IACHR EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER SITUATION IN NICARAGUA
Washington, D.C., November 25, 2008 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern over the acts of violence that have taken place in recent weeks in Nicaragua.
According to the information received, persons armed with sticks, stones, machetes and homemade mortars participated in street confrontations that took place following the November 8 municipal elections, leaving several people injured.
The IACHR recalls that it is the obligation of the State to guarantee public security and respect for human rights, as well as to thoroughly investigate the facts and punish those responsible. The Inter-American Commission calls on the judicial authorities to urgently launch independent and impartial investigations to clarify the facts, identify and punish those responsible, and make reparations to the victims for moral and material damages. The IACHR also urges the State of Nicaragua adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the rights of persons under its jurisdiction, through effective and reasonable prevention mechanisms.
The IACHR likewise expresses its concern about statements by a high-level government official that could have an intimidating effect on Nicaraguan civil society organizations and the communications media. Statements of this tenor can adversely affect the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the work of human rights defenders. The Commission reiterates that States must help to ensure the necessary conditions so that human rights organizations and members of the media can carry out their work without restrictions.
In order to follow these and other human rights situations in Nicaragua, the Commission asked the State to consent to a visit by the Rapporteur for that country. The IACHR believes that conducting such a visit will help to strengthen human rights in Nicaragua.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States, the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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