[Urgent Alert] NICARAGUA / Intensification of attacks against women activists and human rights defenders during national celebrations in September

Since the first of September until Sunday, September 13, approximately 145 attacks against women activists and human rights defenders have been reported in the context of the national celebrations. 

Harassment (46) and restriction of the freedom of movement (33) continue to be the most frequent types of attack this month, followed by warnings and threats (15), including threats of death and rape. Women defenders have also reported one detention (1), the arbitrary collective retention of eight activists (2), excessive use of force (2), criminalization (2), illegal investigations (11), searches of homes (5), damage to personal property (3), smear campaigns in social networks (5), stigmatization, and hate speech (1). 

It has also been reported that two women were raped on Friday night, September 11, and furthermore, women activists and defenders have been subjected to attacks such as ridicule for their sexual orientation.  

Among the main victims in this wave of repression are men and women activists associated with civil organizations, along with released political prisoners and their families, including Daysi Godoy, Jennifer Browm, Ileana Lacayo, Martha Alvarado, Amaya Coppens, Maribel Rodríguez, Maria Guadalupe Ruíz Briceño and Neyma Hernández. 

The National Police continues to be the main perpetrator of these acts, accompanied by armed civilians and territorial control networks of the ruling government party. It is important to mention that in the cases of ex women political prisoners, the threats have to do with trials and return to prison. 

The political persecution and state violence during the national fiestas are a way to intimidate opponents, activists, and organizations that are mobilizing in pursuit of democracy and transparent elections. The most alarming attacks involve reports of sexual violence against women activists and defenders. 

We want to call attention to the government’s pattern of heightening attacks against opponents, organizations of victims, and human rights organizations during commemorations. We identified similar acts in the middle of April during the two-year commemoration of the initiation of protests in Nicaragua, and also at the end of May, when citizens commemorated the murders perpetrated during the Mothers’ March of 2018.

We call on the international community and human rights bodies to stay abreast of the situation in Nicaragua this month in view of the rise in the persecution of activists and human rights defenders. 

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