The IACHR Reports 212 Deaths in the Repression Unleashed by Ortega
Foreign Minister rejects the report in a display of cynicism, and only Venezuela and Bolivia support him.
The government of President Daniel Ortega is responsible for the murder of 212 people in Nicaragua after unleashing a brutal repression of the peaceful demonstrations that since April 18 have called for the end to his regime, which has ruled the country in an authoritarian manner for more than eleven years.
In its devastating final report presented this morning in Washington D.C. before the OAS, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) stated that “the repressive action of the State”, in addition to having caused the deaths of hundreds of Nicaraguans, has left at least 1,137 injured. and 507 detainees. In addition, it denounces “arbitrary uses of lethal force or the existence of extrajudicial executions”.
Ortega’s foreign minister, Denis Moncada, rejected the report and accused the IACHR of “partiality.”
The report, which demands the dismantling of the “paramilitary” groups, is a serious blow to the regime, which has denied that in Nicaragua there are paramilitary groups that spread terror among the population, attacking peaceful demonstrations and laying constant siege on cities like Masaya, as well as human rights violations, including freedom of the press.
The Government, through Foreign Minister Moncada, accused the IACHR of having a “political bias” and practically accused the victims of conspiring to destabilize “democracy” in Nicaragua.
In its report, the IACHR affirms that, in accordance with the testimonies received during the visit it made to the country in May, they saw “as another means of repression the use of snipers which appear linked with agents of the State “.
“The information received by the IACHR from members of the medical staff of public hospitals indicates that in the referred period many victims were treated with bullet wounds in the head, eyes, neck and chest, as well as in the back. The mechanics and trajectory of the shootings would indicate arbitrary uses of lethal force or the existence of extrajudicial executions, “reads the official document.
The IACHR affirms that according to the autopsies analyzed by its technicians, “the entrance holes of the projectiles, in multiple cases, were located in zones of highly lethal parts of the body, which would indicate the lethal intentionality of the shots.” In addition, the agency says it received “extensive information” and complaints on “irregularities and denial of medical care and obstruction of humanitarian work to assist injured and wounded people” during the demonstrations, an accusation by which university students hold responsible the Minister of Health, Sonia Castro.
The report also denounces a “pattern of arbitrary arrests” during peaceful protests, which left 507 people in detention, of whom 421 were young and adolescents. It is noted in the document that the arrests were made with the “arbitrary and disproportionate use of force”.
In addition, the IACHR affirms that it “notes with concern” that the mental health and emotional well-being of Nicaraguans “is being seriously affected by the current context of violence, harassment, threats and repression.”
In its detailed report, the Commission also collects the testimonies of public workers who denounced to the members of the mission that visited the country “having been coerced to participate in rallies in favor of the government under threat of being fired or being dismissed for having supported the protests.”
Respect for the dignity of public workers was one of the requirements that had already been established by the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) for the start of negotiations within the framework of the National Dialogue, in which the CEN serves as mediator. “Some workers indicated that the Government has ordered the monitoring of the social networks profiles of workers in order to report those who disseminate messages or information perceived as contrary to government interests,” the IACHR warns.
IACHR returns on Sunday
The agency said that the report presented Friday morning to the Permanent Council of the OAS, “in addition to presenting a detailed analysis of the human rights situation in Nicaragua,” will serve as the basis for the work of the International Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) that should visit Nicaragua to clarify the acts of violence that have occurred in the country since April 18. The IACHR also recommends the installation of the Special Monitoring Mechanism of Nicaragua (MESENI), which should follow up on compliance with the recommendations of this organization.
A team from the IACHR will come to the country this Sunday, June 24, while the International Group of Independent Experts will arrive on July 5.
After their May visit to the country and subsequent verification of what’s happened in Nicaragua, “the Commission concludes that the State violated the rights to life, personal integrity, health, personal freedom, assembly, freedom of expression and access to justice” and that “of special concern” are the murders, extrajudicial executions, ill-treatment, possible acts of torture and arbitrary detentions that were committed against the population, mostly young people.
“Likewise, the IACHR expresses its concern about the violation of the right to health and medical care, the reprisals against public employees for refusing to comply with orders contrary to human rights; acts of censorship and violence against the press, acts of harassment against human rights defenders, irregularities in the initiation of investigations into the murders and injuries that occurred in this context, as well as other serious facts found by the Commission.”
The IACHR reiterated the call for the cessation of repression and recalled the fifteen recommendations it presented to the Government after the publication of its preliminary observations during the visit to Nicaragua. These included, among others, to dismantle the paramilitary groups and install an independent international mechanism to investigate and clarify the brutal violence that has already left 212 dead in a country plunged into its worst political crisis of the last forty years.
After a debate in which at least eleven countries endorsed the report – Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia and the United States – and only two -Venezuela and Bolivia- supported the Ortega regime, the Permanent Council of the OAS agreed to hold a session next week to issue a resolution on the crisis in Nicaragua.