- Since 2018, at least 26 feminist organizations or that suport or work for women’s rights have been illegally closed by the government of Daniel Ortega.
- We stand in international feminist solidarity, and we call on the world to see Daniel Ortega for what he really is: an unpunished rapist, misogynist, corrupt, and capitalist macho man who has enriched himself through the despotic exercise of power.
In Nicaragua, it is increasingly dangerous to be a woman, to be feminist, to be organized.
Since 2018, at least 26 feminist organizations or that suport or work for women’s rights have been illegally closed by the government. These organizations work throughout the country, in urban areas, in peasant regions, in indigenous and afro-descendent communities and territories. Some of them have spent decades working to denounce and prevent sexist violence, demanding justice for femicides, defending women’s labor rights, educating and providing information with a gender perspective, promoting sexual and reproductive rights, among many other contributions to Nicaraguan women’s human rights.
Now, these organizations have been unlawfully stripped of their legal status and have lost access to resources needed to conduct their work. Their offices have been dismantled by the government, and their assets have been confiscated. Many of their members have been and continue to be subjected to criminalization, smear campaigns, and constant harassment, to the extent that some of them have had to go into exile.
In most cases, the organizations were closed through arbitrary procedures. The regulating institutions have created all kinds of obstacles or have directly refused to receive the administrative documentation required by law, despite the fact that the organizations complied with all requirements in due time and form. Many other organizations are under de facto administrative closure, without access to resources and the ability to conduct activities, as they are subject to arbitrary procedures and requirements.
All of this takes place in a country where at least 71 women were victims of femicide in 2021.
Where, according to official figures, during the same year, more than 8,000 women reported having suffered some type of domestic violence and nearly 5,000 reported having been victims of sexual violence.
Where many victims of sexist violence do not report their cases knowing that they will not receive justice and fearing that they will be re-victimized by the State.
Where thousands of women work under conditions of exploitation and extreme precariousness in sweatshops belonging to transnational capital.
Where serious human rights violations and the deep social and political crisis have worsened since April 2018; a crisis that erupted with the Ortega government’s brutal repression of the peaceful mass protests against his neoliberal social security reform, leaving hundreds of people dead and thousands in exile.
Where 13 women human rights defenders are in prison, serving between 8 and 18 year sentences for working towards the democratization of the country.
Where termination of pregnancy is absolutely criminalized and women have to have clandestine abortions that place their lives at risk.
Where the State has dismantled laws, policies, and institutions that guaranteed women’s rights and furthered equality, historic victories won through the work and struggles of Nicaraguan feminists.
In this context, the closure of organizations is a huge blow to all women in the country, leaving them more vulnerable and further exposed to violence and infringements on their fundamental rights.
Feminists around the world know that Daniel Ortega’s attacks on Nicaraguan feminists began long before the 2018 crisis.They date back to 1998, when it became known that the president had sexually abused his stepdaughter, Zoilamérica Narvaez Murillo, and Nicaraguan feminists publicly denounced the case and supported Zoilamérica.
Nor can we forget Daniel Ortega’s pact with the Catholic hierarchy, which led to the total criminalization of abortion in the country in 2006. This pact, together with the one he signed with the neoliberal and corrupt former president Arnoldo Alemán, allowed Ortega to return to power. Thus came the betrayal of the Sandinista history and the values and hopes for which many Nicaraguan sisters fought during the revolution and in the construction of a more just, free, and egalitarian country.
We stand in international feminist solidarity, and we call on the world to see Daniel Ortega for what he really is: an unpunished rapist, misogynist, corrupt, and capitalist macho man who has enriched himself through the despotic exercise of power.
We embrace our sisters from the organizations that have been closed who, despite all the obstacles and hostility that they face everyday, remain organized and have not halted their efforts to work for Nicaraguan women’s rights.
For them to know that feminists from Latin American and around the world stand with them, that we will not leave them alone and that we know that everything they have built over decades will survive any hostile, corrupt, and repressive government. Because it nurtures the futures that we dream together and where, sooner or later, we will all live free, diverse, and equal.
Feminist organizations that support or work with women’s rights and that have been illegally shut down by Daniel Ortega’s government since April 2018:
- Asociación Centro de Capacitación de la Mujer Obrera
- Asociación Colectivo de Mujeres de Matagalpa
- Asociación Comisión Permanente de Derechos Humanos (CPDH)
- Asociación de Mujeres de Jalapa contra la Violencia Oyanka
- Asociación de Mujeres Trabajadoras y Desempleadas María Elena Cuadra (MEC)
- Asociación para la Sobrevivencia y el Desarrollo Local (ASODEL)
- Asociación Red de Empresarias de Nicaragua (REN)
- Centro de Derechos Constitucionales (CDC)
- Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua. (CEJUDHCAN)
- Centro de Información y Servicios de Asesoría en Salud (CISAS)
- Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación (CINCO)
- Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)
- Colectivo 8 de Marzo.
- Federación Coordinadora Nicaragüense de Organismos No Gubernamentales que Trabajan con la Niñez y la Adolescencia (CODENI)
- Fundación Centro de Comunicación y Educación CANTERA
- Fundación Entre Volcanes
- Fundación Luisa Mercado (FUNLUM)
- Fundación OXFAM Ibis
- Fundación OXFAM Intermon
- Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer Indígena de Sutiaba
- Fundación para la Promoción y Desarrollo de las Mujeres y la Niñez (FUNDEMUNI)
- Fundación Popol Na para la Promoción y el Desarrollo Municipal
- Fundación Xochiquetzal
- Instituto de Liderazgo de las Segovias, ILLS