Venancia Group and Matagalpa Women’s Collective
Threats, criminalization and smear campaign
THE FACTS – In the context of state repression and para-police violence now being experienced in Nicaragua, women human rights defenders belonging to feminist organizations in Matagalpa such as the Venancia Group and the Matagalpa Women’s Collective, have been the target of criminalization and a smear campaign.
Both the organizations and some of their members have received diverse threats. They have been named in the mass media and social networks as the instigators and perpetrators of criminal acts against the government, thereby placing them in the line of fire from those responsable for the repression and para-police violence.
It is important to note that Matagalpa is one of the places in the country where some of the worst episodes of repression and violence have been brought down against the civilian population as it exercizes its legitimate right to protest, all of which heightens the risk situation faced by defenders in both organizations.
We of IM-Defensoras condemn these attacks and threats, and demand guarantees for the safety and security of the Venancia Group and the Matagalpa Women’s Collective; we hold the State responsable for any harm that may come to their members.
We reiterate our demand that the Nicaraguan government comply with recommendations issued by the IACHR and other international human rights organizations, and that it put an end to the repression and violence exercized with impunity by para-police groups.
In the same vein, we send out an ongoing call to the international community to stay abreast of the situation and to pressure for advances toward peace and justice in Nicaragua.