Nicaragua targets country’s oldest LGBTQ rights group
In its crackdown against political enemies, the government of Nicaragua is reportedly targeting the country’s oldest LGBTQ rights group, among the many other groups fighting for human rights.
According to Confidencial, an online newspaper critical of the government, the Interior Ministry has asked the National Assembly to go after Fundación Xochiquetzal and 14 other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In particular, the Ministry wants the lawmakers to “annul the legal non-profit status” of these groups.
LGBT group in Nicaragua facing shutdown
In response, Assemblyman Filiberto Rodriguez is pushing a bill to dissolve the 15 NGOs for “holding activities outside the law and acting expressly against the law.”
Paul Canning, a London-based writer and activist, tweeted that Fundación Xochiquetzal was initially formed in 1990 to fight HIV and AIDS in Nicaragua.
Canning also tweeted the group is presently offering COVID-19 tests to LGBT people in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital.
However, the group has also been receiving financial support from international LGBTQ rights groups like the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, a US-based international foundation.
As such, this goes against the “Foreign Agent Law” signed by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
Targeting advocates and groups in Nicaragua
This law states any person or organization receiving funding from abroad must register as a “foreign agent” with the Interior Ministry.
They should also actively disclose all personal and business finances to the state, according to this law.
Those who register as “foreign agents” are prohibited from running in elections and are tagged as “traitors to the homeland” and “terrorists” that “encourage foreign interference.”
The Victory Institute, a national LGBTQ organization, said most funding in Central and South America for human rights, journalism, LGBT rights, anti-corruption, and reproductive rights come from EU and the US.
Currently, the government under President Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, have been cracking down on opposition figures, journalists, and human rights activists before the November national elections.
A deteriorating human rights situation
Currently, the US has sanctioned more than a hundred officials and immediate family members that the State Department says are “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy” that country.
Washington Blade reported a Nicaraguan LGBT activist saying the move to shut down Fundación Xochiquetzal and other NGOs was “shameful.”
“It doesn’t want organized groups and above all feminist and LGBTIQ+ groups that have been in long-term struggles,” the activist said.
Meanwhile, the Victory Institute said, “LGBTQ people and advocates in Nicaragua urgently need the global human rights community to take note and denounce President Ortega’s attacks on democracy.”