SG Thomas E. Garrett supports OAS Member States Declaration on the Immediate Release of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua

I strongly support the statement of the 26 Organization of American States Members, which include among them eight Member States of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, the United States, and Uruguay) in calling for Nicaragua to release all political prisoners.  Many are held today by the Ortega-Murillo government following closed trials, which violated many basic legal tenets.  The unjustly convicted activist Hugo Torres has died of ill-treatment in a Nicaraguan prison, and many others face similar dangers.
I join the call by those OAS Member States asking the Nicaraguan government to release those men and women arrested and sentenced to prison for simply speaking for democracy and human rights.

Declaration on the Immediate Release of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua

by the following member states of the Organization of American States at a Special Meeting of the Permanent Council on Friday, February 18, 2022:

Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States and Uruguay.

We, the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) that make this declaration in the Permanent Council, know that all the nations of our hemisphere strongly uphold the human rights of all our peoples, particularly the rights to life, liberty and security of the person, and that no one should be subjected to cruel, inhumane, or degrading punishment or treatment.

These rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights.

We are deeply disturbed by the death in Nicaragua on February 12 of Hugo Torres, a political prisoner detained, since his arrest last June, in inhumane conditions, like so many others who are being imprisoned for their political views. The circumstances of his arrest and his untimely death are a painful injustice to him and his bereaved family, and an affront to the values to which our nations subscribe.

We recall that this Permanent Council recognized, on several occasions through its resolutions adopted since June 2018, the grave and deteriorating conditions of human rights in Nicaragua and continuously offered assistance to help remedy the situation despite being rebuffed by the Government.

As recently as December 8, this Council called for the immediate release of all political prisoners being held in Nicaragua.

When OAS members adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter in 2001, they agreed that democracy is indispensable for the stability, peace, and development of our region and committed to work together to defend democracy wherever its fundamental values and principles have collapsed.

The situation in Nicaragua is a challenge to these values and principles. Our organization, and we the member states of the OAS, cannot be complacent by inaction.

None of us can stand silent in the face of the unfolding tragedy in Nicaragua, where human suffering is escalating as the political, civil and human rights, which all our nations hold dear, are being ignored, eroded and violated.

We regard the continuing detention of political prisoners as a serious infringement of the common values to which all member states of the OAS have declared their adherence.

Together, we raise our voices in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua, with the victims of human rights abuses, and with the members of their families, in reiterating our strong conviction that all political prisoners in Nicaragua must be released immediately.