GENEVA – A report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council has criticized the Nicaraguan government’s harsh crackdown on opposition leaders ahead of the November 7 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Critics accused Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of systematically getting rid of viable opposition candidates to secure a fourth consecutive term as the country’s president.
In her latest update to the council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said that growing restrictions on people’s right to vote by Nicaraguan authorities are undermining free and fair elections. It said Nicaraguans should be able to exercise their franchise without any threat, violence or administrative interference.
Their report documents the arbitrary detention of 16 people between June 22 and September 6. These include political leaders, human rights defenders, businessmen, journalists, as well as farmers and student leaders.
It said these arrests are in addition to 20 other government opponents who have been detained since May 28. He spoke through an interpreter.
“This group consists of six men and one woman, who have publicly stated that they were aspiring for the presidency … Most of these people are deprived of their freedom and have been so for 90 days, kept incommunicado Some are in isolation without any official confirmation from the authorities about their whereabouts to their families,” she said.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office says most of those detained are charged with conspiracy to undermine national integrity and other offenses related to the implementation of the Cooperation Fund.
UN rights chief Bachelet said attacks on freedom of expression and against the media and journalists have intensified. He said similar patterns of repression are being registered against human rights defenders, social and political leaders, among others.
“Given this deteriorating situation in Nicaragua, it is essential that the government once again guarantees the full enjoyment of all Nicaraguan civil and political rights, that they end the oppression of the opposition, the press and civil society, and that they immediately And as per civil society sources, unconditionally release more than 130 people detained since April 2018,” Bachelet said.
The Nicaraguan government has consistently rejected UN and international criticism, claiming it is based on propaganda from North American and European countries seeking to maintain their colonial hold on the country.