AMERICA/NICARAGUA - 16 non-governmental organizations dissolved, including some Catholic organizations

Thursday, 18 January 2024

Managua (Agenzia Fides) - A few days after the release of 19 Catholic Bishops, priests and seminarians (see Fides, 15/1/2024) detained in the prisons of Managua, it became known that sixteen non-governmental organizations, including ten Catholic or Protestant Christian organizations have had their legal status revoked. According to local press reports, the movable or immovable property of the NGOs accused of using funds from donations received to attempt to overthrow President Daniel Ortega during the demonstrations that broke out in April 2018 will be transferred to the State. The Ministry of Interior said that nine NGOs were banned for failing to comply with regulations applicable to them and for obstructing the monitoring and control measures ordered by the authorities. However, seven other NGOs have voluntarily requested their dissolution. Their assets will be confiscated. In this context, the Sandinistas, in power since 2006, explained that the ban on these NGOs was part of a process, since not all of the 7,227 NGOs registered in Nicaragua in 2018 were operational. In the same year that popular protests against the reform of the pension system broke out, over 3,500 NGOs were dissolved by the government in Managua.
In a report last April 2023, Amnesty International complained that regulations restricting freedom of association and expression have come into force over the past five years, and that human rights organizations have been subjected to smear campaigns, illegal interventions and criminalization. According to Amnesty International, recent methods used to limit the ability of civil society actors to act include withdrawal of legal recognition, raids on offices and confiscation of property and equipment. In addition, social and economic instability has forced thousands of people to leave Nicaragua. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 18/1/2023)