Nicaragua must end ‘witch-hunt’ against dissenting voices
International

Nicaragua must end ‘witch-hunt’ against dissenting voices

United Nations, Aug 10: Following weeks of civil unrest in Nicaragua, a group of 11 UN independent human rights experts has urged the Government to stop the violent repression of protestors, which has left at least 317 people dead and 1,830 injured, stressing that "no one should be detained for the exercise of their human rights”.

“We are appalled that many human rights defenders, journalists and other opposition voices are being criminalised and accused of unfounded and overly punitive charges such as ’terrorism’,” the UN experts on Thursday said, warning that this is “creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among different communities and among civil society representatives in the country.”

Street protests against social security reforms began in April and were immediately violently suppressed by security forces and groups affiliated with the governing party.

One hundred days later, the protests have “decreased in number and intensity following the removal of roadblocks by the Government” according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), but the UN experts said that dissident voices - ranging from rural community leaders and students, to journalists and Catholic Church leaders – are still being subjected to intimidation, threats, collective detention.

“We deplore what appears to be a smear campaign aimed at discrediting or vilifying human rights defenders as ‘terrorists’ and ‘coup-mongers’, and apparent attempts to undermine the opposition,” the human rights experts’ statement read. (UNI)