Amaru Ruiz «Law 1115 was created to justify the criminalization of civil society organizations»

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Law 147, in force since 1992 in Nicaragua, was modified by regulation 1115, which aims to regulate and control Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs). Initiative promoted by the president of the National Assembly, Sandinista deputy Gustavo Porras. Experts delved into the components of this regulation and the true intentions of the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

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The environmentalist Amaru Ruiz, director of the Fundación del Río, stated that the Nicaraguan Civil Society Organizations have five levels of supervision or control that govern their management around the projects and development processes that are carried out in Nicaragua, actions that detach from the crime of money laundering to NPOs, explains “a first level has to do with the origin of the funds, … which come from lawful sources of financial resources of lateral cooperation.

The second level is the entire national and international financial system, the organizations have to comply with all the regulations from the origin of the funds and the legal and administrative requirements established by the international financial system to make international transfers as well as the national system to support the flow of the financial resources required by civil society organizations. The third level is the national control system itself, which includes all state institutions.

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In other words, state institutions are also guarantors of the CSO oversight process regarding the use of financial resources that the organizations have. The four aspects are the boards of directors and the general assemblies of members that the organizations have in some way monitor attention to compliance with the statutes and that the organizations adhere to what the statutes say and that is a way of monitoring. And the last level is project audits and institutional audits. In many cases, donors require levels of audits of the use of financial resources for development projects”.

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These five control axes explained by Ruiz are the ones that have been used historically; “which reduces the risk for money laundering in these organizations. “he asserts.

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In the public arena, there is the case of the Violeta de Chamarro Foundation, an organization that has been the subject of serious accusations of “non-compliance with its obligations before the Regulatory Entity and financial analysis” in this case, the former director of the organization joined in the case Cristiana Chamorro and workers who were accused and convicted of alleged “money laundering.”

The economist and political analyst Enrique Sáenz, states that in the case of Nicaragua it cannot be contextualized but rather it is done politically to talk about this regulation of Law 1115. “Overnight in the context of the repression unleashed by the regime These types of regulations and these types of judicial coverage actions appear, simply and simply it is a screen to cover up what are repressive actions.”

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The economist questions why only organizations that are not related to the regime are being persecuted? Why has no organization related to the regime been the object of these repressive measures? It is simply an action more framed in the dictatorial regime that has been imposed in Nicaragua, he assures.

Read the law reform here

For his part, Uriel Pineda, a specialist in human rights, affirmed that “the rights have been violated to these organizations” that have been victims of the cancellation of legal personality. Likewise, “the right to live in a democracy, the dismantling that the Ortega Murillo regime has undertaken, which had an entry with the Alemán-Ortega pact, has been violated.”

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For Pineda, civil society organizations are the target of the Ortega government because it wants to eliminate expressions of political and citizen participation. With this regulation, the government goes over the law to hinder and filter civil society organizations to silence them “The cancellation of the legal personality of more than 200 organizations occurs without due process, and the first right that is violated is the right to defend rights, the first organizations that were closed without figure or legal form have to do with organizations that defended human rights, consequently, that is the first actor, ”says the human rights defender.

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He adds, “the defense of human rights is not undermined by the closure of the operation, but it is also undermined by the criminalization exercised by the regime by arresting members of civil society for their activism, for their work promoting human rights.”

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In article 35 of the law, 10 prohibitions are designated to NPOs, among them “publicly identifying themselves with a name other than the one registered; carry out activities for the personal gain of its members; distribute among its member’s dividends, profits, financial or material remnants from donations, public contributions or surpluses of any nature obtained by its objectives and purposes; carry out direct or indirect activities that imply political proselytism… NPOs cannot intervene in matters of party politics, nor violate their objectives for which they were created and registered in the country”, among others.

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It is also established that, if the obligations are not breached, Article No. 39 will apply, which imposes a fine of five thousand córdobas to ten thousand córdobas in favor of the State, for each breach of the obligations or for incurring the prohibitions established in the Law and its Regulations dictate the law.

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Likewise, the General Directorate of Registration and Control of NPOs may intervene when infractions are incurred and will estimate the intervention that “will give rise to the suspension or the issuance of the legal opinion to request the cancellation of the legal personality of the NPO.”

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Pineda on this ensures that the government also intends to make the organizations and the people who represent them look bad in public opinion, discrediting them, in addition to affecting freedom of expression and freedom of organization as a preponderant factor in Nicaragua.

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“It is perceived in this eagerness of the regime it is no longer just to silence but to fourth any space of organization, that is to say, there is a vision by an activist of the Ortega Murillo regime by which the citizen participation or the social organization that exists in the country must be controlled by the regime” any organization that is not aligned, that does not have a direct link with the regime runs the risk of disappearing in Nicaragua in such a way that this state policy that is being implemented has the sole objective of annulling any independent association in Nicaragua that it has a political overtone,” he confirms.

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Amaru Ruiz assumes that Law 1115 was created to justify the criminalization of civil society organizations. “This law becomes an instrument of criminalization and repression to try to silence and stop any organizational level. More than a law that allows reducing the risk in terms of money laundering, financing of terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it has become a sword of Damocles against civil society organizations in Nicaragua.”

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For his part, Sáenz concludes that, beyond the right to organize, it should be noted that the biggest blow of the closure of many social organizations is that “it leaves many benefited people helpless, therefore the “affectation is on the poorest. ”

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