International Network of Human Rights | Europe
Réseau International des Droits Humains | Europe
Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos | Europa

Act to protect the citizens of Nicaragua

On the occasion of the 6th anniversary of the popular uprising in Nicaragua, the RIDHE organised an event on 25 April with the aim of developing a debate on initiatives to help Nicaraguan citizens.

Event background

Since 2007, the former leaders of the Sandinista revolution, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, have been trying to maintain their status quo by appropriating public services and soliciting the support of yesterday’s enemies. From April 2018, the Ortega-Murillo regime repressed political opponents by systematically violating their human rights, orchestrating arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and inhuman treatment. The rebellion of the Nicaraguan people resulted in more than 300 murders by gunshot, hundreds of political imprisonments and thousands of opponents being forced to leave the country.

On 7 November 2021, Daniel Ortega’s election was made possible by eradicating critical voices and outlawing more than 1,700 social, media and religious organisations. This repressive escalation led to the detention of more than 300 political prisoners, including politicians, feminists, journalists, students, priests and human rights defenders. Victims included Cristiana Chamorro, Noel Vidaurre, Arturo Cruz, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Félix Maradiaga, Miguel Mora, Medardo Mairena and Doña Francisca Ramirez.

On 19 August 2022, the regime attacked Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, Bishop of Matagalpa, after a night raid by the Nicaraguan National Police. This event provoked a strong reaction from the European Parliament, which adopted a resolution condemning the government’s repression and calling for the immediate release of Bishop Rolando Alvarez.

In September 2022, it was the turn of Jeannine Horvilleur Cuadra, aged 63, and her daughter Ana Alvarez Horvilleur, aged 43, to be detained in El Chipote prison. This imprisonment ended on 9 February 2023, when the two french citizens were released and exfiltrated to the United States, along with 220 of the more than 300 political prisoners held in the country. This release was not without consequences. The 222 political prisoners were declared “traitors to the country” and lost their Nicaraguan nationality and their civil and political rights. At present, several Nicaraguan NGOs count a total of 39 prisoners still in detention, including several prominent figures such as Bishop Rolando Alvarez.

The aim of this event is to raise awareness among civil society organisations, the academic community and the general public of the situation in the country in order to support new initiatives and provide assistance to citizens. On this occasion, we received testimonies of experts on the socio-political situation in Nicaragua, such as Fay Vastenhoud, political assistant of the EU-LAT network, Laura Lacayo, Nicaraguan activist and researcher, Frauke Decoodt, photojournalist and expert on Latin America, and Adrianus Koetsenruijter, Honorary President of the RIDHE.

Event programme

Pictures of the event