UN Human Rights Council: over 40 executed in Nicaragua, among other human rights abuses News
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UN Human Rights Council: over 40 executed in Nicaragua, among other human rights abuses

Following a recent report from the UN Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua, the UN Human Rights Council Thursday said the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government has executed at least 40 people and has ordered that hospitals do not treat demonstrators wounded in anti-government protests. The report at the heart of the council’s statement also described alleged human rights abuses spanning nearly all levels of Ortega’s government.

The report detailed a myriad of alleged human rights abuses, ranging from torture and arbitrary deprivation of nationality to extrajudicial executions. The human rights experts argued that the Nicaraguan government put these mechanisms in place as a deliberate means of dismantling democratic institutions in the region. Furthermore, the report claims that the government has obstructed any investigation into deaths that occurred as a result of these actions.

In the UN statement, independent expert Jan Simon explained:

The high authorities of the Government have managed to instrumentalize the Executive, Legislative, Judicial, and Electoral Branches to develop and implement a legal framework aimed at repressing the exercise of fundamental freedoms and persecuting opposing persons […] The objective is to eliminate, by different means, any opposition in the country […] The Nicaraguan population lives in fear of the actions that the Government itself may take against them.

The report also found that authorities have sought to silence opposition voices and the voices of human rights defenders in Nicaragua. This has been done through arbitrary detention, prosecution and torture. The US negotiated a release of over 200 of those opponents and human rights defenders in February. That said, because of the government’s ongoing crackdown, thousands of non-governmental organization workers, national leaders, activists, journalists, student leaders, religious figures and artists have been forced to leave the country. Similarly, the government has shut down over 3,144 civil society organizations. Almost all of the media and human rights organizations tackling these issues have been forced to operate from outside of Nicaragua.

The UN first established the independent group responsible for the report in 2022, but the group’s examination of Nicaragua’s alleged human rights violations and abuses dates back to April 2018. Ortega’s administration has cracked down on political opposition like that presented by the released political prisoners since at least 2018. Since then, international criticism has only increased. Following Ortega’s 2021 reelection, in which he claimed to have won 75 percent of the vote, the EUUS, UK and General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the election as a “sham.” Ortega has maintained there was no wrongdoing.