“In November 2017, the SCA noted that the May 2014 Universal Periodic Review outcome report recommended that Nicaragua to guarantee a safe and enabling environment for journalists and human rights defenders, and ensure that all cases of attacks against them are investigated by independent and impartial bodies. The SCA noted at that time that the PDDH had indicated that it has not received any complaints about attacks against human rights defenders and other human rights violations. 

The SCA encouraged the PDDH to provide information about the actions it has taken in relation to the protection of human rights defenders and reports of attacks against these individuals. 

The SCA acknowledges that the PDDH indicates that, “in Nicaragua, there is a secure and suitable environment for journalists and defenders of human rights (…) and that there have been no cases of harassment, persecution or assault due to their work against journalists, human rights defenders or anyone due to political, ideological or religious beliefs”. Further, the PDDH indicated that it has “an excellent and exemplary level of citizen security and an environment that enables the work of human rights defenders in Nicaragua, thanks to the accurate preventative police model (…) implemented by the national police”. 

The SCA acknowledges that the PDDH is currently operating in a complex and volatile context. However, the SCA is of the view that the response provided demonstrates an unwillingness to address fundamental human rights issues in a fulsome and independent way. 

An NHRI’s mandate should be interpreted in a broad, liberal and purposive manner to promote a progressive definition of human rights which includes all rights set out in international, regional and domestic instruments. NHRIs are expected to promote and ensure respect for all human rights, democratic principles and the strengthening of the rule of law in all circumstances, and without exception. Where serious violations of human rights are imminent, NHRIs are expected to conduct themselves with a heightened level of vigilance and independence. 

In fulfilling its protection mandate, an NHRI must not only monitor, investigate and report on the human rights situation in the country, it should also undertake rigorous and systematic follow-up activities to promote and advocate for the implementation of its recommendations and findings, and the protection of those whose rights were found to be violated.”