Nicaragua has expelled a United Nations (UN) team investigating the alleged human rights violations in the country after it published a report accusing the government of brutally suppressing protests.
The UN team has confirmed the expulsion, adding that it would continue monitoring the situation from outside the country.
In its report, the UN has urged the government to disband its masked gunmen operating as policemen on the streets and not to take brutal steps to silence dissent. The use of ‘armed elements’ violates international human rights law, the report states.
“We put forward the report not to polarize, but rather to make known what we had seen,” said Guillermo Fernandez Maldonado, Chief of the UN’s human rights mission in Nicaragua, during a press conference Friday.
“This has had a lot of media coverage and we did not expect the government’s reaction in this sense. We only did our job.”
More than 300 people have been killed in the violence, which was triggered by the government’s plan to make cuts to the social security system. Aware of the danger, the government quickly shelved the plans, but the protests went on.
The pro-government armed men, according to the UN, operated with impunity to break the protests. There has been a decrease in the number of protests recently, but it “indicates the chilling effect of repression”, says the UN.
“The violence and repression seen in Nicaragua since demonstrations began in April are products of the systematic erosion of human rights over the years, and highlight the overall fragility of institutions and the rule of law,” says Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
For more stories on the impact of Nicaragua’s protests on BPO, check out the following links.