Discrimination in employment took many forms. Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, invited Leiva to present the situation in Nicaragua this month, in the context of protests and unrest that, according to the ANPDH, have caused 481 deaths, almost 2,000 wounded and more than 1,200 illegal detentions, kidnappings, forced disappearances and political imprisonments. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Human rights organizations reported police stopped traffic for and otherwise protected progovernment demonstrations. The court never ruled on this case, nor on a similar one regarding the 2014 constitution. Nevertheless, women often experienced discrimination in employment, obtaining credit, and receiving equal pay for similar work, as well as in owning and managing businesses. Their combination, evolution, and interaction with key stakeholders will determine scenarios for either further deterioration or for positive change. Compulsory overtime was reported in the private security sector, where guards often were required to work excessive shifts without relief. Section 1. Several sources highlighted similar instances of public-sector employees being fired without receiving severance pay. The government did not cite the law publicly in specific cases. There were no known high-profile documented instances of strikes being declared illegal. Women’s rights organizations believed the court system continued to operate under unofficial orders to forgo jail time or pretrial detention in domestic violence cases. The law prohibits such actions. The government did not effectively enforce criminal penalties for corruption, allowing officials to engage in corrupt practices with impunity. Due to overcrowding, pretrial detainees often shared cells with convicted prisoners and juveniles shared cells with adults. Human rights groups and independent media also reported the failure to approve or deny Law 200 resulted in uncertainty surrounding the purchase and import of goods related to broadcasting. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly.The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. In March the army issued a point-by-point rebuttal in these cases and other unrelated cases. Government efforts were insufficient to combat child abuse and sexual violence against minors. On September 20, the government rejected 124 of the 259 recommendations made during the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review. In many cases students who went into exile could not continue their studies abroad without their records. Members of the judiciary, including those at senior levels, were widely believed to be corrupt or subject to political pressure. On December 2, Judge Adalberto Zeledon announced the trial of the 16 would begin on January 30, 2020. In several instances protesters protected by IACHR precautionary measures were detained or continued to be harassed by progovernment supporters. The government sought to foster resolution of labor conflicts through informal negotiations rather than formal administrative or judicial processes. Workers who disagreed with government recommendations were fired, and only those with a membership card of the ruling party were hired. OSH standards did not deter violations in the formal sector because they were infrequently enforced. There were government restrictions on academic freedom, and many students, academics, and researchers reported pressure to censor themselves. There were reports FSLN party dues were automatically deducted from paychecks. Defendants have the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense, but judges commonly failed to grant counsel’s access to the defendant. Public hospitals under the purview of the Ministry of Health denied or obstructed medical care for wounded protesters. In its September 3 report, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) included various accounts of torture, particularly of protesters in police custody, particularly in the La Modelo and La Esperanza prisons located in Tipitapa. The government allowed the OHCHR into the country in June, after months of refusing its requests for an invitation. Aid to the Church in Need. In several instances protesters protected by IACHR precautionary measures were detained or continued to be harassed by progovernment supporters. The law prohibits teenage domestic workers from sleeping in the houses of their employers. In many cases legal counsels of the defendants received death threats, which caused some to resign. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data/reported-cases.html. Still, Nicaragua is far from safe: In reporting about the siege at the church, I was assaulted two days in a row. The law also prohibits child pornography, and the government generally enforced it. The law provides for freedom of association, including the right to organize or affiliate with political parties; nevertheless, the Supreme Electoral Council and National Assembly used their accreditation powers for political purposes. After an in-country visit in May, the IACHR released a report concluding that Nicaraguan authorities had perpetrated widespread abuses in responding to anti-government protests that were not isolated actions by rogue agents. Nicaragua prohibits abortion in all circumstances, even if a pregnancy is life-threatening or resulted from rape or incest. Discrimination: The law provides for gender equality. Complaints continued regarding the lack of accessible public transportation in Managua. The Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights was perceived as politicized and ineffective. In several instances related to prodemocracy protests, defendants were not allowed to name their legal counsel, and the court appointed a public defendant, which family members of the accused and human rights organizations claimed was detrimental to the defendant’s case. Increased government restrictions on domestic NGOs’ ability to receive funding directly from international donors seriously hindered the NGOs’ ability to operate. The Nicaraguan Pro-Human Rights Association continued to operate from forced exile in Costa Rica and focused more on the Nicaraguan exile community. But given Nicaragua’s current political situation, “the small budget for conservation is not being used for that,” said another source who requested anonymity for safety reasons. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from: a. The criminal code lists a number of crimes that may be tried by a judge without a jury and that would not qualify for bail or house arrest during the duration of the trial. The detentions generally lasted between two days and a week. While the majority of protesters were peaceful, some turned violent as they responded to NNP and parapolice provocations and use of force by throwing stones and employing homemade mortars and weapons to defend their positions. Human rights defenders and other critics of the government’s human rights record have increasingly become the targets of death threats, intimidation, online defamation campaigns, harassment, surveillance, assault, and judicial persecution. Tue 19 Nov 2019 11.59 EST ... the situation at the Managua Cathedral, where a pro-government mob broke in on Monday to try to dislodge hunger strikers demanding the release of political … “Between August 2018 and July 2019, human rights violations continued to occur in Nicaragua,” Ms. Bachelet told the Human Rights Council. Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. These failures were exacerbated by the social upheaval in 2018, in which groups of persons, including members of the FSLN, illegally took over privately owned lands, with implicit and explicit support by municipal and national officials. Independent media, human rights groups, and opposition parties reported the government used public funds to provide subsidized food, housing, vaccinations, access to clinics, and other benefits directly through either FSLN-led “family cabinets” (community-based bodies that administer government social programs) or party-controlled Sandinista leadership committee (CLS) systems, which reportedly coerced citizens into FSLN membership while denying services to opposition members. Burdensome and lengthy conciliation procedures impeded workers’ ability to call strikes. Domestic NGOs under government investigation reported problems accessing the justice system and delays in filing petitions, as well as pressure from state authorities. The government repeatedly denied broadcasting licenses and other permits for independent media. No laws specifically criminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults. UNHCR; Published 12 Dec 2019. Radio station staff stated that unknown perpetrators carried out the attack with knowledge of where the sabotage could do the most damage. Party affiliation or letters of recommendation from party secretaries, family cabinet coordinators, or other party officials were allegedly required from applicants seeking public-sector jobs. In 2018 authorities similarly fired more than 40 public university staff, who also claimed that firings were in retaliation for expressing support for protests or in favor of university students participating in protests. The pandemic will put pressure on incumbent governments and will risk an erosion of democratic principles. Local civil registries register births within 12 months, although many persons, especially in rural areas, lacked birth certificates. Members of civil society and student leaders involved in the protests that began in April 2018 were more likely than members of other groups to be subjected to such treatment. The government strictly controlled the entry of persons affiliated with some groups, specifically humanitarian and faith-based organizations. 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nicaragua, An official website of the United States government, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/resources/reports/child-labor/findings, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods. Statement of the OAS General Secretariat on the Situation in Nicaragua, November 17, 2019. This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Some NGOs reported government intimidation that created a climate of fear intended to suppress criticism. National Security: Human rights NGOs and civil society organizations argued the Sovereign Security Law was a basis for the government’s failure to respect civil liberties. Authorities and armed pro-government groups harassed, threatened, intimidated, attacked, robbed, and confiscated equipment from journalists and bloggers who reported on the protests. During the crackdown, the Nicaraguan Health Ministry authorities fired at least 135 doctors, nurses, and other health workers from several public hospitals in apparent retaliation for participating in protests or otherwise expressing disagreement with government policy. By late November 2018, the ensuing conflict had left at least 325 persons dead; more than 2,000 injured; hundreds illegally detained, tortured, and disappeared; and more than 80,000 exiled in neighboring countries. The FSLN also made party membership mandatory for an increasing number of public-sector employees. The government continued to expand the reach of its Financial Analysis Unit through an amendment to its authorizing law passed on August 19 that obligates lawyers, notaries, and accountants to inform the unit of suspicious activities performed by their clients or employers, a move observers characterized as an overreach of authority for political persecution. NGOs also reported government hostility or aggression when questioning or speaking with officials on subjects such as corruption and the rule of law. LGBTI organizations complained that sexual orientation and gender identity continued to be a basis for discriminatory behavior. Legal penalties for persons employing children in dangerous work were sufficient to deter violations. These actions were widespread in the large cities, particularly Managua, Matagalpa, Esteli, Masaya, Rivas, Leon, and Jinotega. “In Nicaragua, simply existing as a person carries a risk.” Like in other Central American countries, most families in Nicaragua have at least one member who has migrated in search of better opportunities. The Regulations came into force on 21 June, 2019. Daniel Darrin, ACE Executive Director, said , “Our hearts go out to the entire country, but as Executive Director, I must see to the safety of our staff, consulting contractors and the international jury.” In August, for example, police detained Emilia Mello, a Brazilian-American documentary filmmaker in Carazo, confiscated her equipment, interrogated her for several hours, and deported her the next day. Section 2. Many NGOs believed comptroller and tax authorities audited their accounts as a means of intimidation. Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/. Human rights groups and campesino advocates documented 20 to 30 killings of campesinos between October 2018 and August in and around the departments of Jinotega and Nueva Segovia. Police, in coordination with armed pro-government groups, brutally repressed them, killing hundreds, and injuring several thousand. The Ministry of Labor is the primary enforcement agency, but the government did not allocate adequate staff or other measures to enable the Office of Hygiene and Occupational Safety to enforce occupational safety and health (OSH) provisions. Reliable data on the breadth of such discrimination was not available. Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, and those convicted face one- to three-year sentences in prison, or three to five years if the victim is younger than 18. Parapolice attacked Roman Catholic churches throughout the year during masses in commemoration of protesters killed during the April 2018 prodemocracy uprising. In certain instances the government restricted prisoners’ access to visitors, attorneys, and physicians. On several occasions the markings were accompanied by or led to destruction of private property. No information was available on government efforts to address or prevent forced and early marriage. Despite reported political will to combat human trafficking, including labor trafficking, during the year the government did not take sufficient action to address the scope of the problem and provided only limited information about its law enforcement efforts. The Supreme Court of Justice has upheld Electoral Council decisions undermining political rights and allowed Ortega to circumvent a constitutional prohibition on re-election and run for a second term. Some groups reported difficulties in moving donated goods through customs and said government officials were rarely cooperative or responsive to their complaints. The government made no efforts to prevent, investigate, or punish such acts. NNP officers and prison authorities often denied detainees were in custody. In addition, if a strike continues for 30 days without resolution, the Ministry of Labor may suspend the strike and submit the matter to arbitration. Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: While the law provides detainees the ability to challenge the legality of their detention before a court, the government generally did not allow those arrested during protests to challenge in court the lawfulness of their arrests or detentions. Prohibitions. 14/10/2019 Nicaragua: EU adopts conclusions and a framework for targeted sanctions Today, the Council adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures in view of the situation in Nicaragua. In September, the UN Security Council held a public meeting on Nicaragua. Shortly after, the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR, and the Nicaraguan government agreed to create an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) that would support the Attorney General Office’s investigations into human rights abuses. Electoral experts, business leaders, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, and civil society organizations reported that a lack of accredited domestic observation, in addition to the ruling party’s control over official electoral structures and all branches of government, combined to impede holding a free and fair election. By law several unions may coexist at any one enterprise, and the law permits management to sign separate collective bargaining agreements with each union. Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/resources/reports/child-labor/findings  and the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods . We expect the FSLN to remain in power, given its unchecked control over state institutions. Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits sexual exploitation in general and designates enticing children or adolescents to engage in sexual activity as an aggravating condition. A lack of strong institutions, a weak system of checks and balances, and the overbearing political control of government institutions allowed for corruption to remain. Although women generally had equal access to employment, few women had senior positions in business and worked in the informal sector at higher levels than men; in the public sector or in elected positions, women’s independence and influence were limited. Prodemocracy marches and protests were not allowed during the year. On December 19, Foreign Affairs Minister Denis Moncada expelled the MESENI and GIEI teams, accusing them of having an “interventionist” attitude, a day before the GIEI was due to release a scathing report in Managua. Inhabitants in northern towns, particularly in the departments of Nueva Segovia, Jinotega, and Madriz, as well as the RACN and South Caribbean Autonomous Region (RACS), alleged repeated government interrogations and searches without cause or warrant, related to supposed support for armed groups, while government officials claimed they were confronting common criminals. UNICEF’s 2017 State of the World’s Children, the most recent data available, reported 41 percent of women 20 to 24 years of age were married or in a union by age 18, and 10 percent were married by age 15. Between June and July, the US State Department revoked visas for some Nicaraguan officials allegedly responsible for abuses and “undermining democracy.” The US Treasury Department sanctioned Francisco Díaz, then deputy chief of police and an official from the mayor’s office in Managua under the 2012 Magnitsky Act, “for being responsible for, or the leaders of, entities involved in serious human rights abuse.” In November, US President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13851, leading to Treasury sanctions on Vice-President Rosario Murillo and top presidential aide Nestor Moncada Lau, freezing their assets and imposing a travel ban on both. 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