UN decries attacks on democracy and Church in Nicaragua
By Vatican News
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed his grave concern over what he termed the serious obstruction of democratic and civil life in Nicaragua and recent actions taken by the government against civil society organizations, including those of the Catholic Church, such as the overnight raid by national police on the Episcopal headquarters in Matagalpa. Spokesman Farhan Haq conveyed this message during a press conference at the UN.
The spokesman said UN Secretary General Guterres calls once again on the government of Daniel Ortega to ensure the protection of the human rights of all citizens, in particular the universal rights of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, thought, conscience and religion, while calling for the release of all those arbitrarily detained.
Yesterday, the Nicaraguan national police carried out an overnight raid on the Diocesan headquarters of Matagalpa, forcibly taking nine people, including Bishop Rolando Álvarez, and transferring them to Managua. The prelate is now under house arrest at his residence in the Nicaraguan capital, while the other eight are in custody pending investigation.
Messages of solidarity with the Bishop of Matagalpa and the Nicaraguan Church are pouring in from around the world. The action has also been condemned by the Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who spoke of the "repressive forces of the Ortega-Murillo regime" calling for the immediate release of the Bishop of Matagalpa and the others detained, as well as all political prisoners.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an autonomous body of the Organization of American States, has strongly condemned what he describes as the escalation in the repression against members of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua and urges the state to immediately cease these acts by immediately releasing Bishop Rolando Álvarez and the other detained persons.
These events, the IACHR notes "are part of a systematic context of persecution, criminalization, and harassment" against members of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, "because of their role as mediators in the 2018 National Dialogue and their critical role in denouncing human rights violations that have occurred in the context of the country's crisis." The Commission again calls on the Nicaraguan government "to cease its continued attacks against the Catholic Church" and to release "all persons still arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and to immediately cease repression in the country."
Local Church representatives from around the world are expressing their strong solidarity with the Nicaraguan Church in these hours, inviting the faithful to prayer and to an active closeness to the Catholic community in the Central American country.