Intl. Red Cross expresses ‘deep concern’ over Nicaragua closure

Panama City, May 11 (EFE).- The International Red Cross told EFE on Thursday it is deeply concerned about the dissolution of its branch in Nicaragua, approved by the government through a law, and the impact this decision could have in humanitarian activities in the country.

“The IFRC (International Federation of the Red Cross) is deeply concerned about the dissolution of our member National Society, the Nicaraguan Red Cross,” it said.

This situation “could put much-needed humanitarian activities in the country at risk, as well as the work of staff and volunteers,” the international organization said in a statement to EFE.

“At this time we are closely monitoring the situation and evaluating the best way to proceed. Based on the results of that analysis, we will report on our next steps,” it added.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega sanctioned Thursday the bill that shuts and confiscates the assets of the Red Cross, a humanitarian organization that has operated there since 1931 after an earthquake shook Managua, through a presidential agreement published in the official gazette.

The pro-government-controlled parliament urgently repealed Wednesday a 1958 legislative decree that legally created the Nicaraguan Red Cross.

Ortega also gave his go-ahead for the creation of a new “Nicaraguan Red Cross,” attached to the health ministry, and that all the assets, assets and shares that to date belong to the Nicaraguan Red Cross become property of the state and run by the new state humanitarian organization.

Some parliamentarians said the Nicaraguan Red Cross acted against its principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality in the demonstrations that broke out five years ago against the government, when the institution provided aid to thousands of wounded.

The 2018 protests left at least 355 dead according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, although Nicaraguan organizations put the figure at 684, while Ortega said there were “more than 300” and added that it was a coup attempt.

Nicaragua has since gone through a political and social crisis that worsened after the November 2021 general elections, in which Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term, fourth in a row and second together with his wife Rosario Murillo as vice president, with his main contenders in prison. EFE


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