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 © Diana Ulloa/AFPGetty Images

19th July 2018, 16:12:37 UTC

Nicaraguan authorities have responded violently to demonstrations taking place throughout the country by repressing protesters, and violating their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Amnesty International has continued to monitor and document the grave human rights crisis in the country and can confirm that state repression and violence have intensified in recent weeks. According to the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH), the number of people killed, most at the hands of the police and pro-government armed groups, has risen to over 190. The harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is continuing, as are restrictions on access to the right to health of injured protesters.

Since 18 April, protests have taken place mobilising hundreds of people from different sectors of society that were in disagreement with reforms to the social security system.

On 20 April, at least three public hospitals refused to treat people who were gravely injured during the demonstrations, including 15-year-old Álvaro Conrado, who was shot while handing out water to protesters. Security guards allegedly denied Álvaro access to the Cruz Azul public hospital and he died later that day at the private Bautista hospital. Staff there told Amnesty International that he could have survived if he had been treated sooner.

The repressive actions of the Nicaraguan government have reached deplorable levels after one of the bloodiest weekends since the repression of protests began almost three months ago. At least 17 people were killed in Matagalpa, Jinotepe and Diriamba on 7 and 8 July, most of them by police and pro-government armed groups. In addition, the arbitrary detention of dozens of people was reported.

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