Brussels, 25 September 2020
Dear Mr. José Daniel Ortega Saavedra
Honorable President of the Republic of Nicaragua
We, the members of the European Parliament who have signed this letter, are writing with concern about the forthcoming approval of the “Law on Regulation of Foreign Agents”, that is about to be approved in the National Assembly next Tuesday, 29th September, 2020.
This law, introduced by Deputies of the Alianza Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional on Tuesday 22nd September 2020, intends to oblige each person, organization or institution that receive funds from abroad, to be registered with the Ministry of the Interior (Migob) and submit to financial monitoring under the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF). This measure is not supported by any study or risk analysis and would violate, among other rights, the Constitutional rights to privacy of information, right to work and freedom of association.
This law may also become a real limitation for the political participation of movements, organizations or associations, which for some reason receive international financing for development projects. As these organisations would be conceived as “Foreign Agents” with the alleged purpose of putting the security of the country at risk, they would not be able to apply for a candidacy in elections, and by that, their right to political participation would be limited. This is a serious violation of human rights, and above all, this comes in the context of increasing polarisation and a climate of intimidation and threat as felt by human rights defenders.
Over the past 40 years, the joint action of civil society in Nicaragua and Europe was at the basis of the social model that intended to leave behind the previous dictatorship, so that it never returned. This joint action was based on trust, confidentiality and freedom of speech and information. Financial support has always been necessary, as is the official development aid until today. One kind of aid cannot exist without the other.
We believe in a lively civil society, the need to discuss, to agree or to disagree. Repression of the opposition and silencing their voices is not the way forward. Dialogue is. We have taken note of the severe concern expressed by organisations and NGOs against this law, and we would expect that their voices are heard.
For all the above, we very much hope and urge you Mr President of the Republic to not adopt the proposed law.
Diana Riba i Giner
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica
José Ramón Bauzá Díaz
Leopoldo López Gil
Petra De Sutter
Full letter here: