Civil society groups issued a statement on the adoption of the Working Group Report for the Universal Periodic Review of Nicaragua and the government's rejection of numerous recommendations regarding freedom of expression.
The following is a joint statement by the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (Fundación Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, FVBCH), the IFEX-ALC network, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC):
On May 15 the State of Nicaragua was evaluated within the context of the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). During the interactive dialogue, 90 United Nations’ member states provided statements and Nicaragua received 259 recommendations. More than 100 of the recommendations centred on resolving the socio-political crisis that has been gripping the country since April 2018, calling on the government to carry out impartial investigations into serious human rights violations and demanding guarantees for full exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and association and the right to peaceful assembly.
- Today, with the session on adoption of the Working Group Report, we have confirmed, with great concern, that of the 259 recommendations generated during the UPR, the Nicaraguan government has only accepted 135 (52%) and has rejected 124, the majority of which are directed at seeking a resolution to the socio-political crisis. A hundred or so of the recommendations were rejected based on allegations that they are not applicable as they were deemed to be unfounded and a distortion of reality.
- Of the recommendations received during the interactive dialogue, 48 were geared toward guaranteeing protection and promotion of freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information, and ensuring respect for the independence and diversity of the media. Of those recommendations, only 14 (29%) were accepted.
- Faced with indifference toward the serious repression of journalists and independent media in Nicaragua unleashed since April 2018, we condemn the attacks that have taken place, which remain in a situation of impunity.
- We call on the Nicaraguan government to comply with the recommendation it accepted regarding thorough investigations into all acts of violence against journalists and independent media outlets, including the assassination of journalist Ángel Eduardo Gahona. The individuals behind Gahona’s murder must be brought to justice.
- We are concerned that the government of Nicaragua to date has refused to reinstate media outlets that are still under seizure by law enforcement officials, such as Canal 100% Noticias, the Confidencial newsrooms and the Esta Semana and Esta Noche programmes.
- We condemn the libel and defamation campaigns that have been launched against journalists and media outlets, which threaten the lives and physical safety of media personnel.
- We call on the government of Nicaragua to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of thought, freedom of expression and the right to information, which are enshrined in Articles 30, 66, 67 and 68 of the Nicaraguan Constitution as well as in binding international agreements.
- We demand an end to secrecy as a form of official state administrative policy and call for restitution of the right to public information enshrined in Law 621, the Law on Access to Public Information, as per the recommendation accepted by the government.
- We call on the government of Nicaragua to once and for all refrain from implementing administrative and institutional measures, such as those used by the Customs General Directorate (Dirección General de Aduanas), to restrict press freedom, as has been taking place for more than a year with the withholding of paper and other supplies required by the El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa newspapers.
- We demand the resumption of national dialogue between the government and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy (Alianza Cívica por la Justicia and la Democracia) as the only way forward to reach a peaceful and democratic solution to the current crisis in Nicaragua.
- We call on the government to allow international organisations responsible for monitoring and protecting human rights to return to the country.