IACHR condemns harassments by state officials in Nicaragua

In a press release, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the escalation of harassment in Nicaragua against people who have been identified as dissidents, human rights defenders, and victims of human rights violations and their families. In response, the IACHR urged the State to cease these acts immediately.

The statement of the IACHR covers a wide variety of human rights violations and harassments by the government. An example of such harassments are the deployment of police teams outside people’s homes during the day. These police teams prevent people from leaving their home, while the teams at the same time monitor who leaves and enters the house. Many citizens have been suffering from these intimidations, among them Miguel Mora, director of the 100% Noticias media outlet.

The IACHR also condemned other incidents such as  the arrest of Dorlin Antonio Montenegro Muñoz on November 29, 2020. No reason was given for his arrest nor did the police have a warrant. After his arrest the houses of his family were violently raided. Furthermore the commission stated that four members of the Montenegro family were murdered in 2019, and no investigation into these events has been announced to date.

Also, a team from the Permanent Committee on Human Rights was subjected to permanent police surveillance of their facilities. three members were detained in Somoto by the local police when collecting testimonies and providing support for the family of Gerardo de Jesús Gutiérrez who was murdered on December 6, 2020, in Honduran territory. They were also mistreated, and the information they had collected on the case was confiscated, after which they were released and forced to leave Somoto for Managua under threat of arrest or legal charges.

The increase of harassments is a threat to religious freedom in the country. The Roman Catholic clergy, worshippers, and places of worship have often fallen victim to acts of violence. Reports have stated that the Nicaraguan National Police, along with progovernment groups and ruling party (Sandinista National Liberation Front) activists, routinely harassed and intimidated religious leaders and desecrated religious spaces. Catholic leaders reported physical attacks and verbal insults, death threats, and intimidation campaigns by the police and groups associated with President Ortega. Recently, the Nicaraguan Catholic Church posted that someone has been spreading hateful pictures through social media to create hatred against the Catholic church

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The Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America is a program of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation, a registered charity in Voorburg, The Netherlands under Chamber of Commerce #50264249.

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