Advocacy statements

UPR statement on Nicaragua

  • Date / 2019
  • Location / Nicaragua
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 6: Universal Periodic Review


International Humanist and Ethical Union

42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (9th – 27th September 2019)

Universal Periodic Review: Nicaragua

We were pleased to hear from the delegation that the rights of women and fighting violence against women are priorities for the Government.[1] However we were left confused: since, not only did the Nicaraguan National Assembly approve in 2017 an amendment to the Comprehensive Law on Violence against Women which reduced the scope of the definition of femicide to the private sphere, thus limiting the crime to relations between spouses and partners; but during this review Nicaragua has rejected recommendations on the need to take immediate measures to address the high rates of femicide and sexual and domestic violence against women and children by promptly investigating and prosecuting such crimes, and repealing that legislative amendment.[2]

Despite Nicaragua having one of the highest teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality rates in the Americas region, abortion remains banned in all circumstances. The prohibition includes cases where the life of the woman is at risk or when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

This issue is compounded by the fact that many of those in need of an abortion are young girls having suffered sexual violence and rape.

Earlier this year, the UN Human Rights Committee heard the cases of two girls, known as “Lucia” and “Susana”, who had become pregnant from rape at age 13 and were denied a termination of pregnancy. Lucia’s pregnancy happened after more than a year of abuse by her priest. For Susana, years of abuse by her grandfather led to an unwanted pregnancy.

No girl, let alone a rape survivor, should be forced into carrying a pregnancy to term against her choice.

They are girls, not mothers, Madame Vice-President. “Son #NiñasNoMadres.”

The total ban on abortion in Nicaragua, is nothing less than institutionalized violence against women and girls and a form of inhuman treatment and torture. Accordingly, we urge Nicaragua to urgently reconsider its rejection of those recommendations calling for decriminalisation of abortion in the country and back-up its declared commitment to reducing violence against women with immediate changes in law and action.


[1] A/HRC/27/16, §106

[2] E.g. see rejection of §125.240 under “Recomendaciones que no aplican por falta de fundamento y distorsión de la realidad – por tanto, no son aceptadas,” A/HRC/42/16/Add.1

Suggested academic reference

'UPR statement on Nicaragua', Humanists International

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