragua (GIEI-Nicaragua); figures and analyses produced by international organizations; and the reports published by the Commission for Truth, Justice, and Peace in Nicaragua. The IACHR has all the information and the 1,786 statements gathered by MESENI since the 2018 working visit, through its collaboration with human rights organizations and defenders in Nicaragua. The Commission notes the dynamic nature of these records, which are permanently being updated.

The Inter-American Commission reminds the State of Nicaragua of its obligation to investigate impartially and with due diligence all the acts of violence committed in the context of the crisis, in order to end impunity. The State must also take all measures necessary to overcome the current crisis and restore democratic institutions, by launching proceedings that foster truth, justice, and redress for victims of the crisis.

Given the lack of official data, the IACHR stresses the State of Nicaragua's unavoidable duty to gather and publish accurate and reliable information on victims of human rights violations. The IACHR stresses its constant disposition to assess the available information and to cooperate and provide any technical assistance necessary to restore the full exercise of human rights in Nicaragua, in keeping with the Commission's mandate. This includes enabling MESENI's return to the country.

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. 302/21

No. 302/21

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