International pressure mounts on Nicaragua over human rights violations

International pressure is mounting on Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega over a recent rise in human rights violations.

The Organization of American State’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued the Persons Deprived of Liberty in Nicaragua report on Wednesday.

The IACHR also requested that the Inter-American Court adopt provisional measures to protect Juan Sebastián Chamorro, José Adán Aguerri, Félix Maradiaga, and Violeta Granera “due to extreme risk” in Nicaragua.

FILE – In this June 11, 2019 file photo, Nicaraguan journalist Miguel Mora speaks to the press after his release from prison, at his home in Managua, Nicaragua. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuiga, File) (Alfredo Zuñiga/)

Ortega’s administration has detained five of the presumed presidential candidates and at least 20 opposition leaders, including human rights defenders and journalists, in just a span of 20 days.

Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization, released the Critics Under Attack report on Tuesday.

HRW argued the detentions are part of a broader strategy by Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, the country’s vice-president, ahead of the November presidential elections.

The U.S. Senate moved a step closer toward increasing targeted sanctions when the Foreign Relations Committee approved the Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act, also known as the RENACER bill.

Sen. Bob Menendez, who introduced the bill to the Senate in March, said the U.S. needs to work with Canada and the European Union to find a solution.

“The RENACER Act recognizes the need for the U.S. government to send a clear message to the Ortega regime, which is unleashing authoritarianism in a way we have not witnessed in our hemisphere for decades,” Menendez said.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights discussed Nicaragua’s lack of accountability for serious human rights violations since 2017. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Ortega to change his course of action, free all arrested, ensure free elections, and remove restrictive legislation.

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