The FVBCH, IFEX-ALC and IAPA have submitted an Alternative Report on the freedom of expression situation in Nicaragua to the United Nations Human Rights Committee
The Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (Fundación Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, FVBCH), in collaboration with the IFEX-ALC network–which defends freedom of expression and press freedom in 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries–and the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), have submitted an Alternative Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in relation to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The Alternative Report outlines the systematic violations of press freedom and access to public information encountered by independent journalists in Nicaragua. The Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the ICCPR by the covenant’s States Parties. The list of issues to be presented to the Nicaraguan state in the evaluation process will be determined between 14 October and 8 November 2019.
The Alternative Report brings together information regarding the freedom of expression and access to information situation in Nicaragua, including the constant violations of the human rights of journalists and independent media committed by President Daniel Ortega’s regime over the last decade. The murder of journalist Ángel Gahona in Bluefields on 20 April 2018, after the outbreak of citizen protests, represents the most serious case.
The authors of the Alternative Report are demanding, among other things, an exhaustive investigation into Gahona’s assassination; the return of confiscated property belonging to independent media outlets that were raided by the government, including Canal 100% Noticias, Confidencial and Esta Semana; and the withdrawal of legal action against journalists Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau, as well as the expungement of their criminal records and return of their confiscated property. Mora and Pineda were imprisoned for 172 days for exercising their right to freedom of expression and their right to inform the public.
FVBCH, IFEX-ALC and IAPA are also demanding an end to assaults, intimidation and threats by para-police and paramilitary groups, as well as the cessation of persecution, defamation, harassment and the use of stigmatising language against independent journalists and human rights defenders.
The report points out the need for the Nicaraguan State to comply with the precautionary measures granted to journalists, family members and human rights defenders, as well as the need to provide for the safe return of more than 91 exiled journalists.
Click here to see the Alternative Report pertaining to Article 19 of the ICCPR (the report is available only in Spanish).