Political rights

Nicaragua’s pre-election crackdown on civil and political rights escalates


A report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council denounces the Nicaraguan government’s harsh crackdown on opposition leaders ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections on November 7.

Critics accuse Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of systematically getting rid of viable opposition candidates to secure a fourth consecutive term for the country’s presidency.

In her last update to the Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michèle Bachelet, said that the increasing restrictions imposed by the Nicaraguan authorities on the right to vote of people undermine free and fair elections. She said Nicaraguans should be able to exercise their right to vote without intimidation, violence or administrative interference.

Its report documents the arbitrary detention of 16 people between June 22 and September 6. They are political leaders, human rights defenders, businessmen, journalists, as well as peasant and student leaders.

She said the arrests are in addition to those of 20 other government opponents who have been detained since May 28. She spoke through an interpreter.

“This group includes six men and a woman who have publicly declared that they aspire to the presidency … The vast majority of these people remain deprived of their liberty and have been for up to 90 days, being held incommunicado, some in solitary confinement. without any official confirmation of their fate from the authorities to their families, ”she said.

The prosecution claims that most of those detained are charged with conspiracy to undermine national integrity and other crimes related to the implementation of cooperation funds.

UN rights chief Bachelet said attacks on free speech and on the media and journalists have intensified. She said similar patterns of repression are recorded against human rights defenders, social and political leaders, among others.

“In view of the deteriorating situation in Nicaragua, it is essential that the government once again guarantee the full enjoyment of the civil and political rights of all Nicaraguans, that it end the persecution of the opposition, the press and civil society, and that he and unconditionally release the more than 130 people detained since April 2018, according to civil society sources, ”said Bachelet.

The Nicaraguan government has consistently rebuffed criticism from the United Nations and internationally, saying it was based on misinformation from North American and European countries seeking to maintain their colonial grip on the country.