Washington DC, 13 August 2022 (TDI): The Permanent Council of Organization of American States (OAS) passed a resolution on the civil crisis in Nicaragua this Friday. The meeting was attended by members states of the OAS.

The head of the US Permanent Mission to the OAS Tom Lersten and Julissa Mantilla Falcón Commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights attended the meeting.

Jan-Michael Simon Chair of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua with Ángela Maria Buitrago a member of the group from Colombia also attended the meeting.

The participants of the meeting condemned the sentencing of political prisoners journalists, and civil society, including human rights defenders and religious actors in the country.

The Authorities of the member nations of OAS extended their full support to the people of Nicaragua seeking peaceful democratic change in their country.

Remarks Tom Lersten

The Head of the US Permanent Mission to OAS stressed that the United States has serious concerns about the undemocratic and unlawful violence of the Nicaraguan State on peaceful citizens.

He added that arresting politicians, journalists, and other members of civil society are very sad and illegal. Lestren further emphasized that the UN will take steps together with other member nations of OAS to protect the human rights and democracy of the world.

Moreover, he remarked that the United States has remained concerned about the threats to religious freedom by including Catholic clergy by Nicaraguan Government.

The United States supports the people of Nicaragua seeking peaceful democratic change in their country with all diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal.

While concluding his address Lestren pointed out that the USA is looking forward to working jointly with OAS to resolve the issue.

He added that the USA together with OAS will continue to defend the democratic aspirations of the people of Nicaragua.

Voting on Resolution

The resolution on Nicaragua’s worsening situation was tabled before the members for voting. 27 member states voted in support of the resolution while 2 states Nicaragua and Colombia were absent from the meeting.

Four member states abstained their votes including Mexico, El Salvador, Bolivia, and Honduras. No vote was given against the resolution.

Salient Features of the Resolution

Resolution was titled “ The Situation in Nicaragua”. OAS recalled Article 1 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which states about the right of American People to democracy and their governments.

Article 4 was also recalled which states freedom of expression. The Charter of the OAS that democracy is a crucial condition for the peace, stability and development of the region was also reaffirmed in the resolution.

Socio-Political, economic and human rights situation in Nicaragua- the reason because of which people of Nicaragua are leaving their country was also made part of resolution.

The irresponsible behavior of the Nicaraguan Government while ignoring the efforts of the OAS Secretary General to engage the Government in the discussion was also condemned in the resolution.

OAS showed a willingness to renew its offer of dialogue in the interest of Nicaragua and its people. Moreover, OAS condemned the forced closure of NGOs, harassment, a ban on religious organizations, and critiques of the government in Nicaragua.

The Organisation demanded the government of Nicaragua to release all political prisoners, stop harassment of independent media and ensure the freedom of expression with immediate effect.

Current Situation of Nicaragua

President Daniel Ortega has removed all checks on Presidential power since taking off office in 2007. The Electoral Council removed opposition lawmakers in 2016 and banned opposition political parties ahead of the 2021 elections.

The ruling party abolished the term limits of the National Assembly by approving a constitutional amendment in 2014.

In addition to the above, President Daniel Ortega was elected to a fourth successive term last year. To pave the way for his re-election authorities intimidated and prosecuted government critics and opposition leaders.

Moreover, to deprive the opposition and other critics of the government of the right to vote and run for office, Election-related changes and laws were approved between October 2020 and February 2021.