The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, yesterday urged the Nicaraguan government to cease the “persecution” against the opposition, the press and civil society, which is increasing as the elections for the November 7. He also expressed concern about the human rights situation in Venezuela and Afghanistan.
“It is imperative that the government (of Nicaragua) once again guarantee the full exercise of civil and political rights for all Nicaraguans; that the persecution against the opposition, the press and civil society cease, ”Bachelet stressed at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The former Chilean president also called on the government of President Daniel Ortega to “immediately and unconditionally release more than 130 people detained” since the demonstrations that broke out in April 2018, which left more than 300 dead.
Bachelet pointed out that “attacks on freedom of expression have intensified,” which has led several journalists to leave Nicaragua “to seek protection.” “My office has documented 12 cases, while civil society sources have recorded more than 30,” he said.
Ortega, 75, in power since 2007, is running for a fourth successive term with no rivals to jeopardize his purpose.
A total of 36 opponents and critics of the government have been detained between June and August, including seven candidates for the presidency.
Bachelet pointed out that the electoral court “arbitrarily” disqualified the Citizens for Freedom party, which led an opposition alliance against Ortega’s re-election; as well as the closure of NGOs, several of them international, and threats against indigenous leaders.
In this context, the Prosecutor’s Office accused and asked last Thursday to arrest the Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez, accusing him of acts that “incite hatred” and “conspire” against sovereignty, which he, who is in Madrid, denounces as “ persecution ”of a“ dictatorship ”.
“I urge this Council to consider all the measures at its disposal to promote and protect human rights in Nicaragua,” insisted Bachelet, demanding that “serious human rights violations” not remain in “impunity” in that country.
BULLYING IN VENEZUELA
In this context, Bachelet also denounced the “intimidation and criminalization” of activists in Venezuela, which was rejected by the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
“I am concerned about the additional restrictions and the continuous reports of intimidation and criminalization of human rights defenders and union leaders for their legitimate activities,” said the former Chilean president in a report on the situation in the South American country.
Bachelet reiterated a “call for the full release of all arbitrarily detained persons” and highlighted that “152 detainees have been released since June 2020” through cooperation mechanisms with his office, which has been present in Venezuela for two years.
“I welcome the acquittal of Braulio Jatar,” he added in relation to the Chilean-Venezuelan journalist arrested in 2016 in a climate of protests against the government and acquitted of alleged laundering crimes.
A total of 262 people are detained for political reasons in Venezuela, according to Foro Penal, an NGO that defends human rights.
Bachelet also denounced the “criminalization” of activists in Venezuela
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry rejected “the false assertions of the report on alleged arbitrary detentions or persecutions” and said that it will continue to cooperate with the UN Office for Human Rights, “based on respect for the truth and the principles of objectivity, non-selectivity , impartiality, non-interference in internal affairs and constructive dialogue ”.
Bachelet indicated that the presence of his mission will extend another year after the renewal of the Letter of Understanding with the government. He welcomed “the efforts made by the government to face the challenges posed by the pandemic,” which in his opinion aggravated the humanitarian crisis in the country along with the economic sanctions, which he asked to lift.
He also assured that he trusts that the process of dialogue held in Mexico by the Maduro government and the opposition “can lead to meaningful solutions and translate into greater progress in the protection of human rights.”
DISAPPOINTMENT WITH AFGHANISTAN
On the other hand, she was “disappointed” by the lack of diversity of the Taliban government in Afghanistan and “concerned” about the treatment of women and dissent.
All members of the government led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, a close collaborator of the founder of the Taliban movement, Mullah Omar who died in 2013, are Pashtun Taliban, the largest ethnic group in the country.
The official also expressed concern that “contrary to the Taliban’s commitments to uphold women’s rights, these last three weeks women have been progressively excluded from the public sphere.”
Bachelet also denounced the “door-to-door” search of members of the former government, of the military or of people who worked for the foreign forces present in the country, and of the threats and intimidation attempts against NGOs and UN employees. (AFP)