Author: Lisa Haugaard
Washington, D.C.—The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) laments a series of actions taken by the Nicaraguan government in recent days to limit the space for civil society organizations and international monitoring. The decision to expel the MESENI and the GIEI, international monitoring efforts intended to address the human rights crisis, is profoundly disheartening. LAWG also denounces the decision of the Nicaraguan National Assembly to cancel the legal status of CENIDH, a widely-respected human rights organization with twenty-eight years of defending rights in the country. The offices of CENIDH were searched and then taken over by the Nicaraguan police. Several other nongovernmental organizations had their legal status revoked.
Especially at this moment of crisis, Nicaragua needs human rights organizations and other civil society organizations like CENIDH to be able to operate freely to defend the rights of all Nicaraguans. LAWG stands by CENIDH director Vilma Nunez and its staff as well as other human rights defenders in Nicaragua. Nicaragua, like several other countries in Central America, also needs to permit international monitoring efforts to help address its crisis. We urge the Nicaraguan government to allow the international monitoring efforts represented by MESENI and GIEL to continue their efforts, to restore CENIDH’s legal status immediately and to allow all human rights organizations legitimately defending rights to operate independently and with full freedoms.