The non-governmental organization Permanent Commission of Human Rights (CPDH) denounced on Tuesday that the Government of Nicaragua ordered the National Assembly to close it down to prevent it from documenting the alleged abuses of authority.
“The government does not want any human rights organizations that document the abuses that are committed in this country,” pointed out the CPDH’s Executive Secretary, Marcos Carmona, at a press conference.
Carmona said the CPDH was the last organization that promotes and defends human rights legally in Nicaragua, since from December 2018 the Government has stripped several similar NGOs of their legal status, including the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH).
In Nicaragua, with the vote of the Sandinista deputies and their allies, the Ortega-Murillo regime has cancelled, since November 2018, the legal status of 168 civil society organizations, foundations and associations that promoted social, political and economic development, human rights, democracy, environmentalists, feminists, indigenous, education and health in Nicaragua, according to a recount carried out by Confidencial.
Among the reasons used to cancel them is the non-compliance with three laws: the Law on Non-Profit Legal Entities; the Organic Law of the Legislative Branch, and the Law against Money Laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Ortega has also cancelled the status of four US and six European NGOs, with many years of contributing in Nicaragua.
In addition, in 2018 it unilaterally ended the mission of a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and another from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Carmona maintained that, with the decision of the Nicaraguan Government, “they are not only affecting the institution as such, but they are also hurting the people of Nicaragua, because in some way it was the only institution that still existed (legally) to document the arbitrariness and abuses committed by the different State powers and by different officials. The CPDH was founded 45 years ago.
According to the Executive’s request, routinely approved by the National Assembly on April 20th, the CPDH and the other 24 NGOs failed to comply with their legal obligations, such as not registering as “foreign agents,” or not delivering their financial statements with their detailed breakdowns of income, expenses, balance of verification, and details of donations, nor their board of directors.
The CPDH representative recalled that the organization had tried to deliver such documents to the Ministry of the Interior and that the Ministry refused to receive them. That game has been played for the last four years with all the NGOs and associations the regime considers undesirable.
On March 1, the CPDH had already publicly denounced that the Government of Nicaragua wanted to “outlaw it,” because it refused to receive its documentation. Several of its staff had already fled to exile to avoid an arbitrary arrest.
Carmona described the government’s decision as “painful,” especially one day after the CPDH celebrated its 45th anniversary. He said he did not understand that the NGO is being closed by the same Sandinista deputies it defended in past decades.
The human rights defender added that by law the CPDH’s assets will pass into government hands, but affirmed that the information of the cases of opponents they defended are safe in digital files.
Since April 2018 Nicaragua experiences a socio-political crisis that was accentuated in last November’s elections, when Ortega elected himself for a fifth term, fourth consecutive, and second together with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as Vice President. In the months prior to the election all of his potential main contenders were imprisoned, where they still remain today.
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