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  • Documents on Democracy

Nicaragua

On August 29, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report detailing the numerous human-rights violations that have been carried out by Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega’s regime since widespread protests broke out in April 2018. The OHCHR’s report is excerpted below:

Based on the findings of this report, the High Commissioner for Human Rights makes the following recommendations:

To the Government of Nicaragua:

  1. 1. Put an immediate end to harassment, intimidation, stigmatization, criminalization (including through the use of counter-terrorism legislation) and other types of reprisals in relation to participation in the protests, including against demonstrators, human rights defenders, political opponents, journalists and others.

  2. 2. Immediately dismantle and disarm pro-Government armed elements and protect the population from attacks and other illegal and violent actions from such groups.

  3. 3. Ensure that independent, impartial, effective, thorough and transparent investigations be promptly conducted into all allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses that have occurred since 18 April, especially extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary or unlawful arrests and detentions; ensure that criminal investigations comprise all those who perpetrated, directly or indirectly, ordered, supported or tolerated such acts, including the chain of command of relevant authorities. These acts should not remain without sanction.

  4. 4. Halt all unlawful arrests and release all persons who have been arbitrarily detained; ensure that the due process rights of all persons being prosecuted are respected and that any criminal charges brought against them are in line with the principles of legality, proportionality and individual liability. [End Page 181]

  5. 5. Ensure that accurate and up-to-date information on individuals deprived of their liberty and on the location of detention is publicly available; that people are promptly informed of the reasons for their arrest, have access to a lawyer of their choice, are brought promptly before a judge and are guaranteed their right to a fair trial.

  6. 6. Ensure the right to freedoms of peaceful assembly is fully respected through the proper management of public gatherings, in line with applicable international human rights norms and standards.

  7. 7. Take urgent measures to guarantee the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, refraining from any undue interference, pressure or influence.

  8. 8. Resume the National Dialogue in a meaningful and inclusive way to reach agreements based on human rights and democratic principles.

  9. 9. End and penalize public stigmatizing of those critical of the Government’s policies and actions.

  10. 10. Grant OHCHR direct and unfettered access to the whole country, including to places of detention, in accordance with the High Commissioner’s mandate and standard practices of engagement and technical cooperation with authorities and civil society. . . .

To the Human Rights Council and the broader international community:

  1. 15. Monitor the developments in Nicaragua, consider taking measures to prevent a further deterioration of the human rights situation and encourage the General Assembly to do the same. Such measures could include the creation of an International Commission of Inquiry or a hybrid (national – international) Truth Commission to ensure access to truth, justice and reparation for victims.

  2. 16. Call on Nicaragua to abide by its international human rights obligations and to fulfil its voluntary commitments and pledges, including in the context of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the Human Rights Council, and to fully cooperate with human rights bodies and mechanisms.

Ethiopia

Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned on February 15 following three years of protests and unrest during which government security forces killed more than a thousand demonstrators. On April 2, Abiy Ahmed was selected by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front to replace Hailemariam. In his inaugural address, Abiy promised democractic reforms and greater openness. His remarks are excerpted below:

We Ethiopians need democracy, freedom and liberty, and indeed we deserve it.

Democracy is not a foreign concept to us. We have democracy enshrined [End Page 182] in our traditional systems. Even during the time when democracy was not known to many societies and nations, we have governed ourselves by the Gada system and lived an exemplary life. And still now, more than any other nation in the world, we believe that democracy is a matter...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 181-185
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-17
Open Access
No
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