IACHR rejects Nicaraguan law that limits political rights

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has rejected the approval of the Act to Defend the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination for Peace, which was accepted the National Assembly of Nicaragua. It also urged the state of Nicaragua to repeal the law.

The law will prevent Nicaraguans from running for elected office if they have, in the opinion of the authorities, “led or financed a coup d’état,” “promoted terrorist acts,” “incited foreign interference in internal affairs,” “organized and implemented acts of terrorism and destabilization with financing from foreign powers,” or “welcomed and applauded sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens,” among others.

The IACHR states that the law is in conflict with article 23 of the American Convention on Human Rights, which ensures that all citizens have the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs directly or through freely chosen representatives, to vote and be elected through genuine periodic elections held through equal, universal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees that voters can freely express their will; and to be eligible for public office in their country. These rights must also be guaranteed by the State under equal conditions. The IACHR is afraid that the new law will limit the democratic and political rights of Nicaraguan citizens. It is also fears that the law will be used to repress dissidents of the current government.

The law is a threat to religious freedom in Nicaragua. The Catholic church has on multiple occasions become target of attacks and harassments by the national police and progovernment groups that support the president, Daniel Ortega. This law could potentially lead to the exclusion of religious groups in Nicaraguan politics, if the government finds reason to do so.

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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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