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In November 2021, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega was appointed for his fourth consecutive term. In the past few years, the government has repressed its political opponents, human rights defenders, protestors and journalists. Political prisoners are forced to live amid overcrowding and suffer precarious health and hygiene conditions, poor nutrition and continuous inhumane and degrading treatment inflicted by officials. Women are particularly affected by poor prison conditions, as they are subjected to recurrent assaults that are often encouraged by guards and carried out by ordinary prisoners. Sexual torture is a systematic practice against political prisoners, women in particular.
Nicaragua fails to protect women more generally. There has been a steady increase in the number of femicides in the country amid a lack of criminal sanctions. The absence of State measures to eradicate violence against women perpetuates the vulnerability of women. The government persecutes women's rights organisations and has revoked the legal status of many of them. The authorities have also cracked down against civil society organisations, the media, human rights defenders and journalists. This fosters a climate of fear amongst those who speak out. Indigenous peoples are the subject to attacks by non-indigenous settlers (kidnappings, homicides, sexual assaults, threats and the burning of homes).
Since the expulsion of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) staff in late 2018, the authorities have denied access to the country to international human rights monitors and refuse to collaborate with UN treaty bodies. In July 2022, Nicaragua refused to attend the State’s review by the Committee against Torture, questioning the experts’ integrity and legitimacy.