[WHRD Alert] NICARAGUA / Police arbitrarily attack and retain AMA members; confiscate their belongings and materials commemorating the third anniversary of the Mother’s Day Massacre

Members of the Mothers of April Association (AMA)

The right to truth, justice and reparations.

On Sunday afternoon, May 30, national police agents and armed civilians attacked members of the Mothers of April Association (AMA), who had just held a private event at the Central American University (UCA) in commemoration of the persons killed by the Nicaraguan government during the repression known as the “Mother’s Day Massacre.” 

According to the AMA, agents severely beat Francis Mejía, the widow of Marlon José Orozco Largaespada, murdered on May 24, 2018, and robbed her belongings.  Raquel Sevilla, the aunt of Tony Merlo, murdered on June 23, 2018, was held for 40 minutes and interrogated about her alleged possession of materials in memory of the victims. Moreover, the agents decommissioned t-shirts, commemorative cards, and cash money from family members of Matt Romero, murdered on September 23, 2018, and from other family members in Masaya.

Attacks against AMA have taken place ever since the association was founded in 2018, when mothers and family members of people killed during protests organized themselves to demand justice, truth and reparations for acts that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has described as crimes against humanity.  Last April, on the third anniversary of the social uprising, in the context of national elections, attacks against AMA and its members escalated  as denounced by IM-Defensoras.

We of IM-Defensoras consider the posture of the Nicaraguan government grave and reprehensible. With attacks, abuses and different kinds of arbitrary actions, government officials have repeatedly and systematically repressed the right of mothers and family members of victims to commemorate their loved ones. These vengeful acts of cruelty can only be interpreted as a strategy to intimidate and demobilize activists and to silence voices that are critical of the government. 

In view of these recent attacks, we reiterate our recognition of AMA’s  honorable work of searching for and demanding truth, justice and reparations for the mothers and family members of victims of the Nicaraguan government, along with our concern over their integrity and security.  

We call on the international community to express its solidarity and support for AMA and to join in the demands for an end to repression, political persecution, and harassment against people organized in spaces of activism and political participation in Nicaragua, especially women and women human rights defenders.  

More alerts: