Procedure : 2019/2615(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0166/2019

Texts tabled :

B8-0166/2019

Debates :

PV 13/03/2019 - 27
CRE 13/03/2019 - 27

Votes :

PV 14/03/2019 - 11.18
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2019)0219

<Date>{11/03/2019}11.3.2019</Date>
<NoDocSe>B8‑0166/2019</NoDocSe>
PDF 137kWORD 54k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on the situation in Nicaragua</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2615(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Ramón Jáuregui Atondo, Elena Valenciano</Depute>

<Commission>{S&D}on behalf of the S&D Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0165/2019

B8‑0166/2019

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Nicaragua

(2019/2615(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Nicaragua, in particular those of 18 December 2008[1], 26 November 2009[2], 16 February 2017[3] and 31 May 2018[4],

 having regard to the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America of 2012,

 having regard to the EU country strategy paper and multiannual indicative programme 2014-2020 on Nicaragua,

 having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

 having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders of June 2004,

 having regard to the Nicaraguan Constitution,

 having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Nicaragua of 21 January 2019,

 having regard to the declarations by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the situation in Nicaragua of 2 October 2018, 15 May 2018, 22 April 2018 and 15 December 2018, and that of 1 March 2019 on the resumption of national dialogue,

 having regard to the Council conclusions on EU priorities in UN human rights fora in 2019, adopted on 18 February 2019,

 having regard to the report approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on 21 June 2018 entitled ‘Gross Human Rights Violations in the Context of Social Protests in Nicaragua’,

 having regard to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights violations and abuses in the context of protests in Nicaragua, 18 April – 18 August 2018,

 having regard to the report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) of 20 December 2018 on the violent events that took place in Nicaragua between 18 April and 30 May 2018,

 having regard to the statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of 22 February 2019 on the criminalisation of dissent in Nicaragua,

 having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the crisis in Nicaragua on 31 May 2018, strongly condemning the situation; whereas, as a follow-up to this resolution, a delegation of 11 MEPs visited the country from 23 to 26 January 2019 to assess the situation on the ground; whereas the national dialogue launched on 16 May 2018 between President Ortega and the Nicaraguan opposition and civic groups, and mediated by the Catholic Church, failed to find a solution to the crisis;

B. whereas the delegation was able to follow its own programme, and the Nicaraguan Government granted access to all facilities requested by the MEPs, including two prisons; whereas the Nicaraguan Government gave guarantees that no retaliation would be launched against those who denounced the current situation; whereas the delegation witnessed the harassment, smear and intimidation campaign that targeted the human rights defenders and civil society organisations with which it had held an exchange of views; whereas many organisations rejected invitations to meet the delegation, owing to government-led intimidation and threats; whereas repression has been intensified since the delegation visited the country;

C. whereas the delegation rejected publicly the official Nicaraguan Government position that they had been victims of a US-led coup d’état and misinformation campaigns; whereas the main reason fuelling the demonstrations has been the deep democratic, institutional and political crisis that has affected the rule of law and restricted basic freedoms, such as those of association, demonstration and assembly, in the country during the last decade;

D. whereas freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration, including the use of the national anthem, are being seriously restricted for many people; whereas a significant number of political prisoners are imprisoned just for exercising their rights; whereas there have been several worrying reports regarding the worsening situation of detainees, including inhuman treatment;

E. whereas judicial proceedings against those detainees are in breach of international standards, in particular the procedural and criminal guarantees of the right to a fair trial; whereas the prison conditions also fail to meet international standards adequately; whereas there is a clear lack of separation of powers in Nicaragua;

F. whereas the right to information is seriously endangered; whereas journalists are being detained, exiled and threatened; whereas audiovisual media outlets are being closed down or searched without prior judicial authorisation; whereas the publication of newspapers is endangered by the lack of paper and ink, seized by the Nicaraguan Government;

G. whereas the Government of Nicaragua has expelled from the country international organisations such as the GIEI and the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) that sought the peaceful resolution of the conflict and national reconciliation; whereas repression against civil society organisations has intensified by stripping them of their legal status in a country with a poor institutional framework, doubly punishing the victims of repression;

H. whereas academic freedom is also being threatened; whereas nearly 200 university students have been expelled from universities for their participation in demonstrations in favour of democracy and greater freedom and human rights;

I. whereas the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must form an integral part of the EU’s external policies, including the Association Agreement between the EU and the countries of Central America of 2012; whereas this agreement includes a democratic clause, which is an essential element of the agreement;

J. whereas the presence of the EP delegation has had an enormous political and social impact in the country; whereas high expectations were raised by the delegation’s political action for the Nicaraguan political opposition and social movements; whereas the EEAS Delegation in Managua is doing excellent work on the ground to coordinate the EU’s efforts;

K. whereas on 27 February 2019, exploratory talks for a national dialogue between the Government of Nicaragua and the Alianza Civica were resumed; whereas the Alianza Civica has established its three main objectives to be reached during the negotiations as follows: the release of political prisoners and respect for individual liberties, the necessary electoral reforms, which must culminate in the holding of elections, and justice; whereas the Nicaraguan Government has released 100 political prisoners, accepting that their prison sentences be commuted to house arrest; whereas a high number of prisoners remain in jail;

L. whereas on 5 March agreement was reached between the Alianza Civica and the Nicaraguan Government on a Roadmap for Negotiations (‘Hoja de Ruta de la Negociación’); whereas, in accordance with the Roadmap, negotiations are currently taking place on a daily basis; whereas a deadline for the negotiations has been set for 28 March;

M. whereas these events are probably due to the international pressure on the Nicaraguan Government and, in particular, to the political agenda developed by the European Parliament during its visit to the country; whereas the effectiveness of the European Parliament’s pressure and influence is leading towards a new process of dialogue;

1. Underlines that Nicaragua is suffering from a serious breach of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law as a result of the events that took place in April and May 2018; reiterates the importance of its resolution adopted on 31 May 2018;

2. Condemns all repressive actions of the Nicaraguan Government; states that the visit made by its delegation served to establish a true picture of the current situation; further states that it is without doubt that, in recent months, and in particular after its visit, there has been an increase in repression of the opposition and limitations imposed on fundamental freedoms; condemns, in this regard, the generalised repression and restriction of freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration, the outlawing of non-governmental organisations and civil society, the expulsion of international organisations from the country, the closure of and assaults against the media, the limitations on the right to information, the expulsion of students from universities, and the worsening situation in prisons and the use of inhuman treatment;

3. Considers that such actions by the Government, its institutions and its para-political organisations correspond to a planned strategy to destroy the political opposition that had led the protests last year; believes that this strategy is applied methodically, systematically and selectively against all leaders, NGOs, media and social movements that seek to express their legitimate demands for freedom and democracy;

4. Expresses its concern about the enormous democratic, political and economic risks that the people and the country are facing and that will increase if urgent action is not taken, taking into account the current internal confrontations, social rupture and economic decline; urgently calls for a meaningful internal dialogue with a view to achieving a sustainable and peaceful solution that would allow all actors in the society to have space to operate and freely express themselves and that would restore their civil rights, such as the right to peaceful protest; reiterates that any solution should render all those responsible for the violations accountable; asks all the political parties, social movements, leaders, students, and civil society organisations to maintain and reiterate their unwavering commitment to a peaceful means of resolving the crisis;

5. Deplores the suspension of the MESENI and the termination of the mandate of the GIEI of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; strongly condemns the persecution, arrest and intimidation of people cooperating with the UN and other international bodies;

6. Calls on the Nicaraguan Government to implement three urgent measures as a sign of its willingness in the ongoing dialogue: the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners, the immediate halt of all forms of repression against Nicaraguan citizens, including harassment, intimidation, spying and persecution of opposition leaders, and the subsequent elimination of all restrictions on previously mentioned freedoms, and the restitution of the legal personality and goods of human rights organisations and the return of international organisations to the country;

7. Points out that under these conditions the process must lead to: the cancellation of legal procedures against political prisoners and guarantees regarding their physical and moral integrity, their privacy and due process; the return of those exiled, including journalists and students; demilitarisation of the streets and disarmament of paramilitary groups; and the establishment of a clear roadmap for free, fair and transparent elections to be organised in the near future, with the presence of international observers;

8. Calls on the EEAS, together with international organisations and countries in the region, to favour a political approach to internal negotiation between the government and the opposition that should lead to a transparent and credible electoral framework accepted by all as a new path towards social and democratic reconciliation; recalls the fundamental role of the EU in solving this crisis and, therefore, urges the VP/HR and the Member States to develop a joint strategy that responds to the demands of the Nicaraguan people by answering the huge expectations and hopes raised by the EP delegation;

9. Asks the VP/HR and the EEAS to closely monitor the current negotiations and dialogue process taking place in the country between the government and the Alianza Civica, and calls on the countries in the region and the Organisation of American States to support such processes which should lead to a successful agreement;

10. Asks the VP/HR to respond to any progress achieved by this renewed process of dialogue and negotiation by supporting the strengthening of the State’s institutional capacities and reforms of the judicial system and electoral law; asks the VP/HR and the EEAS Delegation in Managua to coordinate the EU’s continued efforts to address the human problems arising from the situation created in the country in relation to students, protesters, journalists, etc.;

11. Asks the EEAS and the Member States to respond to any stalling of the negotiation process or failure to respect the conditions set out in paragraph 6 above by implementing a staggered process of targeted and individual sanctions, such as visa bans and the freezing of assets, against the Government of Nicaragua and those individuals responsible for human rights breaches, in line with the Council conclusions of 21 January 2019; recalls that, only as a last resort and without harming the population, the democratic clause of the Association Agreement of which Nicaragua is a signatory could be triggered, and Nicaragua could be suspended from the agreement until such time as human rights are respected in full and fundamental freedoms are fully upheld and restored in the country, as requested in the dialogue;

12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, the Central American Parliament, the Lima Group, and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Nicaragua.

 

[1] OJ C 45E, 23.2.2010, p. 89.

[2] OJ C 285E, 21.10.2010, p. 74.

[3] OJ C 252, 18.7.2017, p. 189.

[4] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0238.

Last updated: 12 March 2019Legal notice