France calls on the Nicaraguan Government to preserve the national dialogue process [fr]
The situation in Nicaragua
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 5 September 2018
As this is the first time I am taking the floor in the Security Council during the month of September, allow me to begin by warmly congratulating the United Kingdom on its presidency of the Council in August and wishing every success to the United States presidency. It can rest assured of the resolute support of France and on my support, in particular.
First of all, I would like to thank our two briefers, Mr. Gonzalo Koncke, Chief of Staff to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, and Mr. Felix Maradiaga, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence of Nicaragua, for their very insightful briefings. I would also like to welcome the Nicaraguan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Denis Moncada, to the Council.
Since last April, there have been more than 300 deaths and 2,000 injuries in Nicaragua as a result of the violent suppression of demonstrations and numerous incidents. Once again, the Council faces a crisis with potential regional consequences, in particular in terms of the movement of people, including refugees. It is clear that the Council has the responsibility to support and assist conflict-prevention diplomacy in this and other crisis situations, while maintaining a watchful eye on the situation, without ideology and in full respect for the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. France has had the opportunity, either in public or in private face-to-face meetings with the Nicaraguan authorities, to express its expectations for a peaceful settlement of the current situation. Today, I will focus on three aspects of the crisis that deserve our full attention.
The first and perhaps most urgent issue is an end to the repression. France calls on the Nicaraguan Government to put an end to arbitrary arrests, the excessive use of force and all pressure exerted on demonstrators, human rights defenders and persons critical of the Government, including through violent groups. In that regard, we strongly condemn the violence perpetrated by paramilitary units, in particular the kidnapping on 20 August of attorney Carlos Cárdenas Zepeda, and the intimidation and arrests of representatives of trade unions and human rights organizations. It is the primary responsibility of the Government to ensure the safety of its people and respect for their rights. All judicial proceedings against persons who have been arrested must be conducted according to the rule of law. If they are not, the Nicaraguan authorities will gradually lose all legitimacy and the stability of the Nicaraguan State will ultimately be undermined. More than ever, France believes that respect for fundamental rights is the cornerstone of legitimacy and political stability in Nicaragua and elsewhere.
My second point concerns national dialogue. France calls on the Nicaraguan Government to preserve the national dialogue process, which was launched under the auspices of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua. The national dialogue is essential to a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the current crisis and to progress in discussions on democratization and justice. We deplore the fact that it has stalled. It should be noted that the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy has officially requested the resumption of such dialogue and the Episcopal Conference has recently expressed its readiness to pursue its mediation work. It is now up to the Nicaraguan Government to take this opportunity to start a credible national dialogue process, without preconditions, with the aim of resolving the crisis peacefully.
Thirdly, a lasting improvement in the situation in Nicaragua will depend on close cooperation with multilateral organizations, primarily the Organization of American States and the United Nations. In that regard, France deplores the decision of the Nicaraguan authorities to request the departure of the mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights following the publication of its report on the situation in Nicaragua. We call on the Nicaraguan authorities to reconsider their decision and cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner, in accordance with its mandate and independence. Such cooperation is essential to identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice.
France has therefore expressed its support for the establishment of an autonomous and independent international investigation mechanism, as recommended by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua, which was established in June, must, under the supervision of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, shed light on issues of extreme gravity. We also welcome the establishment of the Verification and Security Commission — to include 12 members of the national dialogue, representatives of the Church, the United Nations, the Organization of American States the Inter-American Commission and the European Union — to verify the establishment of conditions for peace in the country.
It is true that mechanisms for resolving the crisis not only exist but are within reach. We therefore strongly encourage the Nicaraguan Government to use them in order to return Nicaragua to the path of prosperity and political stability to which its people aspire.