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Honourable Vice-President, Honourable Members,
Since the last time we discussed Nicaragua in this Parliament last December the situation in the country has not improved. Against a renewed pattern of persecution, harassment and intimidation, the European Union is following the possible adoption of the “Law of Regulation of Foreign Agents” and the Special Law on Cybercrimes which could be used to further tighten further the grip over civil society in Nicaragua.
The draft Foreign Agents Law in particular could be used to impose further restrictions on civil and political rights on individuals, civil society and on media outlets. It will also probably affect our cooperation programmes as well as Nicaragua’s human rights obligations and commitments.
Since the beginning, we have followed with utmost attention the tabling of the draft Foreign Agents Law. On Tuesday, our Head of Delegation in Managua, accompanied by all EU Member States present in the country, reached out to the Nicaraguan authorities in Managua, at Minister of Foreign Affairs level, to voice our concerns and find out more about the draft text, as well as to share our preoccupation on how the law would affect international human rights law and civil liberties in Nicaragua.
The European Union has consistently voiced concerns against laws labelling NGOs as "foreign agents" all over the world. Nicaraguan citizens should be able to exercise their freedom of association effectively and non-governmental organisations should operate in an environment conductive to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Civil society should operate free from hindrance and insecurity.
Civil society organisations are essential actors for the promotion of human rights, good governance, democracy and the rule of law. The European Union commends and expresses its support for all individuals and organisations in Nicaragua who are still carrying out their legitimate and peaceful human rights work despite the challenging circumstances in which they operate.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-195731