Standing in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua

We in SCIAF stand in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua at this time of great violence and unrest. We have been working with poor communities in the country for over 30 years through local partners, supporting children with disabilities, helping families to grow more food and earn an income, and providing vocational training for young people.

We are shocked and gravely concerned by the violent repression of the peaceful demonstrations in Nicaragua.

Since 18th April, non-violent public protests against reforms to the national social security system have been violently attacked by the Sandinista government and pro-government paramilitary groups, leaving over 200 people dead.

The government’s response to the peaceful protests has included beatings, arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearances, persecution and assassination. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has expressed alarm about the situation and strongly condemns the use of force by the state.

We are proud to see the leadership, courage and wisdom of the Catholic Church as it supports the Nicaraguan people and brokers peace. The Catholic Bishops Conference has led calls on the government to end the repression, violence and abductions. It has accepted the role of mediator in a process of national dialogue to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Often at great personal risk, Church representatives - priests, bishops, and staff - have also played crucial roles in dioceses and parishes to defend and protect human rights, and respond to humanitarian needs by making their churches, cathedrals and offices available as shelters for sanctuary against the violence, and providing food, water and basic emergency medical care to those in need.

We in SCIAF:

• stand in solidarity with the Nicaraguan Church and their calls for peace, dialogue and reconciliation

• are monitoring the situation closely and responding to the humanitarian needs with our partners

• urge the Nicaraguan government to respect the right to peaceful demonstration, and all sides to immediately stop all acts of violence

• urge the UK government and international community to do everything they can to insist that the Nicaraguan government respects the right to peaceful demonstration, and immediately stops all acts of violence by armed forces, the police and civilian groups related to the government.

We join in prayer with the people and Church of Nicaragua, asking for calm, peace, security, and justice in the country, so that the people can finally enjoy a life free of repression, in dignity, peace, and harmony.

Please keep the people of Nicaragua in your prayers at this difficult time.