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The Organization of American States announced its commitment to continuing close scrutiny of Nicaragua’s democracy and human rights situation, even after the country’s upcoming departure from the regional body later this month. Despite Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s decision to withdraw his country from the organisation, OAS members clarified that this exit does not equate to the loss of a critic of Ortega’s administration.
A resolution passed by members of the permanent council affirmed that the OAS will continue to closely monitor the situation in Nicaragua and attempt to advocate for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country. Council President Ronald Sanders, representing Antigua and Barbuda, highlighted that this decision sends a clear message of support to the Nicaraguan people, assuring them that they are not isolated and won’t be abandoned.
Nicaragua’s former OAS representative, Arturo McFields, who publicly criticised Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo in 2022, described Nicaragua’s withdrawal as a setback for the fight for democracy and human rights. Ortega’s government has been actively suppressing protesting voices, particularly after the 2018 protests that resulted in the death of approximately 355 people and the imprisonment of hundreds. Institutions perceived to support the protesters, including private universities, the Roman Catholic Church, civil society organisations, and many individuals, have been targeted and pressured into exile.
The two-year process initiated by Ortega’s government to leave the OAS began in November 2021, following condemnation from the international community, including the OAS, regarding the flawed elections that led to Ortega’s latest term.
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