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Nicaragua accused of violations ‘tantamount to crimes against humanity’ by UN experts

file photo: g77+china summit opens in havana
FILE PHOTO: Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega attends the opening ceremony of the G77+China summit in Havana, Cuba, September 15, 2023

Nicaragua’s government committed human rights violations that amount to “crimes against humanity,” a United Nations-appointed team of human rights experts said in a report on Thursday.

The report called for President Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, to be “held accountable by the international community” for widespread abuses.

“Serious systematic human rights violations, tantamount to crimes against humanity, continue to be perpetrated by the Nicaraguan Government for political reasons,” the experts said in a statement.

The Nicaraguan government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report’s findings.

Ortega’s government in the past has ignored reports from the UN and the Organization of American States, which it says are part of an international campaign against it.

The UN-appointed group, formed to investigate human rights abuses in the wake of Nicaragua’s 2018 political crisis, has previously found that the government committed acts of torture, extrajudicial executions, and arbitrary detention beginning in 2018.

Although appointed by the UN, the group does not speak for the world organization.

“Nicaragua is caught in a spiral of violence marked by the persecution of all forms of political opposition, whether real or perceived, both domestically and abroad,” said Jan Simon, the chair of the group.

The experts called for an international investigation into Ortega and Murillo after identifying abuses throughout the government and police’s chains of command.

The group did not identify the army as being involved in such crimes.

Ortega, Murillo and senior government officials “must be subjected to judicial investigations for their possible responsibility in the crimes, violations and abuses described,” the document said.

According to the report, more than 935,000 Nicaraguans fled the country from the beginning of the 2018 political crisis through June 2023.

Political persecution is common in Nicaragua, and more than 300 Nicaraguans were stripped of their nationality in 2023, according to the report.

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