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UN Human Rights Office Denounces Continued Repression and Situation of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua

Jaime Navarrete remains imprisoned despite completing his sentence, Brooklyn Rivera still under forced disappearance, and more than 30 new arrests

Redacción Confidencial

23 de junio 2024


The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH) has denounced the ongoing human rights violations in Nicaragua and highlighted the dire situation of the 141 political prisoners, including Jaime Navarrete, who remains detained despite having completed his sentence more than a year ago.

Navarrete, 40, was detained on July 24, 2019, and three months later was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in prison plus a fine for alleged crimes of drug and illegal arms possession. He completed his sentence on January 23, 2023, but the regime’s authorities refuse to release him.

“Our office is concerned about the situation of Mr. Jaime Navarrete, a participant in the 2018 protests, who remains detained despite having already served his sentence… His physical and mental integrity is at risk,” denounced Deputy High Commissioner Nada al Nashif during an update on the country’s situation, presented to the UN Human Rights Council on June 20, 2024.

Al Nashif also highlighted the case of National Assembly Deputy and indigenous leader Brooklyn Rivera, whose detention in September 2023 “has not even been acknowledged by the authorities,” leaving his family unaware of his whereabouts.

She also mentioned the case of human rights defender Vilma Nuñez, 85, who was stripped of her Nicaraguan nationality in February 2023 and therefore has no right to her retirement pension, medical care, or the right to practice her profession as a lawyer.

“I urge the Government to immediately cease its harassment against Vilma Nuñez, restore her nationality, and return her law license,” declared Al Nashif before the UN Human Rights Council.

Thirty New Arrests Since March in Nicaragua

Since March 2024, when the last update on the human rights situation in Nicaragua was presented, OACNUDH has counted 30 new arbitrary arrests. The Deputy High Commissioner said these actions by the Ortega regime, “constitute a perverse denial of the rule of law” and continue to restrict democratic space.

“The Government continues to expand its undue restrictions on civic and democratic spaces, while deepening its control over the Judiciary and using it to implement a systematic campaign of repression,” indicated the number two of the office headed by High Commissioner Volker Türk.

Al Nashif noted that at least 23 women and 108 men remain detained in relation to the human rights crisis that began in 2018, while “illegal and arbitrary detentions, often followed by trials that do not meet the minimum guarantees of due process,” continue. (Ten of the 141 recorded political prisoners were detained before the 2018 protests.)


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In this context, she added, “political opponents, indigenous and religious leaders, academics, and intellectuals are imprisoned in inhumane conditions,” which include prolonged isolation, lack of access to medication, sanitation and hygiene products, and absence of family visits.

The Deputy High Commissioner also reiterated her office’s concern about the persecution of members and leaders of religious groups, noting that since 2019 a total of 311 evangelical associations have been dissolved in the country, eight of them in the last three months.

“Protecting civic space and rebuilding the institutions of the rule of law would be the first steps to reverse the severe erosion of civil and political rights that Nicaragua has suffered since 2018, in order to encourage genuine reconciliation and sustainable peace,” concluded Al Nashif.

Attorney General Downplays Human Rights

In her rebuttal, Nicaraguan Attorney General Wendy Morales intervened via videoconference, asserting that the authorities of her country do not accept these oral updates before the Human Rights Council, “which lack value and credibility.”

“They are nothing more than a justification to fill the agendas of these forums with the intention of making it seem as if they are genuinely concerned about Nicaragua, when in reality what they seek is to foster division, disinformation, and aggression against an entire country that is striving to move forward,” stated the Attorney General.

Morales added that the data presented by Al Nashif comes from groups “that are part of an agenda defined by falsehoods and seek to make invisible the great advances in human rights that the Nicaraguan people have achieved.”

Among these “great advances,” Morales mentioned access to health, education, and employment, disregarding the principles of universality, interdependence, indivisibility, and progressivity of human rights, by which a set of rights cannot be fully enjoyed without the others.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.