Strengthening Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Nicaragua


The present proposal reaffirms Switzerland’s commitment to foster democracy, protect human rights and restore the Rule of Law in a fragile environment in Nicaragua. As a pillar of its exit strategy towards 2024, SDC supports and strengthens links between national and international human rights mechanisms in a WOGA approach together with the FDFA’s Political Directorate and the Embassies in the US and Costa Rica. SDC continues the dialogue with the government by offering training and advice on conflict transformation and dealing with the past.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Nicaragua
Governance
Human rights
Democratic participation and civil society
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
01.12.2018 - 31.03.2024
CHF  5’350’000
Background

In Nicaragua, human rights and Rule of Law continue to deteriorate since the political crisis in 2018 which remains unresolved. Institutional and economic fragility is further increasing with the impact of COVID-19. In the short term, there is little prospect of reform to restore the independence of the powers of the state and the credibility of its democratic institutions. It is, however, fundamental to preserve spaces, voice and instruments for the protection of human rights in a fragile and authoritarian environment. The electoral process of 2021 may open some windows for gradual political change. This proposal, with a focus on strengthening governance and human rights, is a central pillar of SDC’s exit strategy in Central America towards 2024.

 

The fostering of peace and human rights is a general interest of Switzerland. It is anchored in the Swiss Constitution and represents a priority of Swiss foreign policy. Switzerland’s added value in Nicaragua lays, on the one hand, in a systemic approach providing support and fostering coordinated action among key players of the human rights system on the universal, regional and national levels. On the other hand, Switzerland acts in the spirit of WOGA. The Swiss Embassies in San José and Washington D.C., and the FDFA’s Political Directorate (PD) in Bern, are accompanying the SDC program with policy dialogue and interventions in bilateral and multilateral fora. Switzerland’s engagement for human rights carries also high symbolic value due to its proven impartiality and moral credibility earned over half a century of mutual cooperation with Nicaragua. Moreover, Switzerland’s human rights program is closely coordinated with activities of the European Union (EU).

Objectives Preserve and enhance democratic spaces that strengthen the respect for human rights and contribute to a way out of fragility in an authoritarian context.
Target groups

Right Holders: 25,000 people (65% women) in situation of vulnerability with emphasis on youth and women who are direct victims of human rights violations, both in Nicaragua and among displaced Nicaraguans in Costa Rica.

Advocacy organizations:

13 specialised organisations

8 protection networks

13 social movements

 

Duty Bearers:

Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman

Supreme Electoral Council

Medium-term outcomes

1:    Duty bearers and right holders develop their capacities for the defense, protection and promotion of human rights and the transformation of conflict in Nicaragua.

2.    Human rights defense organizations prevent and mitigate the impact of human rights violations on populations in vulnerable conditions.

Results

Expected results:  

-    Cases of human rights violations in Nicaragua documented according to international standards for the pursuit of justice;

-    Strategic litigation initiated at national and international courts increase awareness of HR violations in Nicaragua and exercise pressure on state authorities; 

-    Human rights situation in Nicaragua is known and discussed in national and international fora and sensitizes public opinion;

-    Collaborative work increases the political incidence of national, regional and international human rights organizations; 

-    Strengthened networks protect the most vulnerable population of the effects of human rights violations; 

-    OHCHR builds capacities on international HR standards within public institutions. 


Results from previous phases:  

-    20,715 human rights violations documented;

-    OHCHR reports to the Human Rights Council in Geneva; 

-    Comisión Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Nicaragua (CPDH), Centro Nicaragüense de los Derechos Humanos (CENIDH) and Centro por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nic. (CEJUDHCAN) quarterly reports to Inter American Comission for Human Rights (IACHR) and shadow reports to UPR-2019;

-    CEJUDHCAN: Follow-up report on precautionary measures submitted to the IACHR-May 2019.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Other International Organization
Private sector
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Other OI
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • UNHCHR


Other partners

-    Ayuda en Acción Foundation; 

-    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; 

-    Organization of American States.

Coordination with other projects and actors

European Union (EU): Joint Programming.

Regional Human Rights Programme (implemented by Cooperation Office in Honduras): Complemented by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights “Mecanismo Especial de Seguimiento para Nicaragua” (MESENI-IACHR) and OHCHR.

This proposal promotes the respect for human rights, democracy and Rule of Law in a complementary logic with the other SDC programs of the governance domain in Nicaragua: "Strengthening Civil Society" and "Society, Culture and Memory" – programs that aim at the same goal from different thematic angles, and with different partners and intervention models. Together they form a coherent approach to advance SDC’s governance domain in Nicaragua.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’350’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’049’840