NicaNotes ACTION ALERT: UN Human Rights Report on Nicaragua is Fatally Flawed and Should be Withdrawn

This week’s NicaNotes features an action alert from Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition, in response to an extremely negative report (summary is here) released on March 2 by the UN Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN).  We see this report as not only biased, but replete with false statements.  We are asking for organizational and individual signers as soon as possible in protest.  The deadline for initial signers is Thursday night (tonight), so that our first response to the UN Human Rights Council can be sent on Friday morning (tomorrow).

The GHREN Report is based on material from only one side in spite of its mandate to examine all human rights violations. Photo of buildings burned by the opposition in 2018 is from the Nicaraguan “Report of the Committee for Truth, Justice, and Peace.”

But that is just the beginning; we’ll keep gathering signatures.  Below you’ll see the protest statement, and you can sign onto the statement on this form, as an individual, on behalf of your organization, or both.  (Go here for the Spanish-language version.)  You’ll also find an impressive amount of additional information below to counter the claims of the report.

UN Human Rights Report on Nicaragua is Fatally Flawed and Should be Withdrawn

To the United Nations Human Rights Council:

The report of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN), released by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 2, 2023, should never have been published:

  • It is extremely biased, based on material from only one side in what was a serious and prolonged conflict, despite the requirement to examine “all alleged human rights violations and abuses committed in Nicaragua since April 2018.”
  • The claim that the group was unable to get material from the Nicaraguan government is false because the government had already submitted very substantial documentation to both the UN and the OAS, which was never taken into account by either body.
  • It completely fails to address the enormous damage done to ordinary people, businesses, and public services by violent protesters in 2018, perpetuating a gross injustice against the human rights of thousands of Nicaraguans.
  • It makes many allegations that are demonstrably wrong and do not withstand a simple checking of the facts.
  • It was presented in a sensational and unprofessional manner, making unfounded and damaging slurs against the Nicaraguan people and their government.

This report is an attempt to use a multilateral human rights body to lend legitimacy to a regime change campaign and justify sanctions. It is an abuse of the United Nations system.

Instead of repeating these unsubstantiated claims against a country clearly being targeted for regime change by the United States, the UNHRC should be condemning the economic coercive measures the latter country has imposed on one-third of humanity, which violate the UN Charter, kill thousands, and constitute crimes against humanity.

If the UNHRC wants to help the people of sanctioned countries, it must advocate the immediate lifting of coercive measures, which would create a climate more favorable to the enjoyment of civil and political rights.  If the UNHRC wants to facilitate peace and reconciliation in Nicaragua, it must examine the testimony of ordinary Nicaraguans and the findings of the Nicaraguan Commission for Truth, Justice and Peace here.  Other essential material that needs to be considered is found here, and here, and here.  The spurious, unprofessional report published by the GHREN on March 2, 2023, must be withdrawn.

Initial individual signers:

Professor Alfred de Zayas, Geneva, former UN Independent Expert on International Order, author of “Building a Just World Order”, Clarity Press 2021
Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University
Daniel Kovalik, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh, and author of numerous books, including Nicaragua: A History of US Intervention and Resistance
Sara Flounders, International Action Center, editor of Sanctions:  A Wrecking Ball in a Global Economy, by the SanctionsKill Campaign
Arlene Reed (Diablo, CA) M.Ed.
Arnold Matlin, M.D.
Barbara Larcom, Ph.D.
Coleen R Littlejohn,  Sanctions Kill
Daniel Mitchell McCurdy
Erika Takeo
Dr Francisco Dominguez, former Head of Research on Latin America, Middlesex University, London, UK
James Poke, Chair, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, London
Janet Pavone
Jill Clark-Gollub
Jonah Blaustein
Katherine Hoyt, Ph.D. Alliance for Global Justice, author of The Many Faces of Sandinista Democracy, Ohio University Press
Lawrence C. Hager
Margaret Matlin, Ph.D.
Miamon Miller, Chapala, Jalisco, México
Miguel Mairena, United Methodist Missionary
Nan McCurdy, United Methodist Missionary
Nora Mitchell McCurdy
Rick Kohn, Ph.D., Professor, University of Maryland-College Park
Rob Murray
Roger D. Harris
S. Brian Willson, Viet Nam, veteran, author/activist, lawyer
Sofía M. Clark, political scientist, Managua
Susan B. Lagos, retired teacher, activist
Dr. Thomas Muhr, Principal Researcher, ISCTE-University Institute Lisbon, Portugal

Initial organizational signers:

Alliance for Global Justice
Casa Baltimore Limay
Chicago ALBA Solidarity
Friends of Latin America
Friends of the ATC
Green Renaissance-Sovereign Rights Movement
International Action Center
Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group
Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition
Rochester Committee for Latin America
SanctionsKill Campaign
Task Force on the Americas / Marin Interfaith Task Force
Jubilee House Community
Casa Benjamin Linder

By Nan McCurdy

Electricity Coverage 99.275% with 80% Renewable Energy
An official report from the Ministry of Energy and Mines shows that electricity coverage continues to advance in a consistent and sustained manner, reaching 99.275% at the end of February of this year. Since 2007 to date, 690,694 homes have been electrified and 3,633,465 inhabitants have benefited. Since 2007, 9,796 projects have been executed, increasing coverage from 54% to 99%. Last week five electrification projects were inaugurated in Murra, Somoto, Matiguás, El Rama and Río Blanco. This year the goal is to electrify 6,159 more homes with an investment of US$22.8 million with financing from CABEI. Meanwhile, the electricity generation matrix continues to set a record in the use of renewable energies, reaching 80% in March with only 20% non-renewable. That 80% was contributed by 0. 49% by solar energy; 11.77% hydroelectric; 14.04% geothermal; 19.05% biomass; 22.60% wind and 12.05% imports from the regional electricity market. Peak demand has been 727 MW with a total generation of 846 GWh. (Informe Pastran, 21 March 2023)

135 New Houses of Culture and Creativity Opened
The Nicaraguan Institute of Culture, the Rubén Darío National Theater and the municipalities have installed Houses of Culture and are working to have several in each municipality. So far more than 135 new cultural centers have been installed. During the course of this week the Mayor’s Office of San Carlos delivered to the families another space to share arts and culture. In the municipalities, progress is being made in the conditioning and improvement of infrastructures, with the purpose of installing these places according to the approved program, complying with the creation of conditions that allow the development of talent, ingenuity, tradition and identity. See photos: (Radio La Primerisima, 18 March 2023)

Nicaragua Strengthens Cooperation with IDB
The Minister of Finance and Public Credit Iván Acosta participated in the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank and “IDB Investor” governors’ assembly in Panama City, from March 16 to 19. The governors of the IDB partner countries, after four years, met again in person to address a common agenda on cooperation issues. Iván Acosta also met with authorities from member countries and international financial organizations to discuss international cooperation and achievements in Nicaragua. The representatives of the governments of the Central American countries supported President Ilan Goldfajn and his vision, who pledged to make the IDB the most reliable, agile and important development partner for Latin America and the Caribbean, giving priority attention to the social agenda, climate change and sustainable infrastructure.

Solid IDB support was requested for food security, education, the strengthening of micro, small and medium-scale businesses and technical cooperation, among others, that can make a positive difference in the lives of people in Central America. During the working sessions a dialogue was opened to evaluate the current international context, the challenges to generate a more inclusive and sustainable growth, and identify policy options to address the short and medium term challenges in the region. In his remarks, Ivan Acosta expressed his support for IDB’s new vision and business model and the development of a capital increase proposal. As an example of development effectiveness, he explained to the Board of Governors the impact of the IDB’s development aid in Nicaragua in the energy sector, which through the National Sustainable Electrification and Renewable Energy Program contributed to poverty reduction by providing the population with access to efficient and sustainable electricity service, which supported the generation of conditions for change in the energy matrix and improved conditions for mitigating and adapting to climate change. (Radio La Primerisima, 20 March 2023)

Growth in Agricultural Exports
The Nicaragua System of Production, Consumption and Commerce reported on March 17 that production of exportable agricultural products during the 2022-2023 agricultural cycle, was 21.7% higher than the same period in the previous cycle. The products that showed the greatest growth in production during the period were white sorghum (29%); cocoa (20.3%); plantain (9.8%); peanuts (8.9%). The President of the Central Bank, Ovidio Reyes stated that US$2.955 billion in products were exported during the current agricultural cycle, 10.7% increase compared to the same period of the 2021-2022 agricultural cycle. (Nicaragua News, 20 March 2023)

Inauguration of High-tech Operating Rooms at Bertha Calderón Hospital
Two operating rooms will be inaugurated March 22 at the Bertha Calderón Hospital in Managua. Surgeries will be performed in the womb and on pregnant women with cancer. The operating room will have a high-tech intelligent audio and video system to watch live fetal surgery inside the mother’s womb. They will have an amphitheater type room for educational purposes for the training and teaching of medical specialties. They will also have high-tech medical equipment such as neonatal incubators, thermal cradles, anesthesia machines, universal ventilators, vital signs monitors, among others. See photos: (Radio La Primerisima, 21 March 2023)

Important Bridge in Wiwilí Finished
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has already finished the construction of the Kilambé bridge, 25 meters long, in Wiwilí, Jinotega, which will be inaugurated next Friday. This new bridge facilitates access to the Wiwilí primary hospital, allows land connectivity for 89,039 people in the rainy season and in the dry season, boosts economic development, contributes to poverty reduction and helps to promote stability, peace and prosperity for the families of this productive region. (Radio La Primerisima, 21 March 2023)

Sports Shoes Delivered to School Children
Young community promoters delivered sports shoes in six districts of Managua to children from different schools. During the deliveries made on March 17, the promoters held festivals of traditional games, with piñata breaking, balloons and candy favors. See photos: (Radio La Primerisima, 18 March 2023)

Evangelical Crusade with More than 40,000 People
The Good News Evangelistic Crusade was a success with more than 40,000 people from 13 municipalities attending. The spiritual crusade closed the night of March 18 in Chinandega. See photos: (TN8TV, 19 March 2023)