The deterioration of democracy and human rights in Nicaragua, including the repression of political opponents, demonstrators, journalists and civil society, continues.
Recent legislation, such as the adoption of the Foreign Agents Registration Law and the Special Law on Cybercrime, as well as the ongoing process of constitutional reform to introduce life prison sentences for imprecisely defined “hate crimes”, tighten restrictions on civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms. Moreover, the “law for the rights of the people to independence, Sovereignty and self-determination for Peace” that aims at preventing opposition candidacies is yet another step in the intimidation of the Nicaraguan people, moving the county further away from rule of law.
The EU expects the Nicaraguan authorities to align its legislation, ensure implementation with international human rights obligations and to promote the role of civil society so that non-governmental organisations and opposition movements can operate freely. Nicaraguan citizens should be able to exercise their freedoms of expression and association effectively.
The three areas in which the EU expects tangible progress are: the implementation in full of the 27 and 29 March 2019 agreements between the government and the civic opposition; the full cooperation with and the return of international human rights bodies to Nicaragua, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); and an agreement on electoral and institutional reforms between the government and the opposition aimed at guaranteeing fair and transparent elections.
The EU supports an urgent and inclusive dialogue on electoral reforms with the Nicaraguan opposition as an essential step to restore trust. The recommendations of the 2011 EU Electoral Observation Mission are still valid. The EU continues to stand ready to constructively engage and work together with the Government of Nicaragua towards a peaceful and democratic way out of the crisis.