It is crucial and urgent for FMSI to stop the violence and repression particularly afflicting children and young people living in the Republic of Nicaragua.
The Marist International Solidarity Foundation (FMSI) is a non-governmental organization with a consultative status at the United Nations. It is linked to the work and mission of the Marist Brothers and operates in 80 countries throughout the world in support of life and development of children and adolescents.
Faced with the serious crisis in Nicaragua that has existed for more than three months and is ongoing, we made this public declaration:
- We share the sorrow of the Nicaraguan people for the loss of over 300 lives. We express our condolences to the families of these people. It is disconcerting that the vast majority of these deaths were caused by the overuse of state power through paramilitary groups. We demand that violence and repression cease immediately.
- In particular, we deplore the death of 28 children and teenagers between April 18th and July 2nd. Most of these deaths were caused by gunshot wounds to the head, neck and chest, factors that indicate the severe degree of the violence perpetrated by repressive groups.
- We denounce the political persecution and illegal detention of youth and people who demonstrated against the government. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has documented the arbitrary detention of minors. We ask the authorities to release them immediately because no one can be convicted for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and peaceful demonstration, rights which are protected under the Constitution of Nicaragua. If there is evidence to accuse them of having acted against the law, we ask that a just trial and respect for their physical integrity must be guaranteed.
- We condemn the attacks suffered by members of the Catholic Church, directed in particular against the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua and against the apostolic nuncio. We also condemn the fact that they have been informed they are discredited in their role as mediators. These situations aim at hindering their task as mediators and witnesses of the national dialog and at deepening the conflict, instead of contributing to its solution. We express our full support for the bishops and encourage them to continue their commitment to the Gospel and the life of the Nicaraguan people.
- We urge the government to resume national dialog as the only way towards a peaceful solution to this crisis. Pretending there is nothing to change and taking a closed, inflexible stance are not answers to the situation currently experienced and lead to even greater violent confrontation.
- Compliance with the recommendations of the CIDH is needed, as well as support for the work of the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, by its Spanish acronym). This will ensure transparent processes that will lead to a peaceful and just solution to the current crisis in the country
As Marists with a mission as educators, we reassert our desire and our firm commitment towards peace, justice and human rights, especially for the children and young people of Nicaragua.
We entrust the deepest aspirations of the Nicaraguan people to the God of life. We pray that justice and peace prevail in the country through His infinite mercy. Mary, Mother and Patroness of Nicaragua, may intercede before her Divine Son for all those who are suffering at this moment.