On 9 February 2023, Amnesty International received information that 222 Nicaraguan citizens, formerly being held under arbitrary detention in Nicaragua for exercising their rights, had been stripped of their nationality and deported to the United States.
According to Nicaraguan officials, this responds to a judicial resolution issued on 8 February. The order strips the 222 people of their rights as Nicaraguan citizens, prevents them from holding public office in Nicaragua in perpetuity, and orders their deportation.
‘Those detained spent days, months and years in arbitrary detention, under extreme conditions, and today have been forced into exile solely for demanding human rights.’Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director, Amnesty International
“While we share our excitement at the fact that those removed to the United States are no longer behind bars in Nicaragua, we are shocked and saddened that their detention has culminated in such a disturbing fashion,” said Erika-Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. “Those detained spent days, months and years in arbitrary detention, under extreme conditions, and today have been forced into exile solely for demanding human rights.”
Five years of repression
The 222 people expelled from Nicaragua join tens of thousands of others who have been forced into exile from the country. In this context, the international community should be under no illusion. The devastating human rights crisis in the country that began with severe repression of protests in April 2018 is not over. Restrictions on freedom of expression and the press remain in force. Dozens of individuals reportedly remain in arbitrary detention. Restrictions on the right to protest and the right to freedom of association are still in effect; and the human rights violations and crimes against humanity that have been committed in the context of the crisis remain in total impunity. The international community must redouble its efforts and push for a Nicaragua in which justice and human rights are guaranteed for all.
While we welcome the decision of the United States to offer protection for those who have faced expulsion from Nicaragua, we are concerned that the expansion of Title 42 and other restrictive immigration policies to Nicaraguans in recent weeks may prevent them and others at risk from exercising their right to seek and receive asylum. We call on US authorities to uphold the right to asylum for all those forcibly expelled from Nicaragua today, and for others in need of protection, regardless of the existence of other pathways.”
The Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua registered 235 people detained for exercising their rights in the country since April 2018 prior to the deportations that took place on 9 February. According to local organizations, dozens may still remain in detention.