Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

Moises Omar Halleslevens Acevedo NicaraguaThis article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

MEPs condemned the brutal repression and intimidation of peaceful protesters in Nicaragua, and called for credible elections there, in a vote on Thursday.

In a non-legislative resolution, MEPs denounce the decline in democracy and the rule of law in Nicaragua over the last decade, as well as increased corruption, often involving relatives of President Daniel Ortega.

The text, passed by 536 votes to 39, with 53 abstentions, notes that the EU-Central America Association Agreement states the need to respect the rule of law, democracy and human rights and asks the EU to assess possible measures. It also warns against the “serious political, economic and investment consequences” that might follow the breaches of human rights.

Parliament stresses that the repression perpetrated by the Nicaraguan authorities, armed forces, police and violent groups close to the government against peaceful protestors opposing the social security reform has cost the lives of 84 people since mid-April, with more than 860 injured and over 400 arrested. It calls on Managua to immediately allow an international, independent and transparent investigation to prosecute those responsible.

The resolution underlines that Mr Ortega, who has been President since 2007 and was, elected three times in succession, has remained in power thanks to the unlawful removal of the term limits enshrined in the Constitution, “in clear breach of the right to democratic elections”. The European Parliament demands an electoral reform that results in fair, transparent and credible elections that respect international standards.

MEPs urge the Nicaraguan authorities to “set the stage for all opposing sides to discuss the situation” in the country. They underline that the full participation of the opposition, the depolarisation of the judiciary, an end to impunity and the plurality of the media are essential factors in restoring democratic order to the country.

They deplore violations of media freedom, both before and during the protests, and call on the government to restore full media freedom and freedom of speech and to end harassment of journalists.

Finally, the resolution stresses the urgent need to fight rampant corruption within Nicaragua’s political circles and expresses concern about the links between President Ortega and other conflicts in the region.

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