Procedure : 2019/2978(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0255/2019

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 :


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<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>Anna Fotyga, Karol Karski, Assita Kanko, Ruža Tomašić, Charlie Weimers, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Veronika Vrecionová, Valdemar Tomaševski, Alexandr Vondra</Depute>

<Commission>{ECR}on behalf of the ECR Group</Commission>


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 31 May 2018[1] and 14 March 2019[2],

 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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

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

 having regard to the Nicaraguan Constitution,

 having regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) of 2007, to which Nicaragua is a party,

 having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Nicaragua of 21 January 2019 and 14 October 2019,

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

 having regard to the statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, of 10 September 2019 at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council,

 having regard to the report of the Organisation of American States (OAS) High-Level Commission of 19 November 2019 on Nicaragua,

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

A. whereas Nicaragua has been engulfed by political unrest since 18 April 2018 and has suffered a human rights crisis provoked by brutal repression from state forces and pro-government armed groups seeking to quell massive country-wide protests;

B. whereas, according to data from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, at least 328 people have died, including 29 children and adolescents, and more than 2 000 people have been injured as a result of this violence, while hundreds of opposition supporters have been jailed and over 80 000 people have fled the country;

C. whereas the majority of these imprisoned political opponents were released under the recent Amnesty Law, which is, however, incompatible with international standards and perpetuates impunity by ruling out investigation into suspected crimes committed against protesters;

D. whereas in some cases prison authorities ignored the release orders of judges, keeping defendants arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, and whereas those convicted were usually given disproportionate sentences, in some cases over 200 years in prison, although the Constitution limits prison sentences to 30 years;

E. whereas there is a lack of due process and increasing criminalisation of opposition leaders and political dissidents;

F. whereas the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of September 2019 on the situation of human rights in Nicaragua details a wide range of human rights violations, against journalists, human rights defenders, peasants, LGBTI persons, students and members of the catholic clergy, including extrajudicial killings, violence by pro-government armed groups, arbitrary detention, sexual violence and torture, seizure of their assets, intimidation, harassment and smear campaigns;

G. whereas the OAS High-Level Commission on Nicaragua is of the view that actions taken by or permitted by the Government of Nicaragua since April 2018 are inconsistent with the rights and guarantees protected in the Nicaraguan Constitution of 1987 and that these are giving rise to an alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in Nicaragua, as outlined in Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter;

H. whereas the civic space in Nicaragua has been significantly reduced, since the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly has been impeded and the right to freedom of expression has been restricted through various actions ranging from the closure of independent media outlets and the retention of their property and equipment to the imprisonment of journalists for several months;

I. whereas the government has taken de facto and de jure measures affecting the freedom of association; whereas in November and December 2018 the National Assembly cancelled the legal registration of nine civil society organisations accused of supporting ‘terrorist actions’ during the 2018 protests, and, as of today, none of them has had their legal registration restored and nor have their goods and equipment been returned;

J. whereas positive steps reflected in the release of a substantial number of political prisoners have not been accompanied by the implementation of the totality of the March 2019 agreements between the government and the Civic Alliance, notably on the reestablishment of civil and political rights, and, whereas, after months of impasse caused by this non-compliance, the Government of Nicaragua made a unilateral decision to terminate the negotiations on 30 July 2019;

K. whereas the continued refusal to resume the dialogue with the opposition conveys a negative signal as regards the willingness of the Government of Nicaragua to work towards a peaceful and democratic way out of the crisis;

L. whereas the UN Human Rights Office called on Nicaragua to put an end to ‘its persistent repression of dissent and the ongoing pattern of arbitrary arrests and refrain from criminalising and attacking human rights defenders, political opponents and any other dissenting voices’ after the arrests on trumped-up charges of protesters who tried to deliver humanitarian supplies to hunger strikers in a church in Masaya, including the Belgian citizen Amaya Coppens, who had already been imprisoned in September 2018, was released in June 2019 and has now been arrested again;

M. whereas Daniel Ortega, who has been President since his return to power in 2007, his wife Rosario Murillo, who has served as Vice-President since 2016, and his family are accused of nepotism, and whereas the US recently adopted sanctions against his sons on the accusation of money laundering and corruption;

N. whereas the Council adopted on 14 October 2019 a framework for targeted restrictive measures in view of the situation in Nicaragua;

1. Supports the aspirations of the majority of Nicaraguans, who wish to establish a free, stable, prosperous, inclusive and democratic country that respects its national and international commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms;

2. Demands that the 29 March 2019 agreements be implemented in full to strengthen civil and political rights and guarantees, including the reestablishment of political freedoms and the legal status of banned civil society organisations, the voluntary and safe return of exiles, the release of the remaining political prisoners and an end to the harassment and intimidation of released political prisoners and their families;

3. Calls on the Nicaraguan Government to return to a meaningful, results-oriented and inclusive national dialogue that will bring an end to the ongoing repression and establish concrete terms for a democratic transition, including a sincere electoral reform process in accordance with international standards and that will result in legislation guaranteeing free and fair elections;

4. Demands the immediate release of all prisoners arrested in relation to the April 2018 protests and of all those being charged for alleged common law crimes in retaliation for their continued participation in civic demonstrations, and the full restoration of these released persons’ rights and liberties along with the closure of their cases, cancelation of their convictions, reparation of their confiscated goods, and the guaranteeing of their safety and physical integrity;

5. Calls for an independent review of convictions and sentences with a view to reforming the judiciary, including appointments in line with international standards, such as the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors;

6. Demands that the Nicaraguan Government disarm and dismantle pro-government armed groups that threaten and attack Nicaraguans;

7. Insists on the return of confiscated property and the restoration of suspended licences to news outlets and insists that these outlets be allowed to carry out their work without any obstacles or retaliation;

8. Insists on full cooperation with international human rights bodies, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and they be allowed to return to Nicaragua;

9. Asks for the Amnesty Law and the Law on Comprehensive Care for Victims to be reviewed in order to guarantee victims’ right to truth, justice and adequate reparation;

10. Demands that Nicaragua immediately implement protection for indigenous and Afro-descendant people who are being harassed and killed in different regions of the country and underlines that the Nicaraguan state must urgently protect these communities from violent attacks and land invasions;

11. Recalls that, in light of the Association Agreement between the EU and the countries of Central America, Nicaragua must respect and consolidate the principles of the rule of law, democracy and human rights, and demands that, in light of the current circumstances, the democratic clause of the Association Agreement be triggered by suspending Nicaragua from this agreement;

12. Urges the EU and the Member States to continue to monitor the situation in Nicaragua and urgently consider the implementation of targeted sanctions against the Nicaraguan Government and individuals responsible for human rights breaches; underlines that the EU restrictive measures are designed not to harm the Nicaraguan population;

13. Urges the EU and the Member States to freeze the funds and economic resources of certain natural or legal persons and entities responsible for serious human rights violations or abuses or for the repression of civil society and of the democratic opposition in Nicaragua;

14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Nicaragua.


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

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

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