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Nicaragua establishes truth commission

May 7, 2018

The commission has "complete freedom" to investigate the deaths of 45 people during protests, many of them students. The government has blocked a Latin American human rights organization from launching a probe.

Nicaraguans protest pension reforms
Image: Reuters/J.C. Ulate

Nicaraguan lawmakers on Sunday established a truth commission to investigate the deaths of at least 45 people who were killed during anti-government protests last month.

The commission has three to months to investigate not only the deaths, but also those who were disappeared and tortured during mass protests against pension reforms.

Read more: Opinion: Venezuela and Nicaragua, socialist dictatorships under a democratic guise

"You are authorized to investigate with complete freedom," parliamentary speaker Gustavo Porras told the commission.

Porras added that after the investigation, the commission must present its findings and conclusions to parliament. Pro-government lawmakers comprised most of those who voted for the commission.

Police shooting pellets into a crowd of protesters
Police used pellet guns and tear gas to quash the protestsImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Zuniga

Bloody crackdown over pension reforms

Last month, protests erupted after the government forced through reforms that saw a 5 percent tax imposed on retiree and disability pensions and a major increase to social security contributions.

Police responded with a bloody crackdown that left at least 45 people dead, many of them students, according to human rights groups.

Read more: Opinion: Nicaragua keeps it in the family

In the wake of the protests, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) asked to enter the country to investigate human rights violations during the unrest, but Nicaraguan authorities denied it access, saying it will have to "wait for internal processes to progress."

The protests have largely subsided since President Daniel Ortega announced that the reforms would be scrapped in favor of new negotiations with the private sector. Ortega's government is hoping to negotiate a way forward for its deficit-laden social security system.

Nicaraguans opt for sustainability

ls/ng (EFE, AFP)

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