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Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2004 - Nicaragua

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 14 April 2005
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2004 - Nicaragua, 14 April 2005, available at: [accessed 20 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Slander and harassment of the CENIDH and its president, Mrs. Vilma Núñez184

On 21 October 2004, an editorial written by Mr. Robert Zelaya Blanco, a government employee working for the national ports authority, and published in the newspaper La Bolsa de Noticias, launched serious accusations against the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Centro Nicaragüense para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos – CENIDH) and its president, Mrs. Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia, who was victim of a campaign to harass and discredit her. Among other accusations, the CENIDH was accused of covering human rights violations perpetrated by over 50,000 political prisoners and acts of international terrorism. These accusations have had a serious impact on the reputation and work of the CENIDH, and particularly those of its president, and exposed them to reactions that could endanger their lives as well as their personal integrity.

These acts were allegedly provoked by the CENIDH's work in favour of human rights. In particular, the CENIDH denounced Mr. Zelaya Blanco's lack of effectiveness in the affair of the Puerto Cabezas and Bilwi harbour in the autonomous region of the North Atlantic. On 18 October 2004, it also criticized the government's recent use of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, through which the government invoked a possible interruption of constitutional and democratic order so that the Organisation of American States (OAS) would intervene; these manoeuvres were aimed at distracting public opinion from the investigations into the funding of the 2001 electoral campaign. Furthermore, in an article dated 27 October 2004, La Bolsa de Noticias published new information according to which a group of former political prisoners was involved in negotiations with the United States embassy in order to make sure that no visa allowing Mrs. Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia to enter that country would be issued.

The CENIDH had already been the object of a campaign to discredit and harass it in 2001 following which the IACHR accorded protective measures for Mrs. Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia.185

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website ( was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

184. See Open Letter to the Nicaraguan authorities, 5 November 2004.

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