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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Perilous State of Religious Freedom in Nicaragua

Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 11:00am
Virtual via Cisco WebEx


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) for a hearing to examine the state of religious freedom in Nicaragua.

An overall crackdown by the Nicaraguan government on civil and political rights that began in 2018 also targeted the Catholic Church and other religious organizations that the government deems to be beyond their ability to dominate and control.  Arrests of religious dissidents include, Bishop Rolando José Álvarez, a noted regime critic, along with a number of priests, seminarians and lay persons associated with him, in an effort to silence the voice of the Church.

As the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has explained, “The Ortega administration began lashing out at the Catholic Church after it aided demonstrators and individual clergy voiced opposition to the government. In the beginning stages, the Church attempted to mediate a national dialogue between the protestors and the government. Talks were underway in May 2018, but with the Church’s insistence on not turning away demonstrators in need of aid and some clergy’s support of the protesters, the Ortega administration turned on the Church and the dialogue dissolved. Catholic leaders have been vocal against the government’s accelerating democratic backsliding and numerous human rights violations ever since.”

The hearing will be virtual. Pursuant to H. Res. 965, Member of Congress and witnesses will participate remotely via Cisco WebEx. Members of the public and the media may view the hearing by live webcast on the Commission website. The hearing will also be available for viewing on the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Piero Tozzi (for Co-Chair Smith) or Kimberly Stanton (for Co-Chair McGovern).

Hosted by:

Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • Bianca Jagger, Founder and President, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
  • Eddy Acevedo, Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


117th Congress