Nicaragua’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Rosalía Bohorquez put the Ortega regime’s intolerance of criticism on full display by furiously walking out of a session of the UNs Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Bohorquez left the podium while CEDAW Chair Ana Pelaez was in the middle of expressing her disappointment and concern over the statements the Ortega official had just read. The Nicaraguan representative described the Committee as “biased” for questioning the regime’s policies regarding the application of the international Convention.
“Nicaragua has rejected all interventionist, biased, partial, and politically motivated actions, no matter if it’s termed a report, oral update, or mandate of the Human Rights Council and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which unfortunately seek the instrumentalization of human rights to interfere in the internal affairs of Nicaragua,” accused Bohorquez during the 86th session of the Committee on October 23rd, to which the regime did not send any delegation.
The official appeared when the session had already begun, took her seat next to the Committee Chair and read the regime’s proclamation. When she finished, she gathered her things, turned her back on Pelaez and left.
Rosalia Bohorquez’ discourteous gesture was repudiated by the specialists who make up the CEDAW Committee, who then went ahead and examined reports seven, eight, nine and ten on Nicaragua’s fulfillment of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The discussion of these reports was forced to take place without any representation from the Nicaraguan government side.
Rosalia Bohorquez, Nicaragua’s permanent representative to the UN. Photo from X [formerly Twitter].
Ortega dictatorship refuses due accountability to the UN
The CEDAW is a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The CEDAW Committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world. Nicaragua has formed part of this Convention since it first entered into effect in 1981.
On four different occasions since 2021, the Committee has invited Nicaragua to present its reports but never received any response. They also requested a meeting with Bojorquez, with no success. Following multiple invitations, the Committee resolved to examine the “combined” reports, despite the absence of a State delegation, Committee Chair Pelaez stated.
Rosalia Bohorquez claimed that the comments and questions emitted by the Committee were the results of inputs “taken from certain groups” that seek to manipulate Nicaragua’s reality. “We denounce – and we won’t tire of continuing to do so – the detrimental actions of this Committee and of the slave-owning and machista countries of the West, that set out to reproduce partialized, biased and subjective information,” the official ranted.
Leticia Bonifaz, the rapporteur, expressed concern over “the way that Nicaragua describes our Committee, claiming that we’re malicious and work with partial and biased information.” She added that CEDAW’s work was based on the “contrasts [noted] in the reports that [Governments] provide.”
Bonifaz argued that the case of Nicaragua was an exceptional situation, because the last report submitted by the country was in February 2007, when Daniel Ortega assumed power. The Committee has very little information provided by the State.
Committee member Rosario Manalo from the Philippines expressed regret over “Nicaragua’s behavior. Not only today, but for the past thousands of days in which nothing has been done to protect Nicaraguan women.” She called for “the country’s expulsion from CEDAW.”
Defenders of women’s rights completely unprotected
“The advocates [in Nicaragua] are under siege,” accused Marion Bethel of the Bahamas. She stressed that over the last four years, some 7,000 acts of aggression against human rights advocates have been documented.
“The women who defend human rights, together with their families, live in fear that the Police might detain them at any moment. These aggressions against women activists include arbitrary detentions, threats, death, rape, personal harm, harm to family members, damage to property, and smear campaigns,” the specialist detailed.
Bethel demanded answers from the State of Nicaragua, specifically, about what measures it is taking to provide protection, compensation, and rehabilitation to victims of attacks, and to investigate violent attacks, and what it does when agents of the State are the ones who commit these attacks.
“According to reports, there are lists that target human rights advocates and their organizations, calling them traitors, enemies of peace, coup plotters,” she added.
The Ortega regime has arbitrarily shuttered over 3,000 NGOs and Associations since 2018. Those that defended women’s rights have been one of the groups most affected. Of these, 29% worked to promote a life free of violence; 22% focused on rural empowerment and development; 11% defended the rights of indigenous and Afro-descendant women; and 8% specifically defended sexual and reproductive rights.
Given this, the expert rebuked the Ortega regime and challenged it to explain the measures it will adopt to guarantee the political participation of women and advocacy organizations, reestablish the legality of the feminist organizations that were closed; and how it will put an end to the attacks against the life and integrity of female human rights advocates.
She also recalled that since Nicaragua’s 2018 civic rebellion, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has approved, 38 precautionary measures for defenders, which have not yet been implemented.