“We want peace in Nicaragua”
ACT statement calls for resumption of dialogue after violence
(LWI) The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), together with LWF member church The Nicaraguan Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope (Iglesia Luterana Fé y Esperanza, ILFE) and other non-governmental organizations and churches, has signed a statement of the ACT Forum Nicaragua, which denounces the ongoing violence in the Central American country saying it ‘violates the rights of the Nicaraguan population with different types of aggression’. “We want peace in Nicaragua,” says Bishop Dr Victoria Cortez Rodriguez of ILFE.
On 18 April, demonstrations broke out in several cities of Nicaragua against President Daniel Ortega's cuts to pensions and social security. An estimated 120 people died in the crackdown that followed.
Call to respect human rights
The ACT Forum Nicaragua, bringing together 11 faith-based organizations, has been closely monitoring the situation. Deeply concerned about the infringements of human rights, the forum, in a statement, reaffirms the need for reconciliation, peace and democracy in the country. The coalition calls for a “resumption of the peace dialogue with the inclusion of all sectors of Nicaraguan society, in an open, honest and respectful manner.”
The forum urges the government to implement the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The commission developed fifteen recommendations for Nicaragua to implement to safeguard human rights. They include dismantling paramilitary groups and an immediate end to the repression and detention of protestors.
The ACT forum encourages the government to allow a special rapporteur of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entry in order to guarantee the right to truth and justice.
The faith-based coalition requests the media to report “truthfully, responsibly and impartially,” while condemning “any aggression to any means of communication.”
Please pray for us and for our leaders to commit to a dialogue for peace.
ACT Forum in solidarity with affected families
Bishop Cortez says her community feels nervous. “We do not know what is going to happen," she notes, and adds that the high number of dead and wounded generates “a very tense climate and fear at different levels of society.”
Every Sunday the Lutheran community gathers to sing and pray. Bishop Cortez asks faith communities across the world to join hands in prayer and to show their solidarity with the Nicaraguan people. "Please pray for us and for our leaders to commit to a dialogue for peace,” the Bishop says.
The ACT forum says, “We stand in solidarity and make our own the pain experienced by families who have lost a loved one due to violence and intolerance.”
The ACT Forum Nicaragua reiterates its “solidarity and accompaniment to all expressions in favor of reconciliation based on justice” and that it prays “for the conflict in Nicaragua to cease, the doors to understanding to open, the rights of all to be respected and the welfare of each person to be guaranteed.”