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HomeWorldExperts report Nicaraguan ‘systematic human rights violations’ to UN council

Experts report Nicaraguan ‘systematic human rights violations’ to UN council

Daniel Ortega
| Photo Credit: AFP

Driven by a desire to squelch critical voices, Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega and his entourage have committed systematic human rights violations “tantamount to crimes against humanity,” a group of UN-mandated experts said on Thursday.

In a report presented to the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, they said Mr. Ortega, his Vice President and wife Rosario Murillo, and other high-level officials “should be held accountable.”

“Violations, abuses and crimes have been perpetrated not only to dismantle active opposition efforts, but also to eliminate critical voices and dissuade, in the long term, any new organisation and initiative of social mobilisation,” said the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua.

The body is an independent group with a mandate from the HRC to investigate abuses committed in the Central American country since 2018, when anti-government protests left more than 300 dead in clashes with the armed forces. More than 100,000 people fled into exile.

Nicaragua has jailed hundreds of real and perceived opponents since then and shuttered more than 3,500 religious and other NGOs— often also seizing their assets. Managua views the 2018 protests as part of an attempted coup promoted by Washington, and claims they were funded by NGOs.

Mr. Ortega, a 78-year-old former Marxist firebrand sanctioned by the U.S., has governed Nicaragua since 2007, winning three successive reelections and tightening his grip on key state institutions. He and his wife now have “total control” over the judicial branch, according to the report.

The last election took place in November 2021 with Mr. Ortega’s main rivals in jail alongside dozens of other government opponents and critics.

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