Press Release

IACHR Regrets Nicaragua’s Decision Not to Allow a Promotional Visit to the Country

November 20, 2017

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Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regrets the State of Nicaragua’s position regarding IACHR promotional activities in the country. The decision by the State of Nicaragua is troubling because it hampers and obstructs the Commission’s ability to fulfill its institutional mandate and the powers given to it under the OAS Charter. It also makes the State of Nicaragua’s commitment to human rights more fragile, by unjustifiably constraining opportunities for open, plural debate on human rights in the country by limiting the presence of the IACHR in these spaces.

On November 16, 2017, the State of Nicaragua sent an official communication to the IACHR, through its Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS), in which it announced its decision not to authorize a promotional visit by the IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño. The Rapporteur had been invited by civil society organizations to an event to be held in Managua on November 20 and 21, 2017, to commemorate Universal Children’s Day.

Article 106 of the OAS Charter establishes that the IACHR shall promote the observance and protection of human rights in the Member States of the OAS. Based on that authority, the IACHR carries out many visits of a promotional nature every year, to disseminate and promote awareness of and respect for human rights in the region.

The IACHR also carries out other types of visits to States, for investigation or on-site observation purposes. For these types of visits, the IACHR requests a State’s consent or authorization, in strict compliance with Article 18(g) of its Statute. The situation is different when it comes to promotional visits; in these cases, the Commission’s practice has been and continues to be to advise the State several days ahead of time that the IACHR will be visiting the country for promotional or academic activities.

The planned trip to Nicaragua was of a promotional nature, and thus the decision not to allow this type of visit is of deep concern. The IACHR Rapporteur did not travel to Nicaragua and instead had to participate in the conference virtually. “Our commitment to join efforts to defend rights in Nicaragua and ensure that they are exigible remains firm and steadfast,” said Rapporteur Arosemena de Troitiño.

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 the respect for and defense of 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. 187/17