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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Nicaragua
Represented by three-member, delegation headed by Mrs. Ana Isabel Morales MAZÚN, Minister of Interior.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Nicaragua page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Gabon, the Republic of Korea and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Nicaragua page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • While recalling the devastating earthquake of 10 April in Nicaragua, the head of delegation said her Government’s presence at today’s meeting was a testament of its commitment to advancing human rights.  As a result of the disaster, some 500 families were made homeless and some 2,640 houses damaged; the Government has been addressing the needs of those most severely affected;
  • Nicaragua was the second poorest country in Latin America, nevertheless, the Government focussed its efforts to returning economic and social rights to the people in compliance with recommendations posed during the first UPR of the State in 2010;
  • Since its first UPR, Nicaragua acceded to several international treaties including: the OPCAT, the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; ILO conventions 169 (indigenous) and 189 (domestic workers), the OP to the CRPD; and the Protocol on San Salvador on economic, social and cultural rights;
  • In January 2014, partial reforms of the Constitution were approved through which social security was broadened for the people of Nicaragua; The National Development Plan was also being implemented in earnest, as were other national macro-economic policies;
  • In 2013 the FAO conference in Rome commended the reduction of malnutrition rates from 55.1% to 20.1% from 2010 to 2012; Nicaragua also made progress in eradicating poverty, with extreme poverty reduced from 17.2 % to 14.6 % from 2005 to 2009;
  • Renewable resources were being employed at an increasing rate; by 2020 the State endeavoured to have 90% clean energy; Nicaragua was in third place within Latin American countries for renewable energy index; Nicaragua was also ranked 8th globally on the “Happiness Planet Index”;
  • The Zero Hunger Programme benefited some 110,000 families; the programme was declared as a programme of good practice by the United Nations; Additional investments have been made and progress recorded in the health sector, including a reduction in maternal mortality rates;
  • Basic and pre-school education was also enhanced; school enrolment rates have increased and school dropout rates reduced; illiteracy rates have also dropped from 16.5% in 2006 to 3% in 2013;
  • To better protect the rights of children, there were some 33,000 volunteers working on the “Love Programme” which aimed to assist vulnerable children and children at risk;
  • The Law on Equality further enhanced the role of women in society.  In 2013, UN Women placed Nicaragua in 9th place with the largest number of women in ministerial posts. Combatting violence against women was also a priority of the Government which enacted a relevant new law in 2012;
  • Safe drinking water and sanitation coverage increased from 72% in 2007 to 84% in 2010.  The Government re-established the right to indigenous people in 21 territories, or some 30% of the territory;
  • Nicaragua had the lowest indicator for crime and theft in Latin America; efforts have been made to rehabilitate prison inmates and to address prison overcrowding, a priority of the States for which a number of measures have been taken, including assistance from the European Union.

Participants

In total 77 States participated in the dialogue:  33 HRC members and 44 observers  (Statements available on Nicaragua page on the UPR Extranet **).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Efforts made towards the reduction of poverty and extreme poverty through the adoption of the National Human Development Plan 2013 – 2017 and the fact that Nicaragua had met ahead of time the goal set at the 1996 World Food Summit to halve the number of undernourished persons by 2015;
  • The implementation of a law on femicide and other forms of violence against women included in the Comprehensive Law against Violence against Women (Law 779);
  • The steps undertaken to improve the overall human rights situation in the country since its last review;
  • The ratification of the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, the Convention against Torture, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and ILO Conventions 189 on domestic workers and 169 on indigenous people;
  • Efforts to increase participation of women in the political, legislative, economic and social spheres;
  • The strengthening of the healthcare system and the re-establishment of free public education.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The ban of all forms of abortions, even in cases where the life of health of the woman is at risk, or in cases of rape;
  • The erosion of freedom of expression, including reports of harassment of journalists and independent media;
  • The continued reports of excessive use of force by the police and rape, torture, ill-treatment against persons held in police custody;
  • The definition  of torture;
  • Recent retrogressive amendments to law 779 that have seriously undermined it and delays in its implementation;
  • Access of women and girls to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Nicaragua.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To ensure protection for freedom of expression, of assembly and of information through independence and plurality of the media;
  • To modify the penal code in order to restore access to legal and safe therapeutic abortion and to decriminalize it;
  • To ensure prompt, thorough, independent and transparent investigations into all allegations of rape, torture or other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials;
  • To continue efforts towards reducing poverty;
  • To take steps to eradicate discrimination against people of African descent and indigenous peoples;
  • To take all necessary measures to protect journalists and human rights defenders  from intimidation and harassment;
  • To align the definition of torture in national legislation with that of the Convention against Torture;
  • To allocate the necessary budget to allow for proper and prompt implementation of la 779 on violence against women;
  • To continue monitoring and fighting trafficking in persons
  • To enhance cooperation and involvement of indigenous people in decision making and to ensure that their best interests are ensured in carrying out large scale national development projects.
  • To ensure access to safe and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the CAT; the Rome Statute; the CPED;the OP to the CEDAW; the OP to the CRC on individual complaints; the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Inter-country Adoption; the UNESCO Convention against discrimination in education; and the OP to the CESCR.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Nicaragua is scheduled to take place on Friday, 9 May 2014.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
                       Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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