Over 700 civil society organizations were shut down in Nicaragua, according to rights experts

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Over 700 civil society organizations were shut down in Nicaragua, according to rights experts

Source : AUN News

The 16 UN experts affirmed in a statement delivered to the Nicaraguan government on Monday that the action “represents a clear pattern of restricting civic space.”

The UN experts repeated a statement made about the crackdown earlier this year by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

They expressed dismay at the number of closures the National Assembly undertook at the Government’s request—more than 700, including 487 only in the previous month.

Laws against money laundering and counterterrorism are being abused, according to UN experts

Breaking the law:

Although there has been less space for non-governmental organizations to operate since political demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega’s administration started in 2018, the recent implementation of a 2020 Law on Foreign Agents and a 2022 Law on Regulation and Control of Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) has sped up closures.

The experts expressed their concerns and gave legal analyses prior to the NPO Law’s implementation in May.

The law, in particular, enforces onerous administrative and registration processes, the publication of beneficiary information, and severely limits foreign funding.

The experts have yet to hear back from anyone on their worries.

The experts lamented a global trend, saying, “We regret to see that, once again, counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering legislation is being utilized to unduly and disproportionately restrict the activities of civil society and fundamental freedoms.”

Abolition of rights

They claimed that the closures had a significant impact on not only human rights organizations but also those that support democratic ideals and try to mitigate the consequences of climate change, including those that advocate for the rights of women and indigenous people.

Additionally impacted by the change are organizations that offer medical and humanitarian relief, as well as educational, cultural, and artistic organizations and religious foundations.

For marginalized individuals and groups, such as rural and indigenous communities, children and teenagers, women, migrants, and asylum seekers, who depend on those services for their existence, the scenario will have even more severe effects, according to the experts.

Activists sent abroad

The UN experts voiced worry about the deterrent impact that these shutdowns have on civil society, noting that hundreds of activists have already left the country and sought safety in neighboring States out of fear of retaliation.

The experts urged the State to refrain from any additional closures and to quickly lift these onerous limitations on associations.

“Any democratic nation must have a functioning, well-established, and diverse civic and political space.”

The UN Human Rights Council, which has its headquarters in Geneva, appoints independent experts and special rapporteurs to investigate and provide a report on a particular country’s or theme-related human rights situation. The specialists have honorary status and are not compensated for their services.

Analysis by : Advocacy Unified Network

 

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