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Nicaragua: “cease state violence and protect the people”, says WCC

Nicaragua: “cease state violence and protect the people”, says WCC

Crowds celebrate the anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution on 19 July 2011, in Managua, Nicaragua. ©Sean Hawkey

19 July 2018

The alarming number of alleged civilian casualties in Nicaragua raises “deep concern for the weakening of human rights and the fragility of the state of law”, said World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit on 19 July.

Excessive force by the paramilitary and state, apparently aimed to ‘restore order’ in the country since mid-April, when widespread protests against the government of president Daniel Ortega took off, have already led to more than 300 people dead and 1,830 injured in three months.

“We call on the government of president Daniel Ortega to cease the appalling violence and to protect the population”, said Tveit, who also described the current state repression level as “unacceptable”.

Those who publicly oppose the government’s tactics are also at risk, such as the rector of the Universidad Centroamericana de Nicaragua, Fr José Alberto Idiázquez, who has been a strong advocate for human rights and democracy.

On 17 July, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also raised concerns that Nicaragua's new anti-terrorism law could be used to criminalize protesters. "The text is very vague and allows a broad interpretation that could lead to the inclusion of people who are simply exercising their right to protest," UN spokesperson Rupert Colville said.

In a statement issued on 6 June, the ACT Alliance Nicaragua Forum called on the government of Nicaragua “to take seriously and responsibly the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the sense of ceasing repression and arbitrary arrests, respect the right to peaceful protest, and admit entry to the country of the United Nations High Command for the rapporteur of Human Rights that guarantees the right to truth and justice.”

WCC member churches in Nicaragua

Read the statement from the ACT Alliance forum Nicaragua