Geneva-A report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council slammed the Nicaraguan government’s severe suppression of opposition leaders before the November 7 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Critics accuse Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of systematically getting rid of viable opposition candidates to ensure a fourth consecutive national presidential term.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet said in the latest news to the Council that the Nicaraguan authorities are increasingly restricting people’s voting rights and are undermining free and fair elections. She said Nicaraguans should be able to exercise their right to vote without intimidation, violence or administrative interference.
Her report documents the arbitrary detention of 16 people between June 22 and September 6. They include political leaders, human rights defenders, businessmen, journalists, and farmers and student leaders.
She said the arrests were in addition to 20 other government opponents detained since May 28. She spoke through an interpreter.
“This group includes six men and one woman. They publicly stated that they aspire to be president…Most of these people are still deprived of their liberty for up to 90 days. Any official confirmation of their whereabouts is quarantined from the authorities to their families,” she said.
The prosecutor’s office stated that most of the detainees were accused of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and other crimes related to the implementation of the cooperation fund.
Bachelet, the head of UN human rights affairs, said that attacks on freedom of speech and the media and journalists have intensified. She said that similar patterns of repression against human rights defenders, social and political leaders, etc. are being registered.
“In view of the deteriorating situation in Nicaragua, the government must once again ensure that all Nicaraguans fully enjoy civil and political rights, end the persecution of the opposition, the press and civil society, and immediately, according to civil society sources, have unconditionally released since April 2018. More than 130 people have been detained since the beginning of the month,” Bachelet said.
The Nicaraguan government has been ignoring United Nations and international criticism, claiming it is based on false information that North American and European countries seek to maintain colonial control of the country.