Procedure : 2019/2978(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0252/2019

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 18/12/2019 - 21
CRE 18/12/2019 - 21

Votes :

PV 19/12/2019 - 6.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


PDF 139kWORD 46k


<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 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on the situation of human rights and democracy in Nicaragua</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Tilly Metz, Hannah Neumann, Anna Cavazzini, Saskia Bricmont</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>

<Depute>Sophia Fabio Massimo Castaldo</Depute>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0251/2019


European Parliament resolution on the situation of human rights and democracy in Nicaragua


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], 31 May 2018[4] and 14 March 2019[5],

 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 Council conclusions on Nicaragua, in particular those of 14 October 2019 establishing a framework for targeted sanctions, 

 having regard to the declarations by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on behalf of the EU on the situation in Nicaragua, in particular that of 20 November 2019,

 having regard to the statement by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, of 19 November 2019,

 having regard to the report of the High Level Commission on Nicaragua of the Organization of American States of 19 November 2019,

 having regard to the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 3 September 2019 on the situation of human rights in Nicaragua,

 having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 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, as updated in 2008,

 having regard to the Nicaraguan Constitution,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas human rights defenders, environmental activists and others critics of the Nicaraguan Government have increasingly become the targets of death threats, intimidation, online defamation campaigns, harassment, surveillance, assault, and judicial persecution; whereas the current crisis has prompted over 80 000 people to flee Nicaragua;

B. whereas according to the latest figures of the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) established by the Organization of American States, 328 people have died, hundreds have been wounded, more than 150 political prisoners remain arbitrarily detained simply for exercising their rights and 144 students have been expelled from universities for their participation in demonstrations in favour of democracy, greater freedom and respect for human rights; whereas according to non-governmental sources, as of 8 July 2019 approximately 100 journalists and media workers had fled the country;

C. whereas respect for the independence of the judiciary, political pluralism, and freedom of assembly and expression are essential pillars of democracy and the rule of law; whereas an amnesty law was passed in June 2019, which allowed for the release of over 100 political prisoners; whereas this amnesty law extends protections to ‘people who have not been investigated, who find themselves under investigation’ or in criminal processes and ‘comply with their sentences’; whereas this law should not allow impunity for those who have committed crimes under the orders of the regime;

D. whereas other sources of discontent and open conflict include the sharp increase in export-oriented extractivist activities in the mining, sugarcane and palm oil sectors, as well as in cattle farming, the interoceanic canal project, leading to relocations and serious irreversible harm to the environment, and the recurring repression of protests against these activities;

E. whereas on 14 November 2019, nine relatives of jailed political opponents, among others, started a hunger strike inside the San Miguel church in Masaya, calling for the release of their sons and daughters detained in the context of the protests; whereas the strike lasted for nine days; whereas police surrounded the church and cut off the water and electricity supply; whereas police prevented anyone from entering the church and delivering humanitarian and medical assistance;

F. whereas the same night, a group of at least 13 members of the opposition were detained after delivering some water to those surrounded by the police, including Amaya Eva Coppens, a Nicaraguan and Belgian human rights defender who was detained in the context of the protests for eight months and had been released on 11 June 2019 under the amnesty law;

G. whereas the Prosecutor’s Office of Nicaragua has accused the group of several charges, including kidnapping and terrorism; whereas prison conditions in Nicaragua fail to meet international standards; whereas the use of torture and sexual violence in prison has been reported by Nicaraguan opposition members;

H. whereas, at the end of 2018, the Government of Nicaragua expelled from the country the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Central America Regional Office of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; whereas the return of both organisations, subject to approval by the government, would act as a guarantor for the fulfilment of pending agreements with the opposition; whereas repression against civil society organisations has intensified and they have been stripped of their legal status;

I. whereas the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an integral part of the EU’s external policies, included in the Association Agreement between the EU and the countries of Central America of 2012;

J. whereas, in February 2019, negotiations resumed between the Government and the Civic Alliance; whereas an agreement was reached on 27 March 2019 on the release of persons deprived of their liberty in the context of the 2018 protests; whereas another agreement was reached on 29 March 2019 on strengthening citizens’ rights and guarantees; whereas, on 20 May 2019, the Civic Alliance left the negotiating table, considering that the implementation of the two agreements had been limited; whereas by 11 June 2019, the Government had released 492 people who had been detained in the context of the 2018 protests; whereas negotiations remain stalled despite attempts to resume them;

1. Firmly condemns all forms of repression and criminalisation of human rights defenders and journalists, as well as the use of anti-terrorism laws and anti-mutiny forces against dissenting opinions in Nicaragua; condemns the ongoing intimidation, harassment, detention and kidnapping of individuals who have participated in opposition protests; condemns the cancellation of the legal status of several national NGOs by the National Assembly of Nicaragua; considers it necessary to swiftly reinstate the legal status of those civil society organisations affected by the decree;

2. Is concerned about the increasing restrictions on civic space and expressions of dissent; recalls the need for Nicaragua to ensure the protection of the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly; stresses that the Nicaraguan authorities must in all circumstances ensure that human rights defenders are able to carry out their human rights work free of threats, intimidation and impediment;

3. Calls for the immediate release of Amaya Eva Coppens as well as all the other human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience detained and sentenced for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;

4. Stresses that the Nicaraguan authorities must guarantee the safety and physical and psychological wellbeing of all detainees and provide them with adequate medical care;

5. Welcomes the Council decision to adopt a framework for targeted restrictive measures for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, or for the repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Nicaragua, as well as persons and entities whose actions, policies or activities otherwise undermine democracy and the rule of law in Nicaragua;

6. Asks the VP/HR and the EU Delegation to closely monitor developments that are taking place in the country; calls on the EU Delegation and the Member States to use their contacts in Nicaragua to address the situation in the country; calls on the Commission to ensure that its cooperation assistance enhances its support to civil society, notably human rights defenders, and that it does not in any way contribute to the current repressive policies of the Nicaraguan authorities;

7. Is convinced that European companies share responsibility for the current situation if they continue to carry out their activities without due regard to their potential negative impact on the human rights situation in the country; underlines that these companies must be held accountable and, if their complicity is confirmed, be included in the framework for targeted restrictive measures; asks to be informed on which companies continue to be active and in which sectors, and what due diligence measures they have taken;

8. Believes that the current crisis can only be addressed and resolved through peaceful dialogue among Nicaraguan nationals and negotiations on institutional reform, including of the electoral institutions; in this regard, calls on the Government of Nicaragua and all parties concerned to engage in a meaningful and comprehensive national dialogue, including on the adoption of electoral reforms that conform to international standards; reaffirms that the EU is prepared to provide its support if requested to do so by the parties concerned;

9. Calls on the EU Delegation and the Member States with diplomatic missions on the ground to fully implement the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and to provide all appropriate support to those human rights defenders that are detained, including prison visits and trial monitoring;

10. 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 Organization of American States, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, the Central American Parliament, and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Nicaragua.


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

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

[3] OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 189.

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

[5] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0219.

Last updated: 18 December 2019Legal notice - Privacy policy