Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (4 September):
I wholeheartedly condemn the increased repression and the criminalisation of the protests in Nicaragua.
We urgently appeal to all parties to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis for the good of the country and to resolutely resume the National Dialogue process as soon as possible. The fact that last week the Government revoked its invitation to the delegation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is even greater cause for concern. For the presence of international observers could play a key role in confidence-building, particularly in view of the current volatile atmosphere.
I offer my sympathy to the families and friends of the so far at least 322 casualties. The circumstances surrounding the deaths must be investigated quickly and thoroughly and those responsible held to account. The Federal Government therefore supports the Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes (GIEI – interdisciplinary group of independent experts), commissioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The group is to assist with investigations into the deaths.
We call upon the Nicaraguan Government to do everything in its power to support the work of the independent experts. Only then can they fulfil their mandate and make a crucial contribution to investigating the deaths and protecting human rights.
Since the violent suppression of protests against a reform of the social security system in April, the situation in the country has been tense. Last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights gave the number of confirmed deaths since 18 April as 322. In recent weeks, clampdowns on critical voices from all spheres, including business, students and civil society, have been tightened significantly as part of an anti terror law. Arrests and violent attacks are the order of the day.
Last week, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report on human rights violations during the current crisis in Nicaragua. Shortly afterwards, the Nicaraguan Government revoked its invitation to the delegation, which had to leave the country the same day.