Urgent Action: Solidarity with Nicaraguan Women’s Rights Organizations

Solidarity with Maria Elena Cuadra Movement of Employed and Unemployed Women (MEC), and other Nicaraguan women’s rights organizations.

CoDev has received an appeal from our Nicaraguan partner MEC for letters of support for Nicaraguan feminist organizations following recent government actions against them.

On September 25, the Nicaraguan National Police surrounded MEC’s office in Managua, preventing employees from entering the building. Officers questioned MEC employees as to the whereabouts of the organization’s director Sandra Ramos. But when Sandra Ramos arrived approached the commander of the police operation, he refused to explain the police presence at the office. The police withdrew from the MEC office about four hours after the directors’ arrival.

This act of intimidation against MEC, an organization that accompanies women in marginalized communities and particularly those who work in the country’s Free Trade Zones, comes only a few days after statements from Nicaraguan Vice-President Rosario Murillo criticizing the country’s feminist movement. In public declarations September 16 and 18, the Vice-President accused the feminist movement of promoting abortions in the Women and Children’s Commissaries (special regional offices operated by the National Police to attend to complaints of violence against women and children) and compared feminists who call for the relaxation of Nicaragua’s strict abortion laws to perpetrators of recent acts of femicide in the country.

MEC director Sandra Ramos told CoDev that she believes these actions are linked to a new bill the government introduced that would require all organizations that receive any international funding to register as “foreign agents.” The “Law for the Regulation of Foreign Agents,” was introduced to the Nicaraguan legislature September 22. Critics of the bill fear it will be used by the government to further intervene in independent human, labour and women’s rights organizations.

Please follow this link for more information in English on this issue.

MEC is asking its supporters in Canada to send the following message to Nicaraguan authorities expressing concern about the recent acts of intimidation against women’s rights organizations:

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