Tag Archives: Nicaragua

Nicaragua: Political upheaval in Nicaragua leaves scientists under siege

December 19, 2018

A student fires a hime made mortair during a student protest outside UCA in Nicaragua

Ongoing protests against the Nicaraguan government have led to violent clashes, and the crackdown by security forces has engulfed the country’s scientists, causing some to flee their homes in fear for their lives.

The student-led protests started in April in response to a decree from President Daniel Ortega that increased social security taxes and reduced pensions. Ortega’s increasingly authoritarian administration tried to quell the protests with deadly force, which sparked demonstrations across Nicaragua. Since then, fierce confrontations between protesters, police and activists supporting the government have resulted in more than 300 deaths.

Universities have fired faculty members who have criticized the administration’s response to the demonstrations, and scientific conferences have been moved or postponed. In early December, the government shut down the offices of nine non-governmental organizations (NGO), including the Fundación del Río, which focuses on environmental protections for the southeastern region of Nicaragua. The state seized the property of all 9 NGOs and they can no longer operate legally in the country.

An economic crisis that has proliferated in the wake of the political unrest resulted in emergency cuts to the 2018 budget in August. They included a roughly 7% reduction to the National Council of Universities, Nicaragua’s governing body for higher education institutes.

The trouble has even affected the Nicaraguan National Academy of Sciences, which released several statements in April, May and June in support of students and academic freedom. Its president, lawyer María Luisa Acosta, fled the country in May after receiving death threats. The threats stemmed from those statements of support and her long-standing criticism of government projects that would impact Indigenous groups and the environment.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07837-5

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/12/universities-held-hostage-nicaragua-s-political-crisis

https://www.laminute.info/2018/12/20/accuses-dingerence-des-organismes-de-defense-des-droits-de-lhomme-expulses-du-nicaragua/ (FRANCAIS)

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Nicaragua: THREATS AGAINST LOTTIE CUNNINGHAM WREN AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

March 20, 2017

Lottie Cunningham Wren

On 17 March 2017, indigenous rights defender Lottie Cunningham Wren received threats against herself, CEDHJUCAN’s staff, and other human rights defenders on Facebook.

Lottie Cunningham Wren is a lawyer and founder of the Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua (Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua – CEJUDHCAN). She works with over 100 remote communities to help indigenous peoples exercise their legal rights to protect natural resources.

Lottie was an expert witness in the Awas Tingni vs. Nicaragua case, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This case resulted in a tremendous land rights victory for indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. Lottie`s goal now is to implement that decision and help communities on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua demarcate and title their lands.

Lottie has received threatening letters warning her not to continue her work with the communities and there was a kidnapping attempt against her in May 2015 in one community. Her colleagues have received threatening phonecalls warning them against speaking out like Lottie.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-lottie-cunningham-wren-and-other-human-rights-defenders