The High Level Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) concluded that in Nicaragua there is an “alteration of the constitutional order that seriously impairs the democratic order,” consequently it recommended to the Permanent Council of the organization to “immediately convene an extraordinary session of the General Assembly to review” this matter.
“From the analysis of the work carried out by the High Level Commission, the testimonies received, the contributions made by the different actors involved in the Nicaraguan process, and the reports of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), it is clear that Nicaragua is experiencing a critical human rights situation that urgently demands the attention of the Inter-American community and the world at large,” details the first conclusion of the report.
It underlines that the Commission “understands that the control and subordination mechanism” that the Government of Nicaragua has imposed on the Legislative, Judicial and Electoral powers, “make the democratic functioning of the country impossible, thus making it a co-opted state that is incompatible with the rule of law.”
Discussion on Monday
This Commission had last November 11 as the deadline for submitting its report, but it that was not done by that date for external reasons: the resignation and departure of Bolivian President Evo Morales, occupied the agency’s agenda. The Permanent Council is expected to discuss the document next Monday.
The OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, posted on Twitter: “I support the conclusions and recommendations of the report of the OAS High Level Commission on Nicaragua.”
The Ortega regime ignored the creation of the Commission—integrated by representatives of Paraguay, Jamaica, United States, Canada and Argentina—and prohibited the entry of its members to Nicaragua. Diplomats were forced to meet in El Salvador and the United States with relatives of those murdered by the Ortega massacre, released political prisoners, human rights and civil society organizations.
Based on those meetings, the Commission concluded that the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo “has shown a continuous pattern of efforts aimed at restricting the rights of its citizens, for example: constant harassment and intimidation, restriction on political rights, to freedom of the press, to freedom of expression, and to the right to personal freedom and humane treatment.”
The recommendation to call an extraordinary session of the General Assembly of the organization—in which the foreign minister from all countries would participate—is based on article 20 of the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter, which was activated this year to address the Nicaraguan crisis.
The article establishes that the Assembly will adopt “the decisions it deems appropriate, including the undertaking of diplomatic initiatives, in accordance with the Charter of the Organization, international law and the provisions of this Democratic Charter.”
“During the process, the necessary diplomatic efforts will be carried out, including good efforts to promote the normalization of democratic institutions,” the article in reference says.
Experts indicated that the realization of this Assembly does not ensure that the OAS would apply Article 21 of the Democratic Charter to the regime. This establishes the suspension of the country from the organization, when it has been verified that “the rupture of the democratic order in a member State has taken place and that diplomatic efforts have been unsuccessful.”
The suspension requires the votes of 24 countries, of the 34 that the OAS has, an amount that does not yet exist, according to diplomatic sources. Voting against the Nicaraguan regime has never surpassed the barrier of 22 votes, which is why they consider remote and unlikely that opposition nations and Almagro will venture for a vote, which leads them to insists on “diplomatic efforts.”
Return of the organizations
The Commission also recommended the return to Nicaragua of human rights defense organizations that have been expelled by the dictatorship. They particularly referred to the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (Meseni) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR).
The report adds that “it is imperative to create conditions in the country that will halt human rights violations, ensure they are not repeated, and provide the victims with justice and redress. Without that, it will be impossible to restore the peace and stability that the country and the Nicaraguan people deserve.”
To check the above, diplomats advised: the end of the repression; the restoration of human rights, including freedom of expression; free assembly and freedom of the press; and a sincere effort by all parts to return to the dialogue table.
The Commission stressed that “to reestablish the democratic system in the country, institutional reforms are indispensable and urgent, starting with a comprehensive reform of the electoral system to allow the holding of fair, free and transparent elections in the country, in accordance with Inter-American Standards.”
They recalled the agreement signed in 2017, between the Government of Nicaragua and the OAS, whose purpose was to initiate an electoral reform process. “The Commission is of the view that priority should be given to implementing this Agreement and that efforts should be made to further explore measures that will guarantee the independence of electoral authorities, that will allow for international electoral observation, and that will ensure the free and transparent registration of political parties.”