Peace Brigades International organises a webinar that will focus on the issue of police violence featuring defenders from Kenya, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and Canada sharing their experiences and analysis. One of the featured groups will be Colectivo de Derechos Humanos Nicaragua Nunca Mas (Nicaragua Human Rights Collective Never Again). Colectivo de Derechos Humanos Nicaragua Nunca Mas is a collective organization made up of human rights defenders, that are exiled in Costa Rica and committed to defending human rights in Nicaragua.
Human rights situation in Nicaragua
Human Rights Watch reported in April 2018 on the massive anti-government protests that broke out in Nicaragua. Police, in coordination with armed pro-government groups, brutally repressed them, killing hundreds, and injuring several thousands. “National Police subjected protesters to abuses that at times amounted to torture, including beatings, waterboarding, electric shocks, and rape. Many told the press and Human Rights Watch that they were forced to record self-incriminating videos.”
It adds: “Between April and October 19, the number of Nicaraguans applying for asylum in neighboring Costa Rica increased to 15,584… As of November, another 11,383 people had been given an appointment to seek asylum.”
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has stated that 20% of those in exile are students who took part in protests; 23% are human rights defenders; and 18% are people who helped demonstrators with food, medicine and safe houses. Others are doctors, journalists and former soldiers or police who refused to participate in the crackdown.
PBI accompaniment project in Costa Rica
In March of this year, Peace Brigades International launched an accompaniment project for Nicaraguan organizations, social groups and individual human rights defenders exiled in Costa Rica. It seeks to address the mental health impacts that displacement causes, while also encouraging the building of networks and trust between defenders in similar situations. Coupled with protection and security workshops, PBI hopes this approach will help this community to remain active, denouncing human rights abuse in Nicaragua, despite finding themselves outside the context.