According to Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the situation was particularly alarming this week with reports that at least 16 people were killed – many allegedly shot by police and armed pro-Government groups.
“We urge the Nicaraguan authorities to carry out effective, prompt, independent, impartial and transparent investigations into all allegations of serious human rights violations that have occurred in the last few weeks,” Ms. Throssell said at a regular news briefing in Geneva on Friday.
“It is essential that those responsible for such serious human rights violations are held to account, and that victims and their relatives are accorded effective remedy, including equal and effective access to justice.”
There are also reports that, in the early hours of 30 May, the Nicaraguan army arrested and detained six human rights defenders near the country’s border with Costa Rica. Furthermore, journalists, students, and members of the Catholic Church and other groups have reportedly been subjected to death threats, violence and intimidation.
Calling for the prompt release the arrested human rights defenders, Ms. Throssell urged the Government to “publicly express” its support and respect for the work of rights defenders and to give clear instructions to the relevant authorities to prevent further aggression and intimidation.
She also underscored the need for the authorities to guarantee all legal safeguards, including access to lawyers, as well as to respect the absolute prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.
The spokesperson also reiterated OHCHR’s request to the to the Nicaraguan authorities to grant it immediate access to the country so that it can, in line with its mandate, gather first-hand information about what happened during the protests and promote concrete actions to prevent further human rights violations.