Costa Rica on Monday joined Honduras, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, all of them belonging to the Lima Group, as well as Uruguay and Ecuador, demanding the “immediate cessation of acts of violence, intimidation and threats” in Nicaragua and the “dismantling of paramilitary groups.”
The joint statement was made during the meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Brussels, Belgium.
The 12 also urge the Nicaraguan government to “reactivate the national dialogue” that “involves all parties to generate peaceful and sustainable solutions” and express their support to the bishops in their work “in favor of the search and promotion of solutions to the conflict.”
The government of Daniel Ortega and “other social actors” must demonstrate, in their opinion, their “commitment” with concrete results on the “fundamental challenges of the country,” such as “the holding of free, fair and timely elections” in Nicaragua, according to the declaration.
In Costa Rica on Monday afternoon, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that groups linked to Nicaragua’s government were using “unacceptable” lethal force against citizens, and urged an end to the violence in almost three months of protests.
For Guterres, “the use of lethal force is not only unacceptable, but is itself an obstacle to achieving a political solution to the current crisis. It’s essential to immediately halt the violence and rebuild national political dialogue. Only a political solution is acceptable.”
Guterres is in the country for the 40th Anniversary of the entry into force of the American Convention on Human Rights and the creation of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).
The IACHR is based in San Jose.
At Casa Presidencial in Zapote, together with Costa Rica president Carlos Alvarado, Guterres reiterated his call for the end of the violence in the neighboring country.
— Carlos Alvarado Q. (@CarlosAlvQ) July 16, 2018
The Portuguese diplomat who is serving as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, stressed that “it is an essential responsibility of the State to protect its citizens, and this basic principle cannot be forgotten, especially when unfortunately we have a death toll that is absolutely shocking.”
He said he has been in contact with authorities of the Central American Integration System (SICA), considering that the problems in a country are best resolved when neighboring nations lead the multilateral effort.
In anticipation of Guterres’ arrival in the country, seven former presidents of Costa Rica signed a letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General. “We request your valuable intervention so that the United Nations, with the information of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the resolution of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, intervenes to promote a solution that will restore, as soon as possible, peace and democracy in Nicaragua,” the letter indicates.