Brussels, 22 March 2022 | The National Assembly of Nicaragua issued last week a decree law effective today (Monday 21 March 2022), revoking the legal personality of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung’s partner organisation “Centro Humboldt” and 24 other non-profit civil associations and organisations, de facto banning them. The Parliament’s decision is based, among other things, on the absurd accusation of non-compliance with “Law No. 977” on money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This and other laws are explicitly drafted so that the government and parliament can restrict civil society organisations whose work is deemed critical of the regime on the basis of bureaucratic pretexts or effectively ban them by depriving them of their legal personality and freezing their accounts.
Centro Humboldt is a non-profit organisation with 32 years of experience assisting families and communities in Nicaragua affected by climate change. The environmental organisation, which is also internationally renowned, has been producing scientific studies on the impact of the climate crisis on Nicaragua and Central America for decades and is one of the most important voices of democratic, Central American civil society in the context of the UN Climate Conferences (COPs). The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung has worked with Centro Humboldt on climate justice issues for more than 20 years, at the local, regional, and international levels.
Barbara Unmüßig, President of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, stated:
“The brutal repression by the Ortega regime, which has been going on for years, reaches another sad climax with this all-out attack on democratic civil society, and it is no coincidence that it is taking place in the slipstream of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine – Nicaragua was one of a handful of countries worldwide to abstain in the UN General Assembly vote to condemn Russia’s attack.
We strongly condemn the arbitrary suspension of Centro Humboldt’s legal personality and call on Nicaragua’s National Assembly to reverse its politically motivated decision and absurd insinuations. Above all, we urge the Nicaraguan government to lift the travel restrictions imposed on Centro Humboldt team members, issued in a bizarre analogy to the times of the Iron Curtain. Centro Humboldt bases its work as an outstanding part of the independent and democratic civil society of Nicaragua and Central America on the fundamental values of international law, which Nicaragua has also formally recognised. With this ban, Nicaragua gambles away its legitimacy as a recipient country and credible partner for funds from international climate finance.”
NB: The original version of Barbara Unmüßig’s quote stated that Nicaragua voted against the UN condemnation of Russia’s attack against Ukraine – we have corrected the error and apologise.
Michael Alvarez Kalverkamp