MEXICO CITY (AP) – Several of the 94 Nicaraguan opposition members who were stripped of their nationality last month by the government of Daniel Ortega, considering them “traitors to the fatherland”, asked the Inter-American Commission on Friday of human rights to support them. and protection of human beings (IACHR).

During an ex officio hearing of the IACHR, held in Los Angeles as part of its 186th session, the Commission indicated in a report that 31 of the 94 people declared “stateless” on February 16 are over the age of 60 and that they were also deprived of their old age pensions to which they are entitled under the law.

“I am 69 years old and have been working since I was 18. My pension has been canceled and I am in exile,” said journalist and feminist activist Sofía Montenegro, one of those affected by the citizenship stripping. , in a video shown at the session.

Besides Montenegro, which fled the country after learning of the unprecedented court decision, exiled journalists Lucía Pineda and Aníbal Toruño were deprived of their homes in Nicaragua, which passed into state hands, like those of the other 91 people affected. .

“The forced transfer is a crime against humanity,” warned lawyer Uriel Pineda, based in Mexico and also described as “stateless” by the Nicaraguan government. Pineda asked the IACHR for “precautionary measures for all those concerned” in order to be able to count on “international protection”.

The stripping of Nicaraguan nationality and the confiscation of assets have been applied to, among others, the renowned writer Sergio Ramírez, the poet Gioconda Belli, as well as 22 journalists, lawyers, social activists and human rights defenders exiled since the social events of 2018.

Several countries have offered residency and citizenship to affected Nicaraguans, including Spain, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.

Also affected by the withdrawal of nationality are 222 opponents released from prison and deported to the United States on February 9, including seven former presidential candidates in the 2021 elections, when Ortega was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term.

According to the IACHR, at least 87 of the 316 “stateless” people are beneficiaries of provisional measures from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court of Human Rights) and about ten benefit from provisional measures from the IACHR.

The commission pointed out that the withdrawal of nationality also affects the children, grandchildren and other relatives of those concerned, who since then have lived enduring “the threats and the siege of the police” inside Nicaragua.

The report cites the case of a young woman who was issued “a new birth certificate, having erased the surname of the father”, which now affects her procedures in her current country of residence.

“Withdrawing their nationality and deleting their names from public records has an impact on the identity and lives of people and their children,” said Esmeralda de Troitiño, IACHR rapporteur for Nicaragua.

He indicated that countries that are signatories to the Convention against Statelessness should welcome those affected, for which he urged Nicaraguans to “explore” alternative citizenship in these countries.

“The loss of nationality is tantamount to the death of civilians and it is a serious crime,” warned Commissioner Joel Hernández, who accompanied the IACHR on its first visits to Nicaragua in 2018, to document human rights violations. man during the state’s crackdown on civic protests.

For her part, Carla Sequeira, lawyer and human rights defender, also in exile, pleaded for the life and integrity of 37 “political prisoners” – 36 men and one woman – still incarcerated, including the Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez and detainee Fanor Alejandro Ramos, who refused to board the plane leaving for exile on February 9.

“We ask the IACHR to continue to accompany the victims with precautionary measures in a diligent manner,” said Braulio Abarca, of the Nicaraguan human rights group Nunca Más.

Following the hearing, Commission President Margarette May Macaulay said the Nicaraguan government had acted “illegally and in violation of existing laws”, and promised that the IACHR would continue to “work diligently to attempt to correct these serious and disproportionate violations against the Nicaraguan people.

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