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In Nicaragua Death toll from protests rises to 212: rights body

The death toll in Nicaragua during two months of anti-government unrest has risen to 212, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Friday, faulting President Daniel Ortega's government for "serious" human rights violations.

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An anti-government protester fires a home-made mortar during a demonstration in the Nicaraguan city of Masaya, one of the flashpoints in the crisis play

An anti-government protester fires a home-made mortar during a demonstration in the Nicaraguan city of Masaya, one of the flashpoints in the crisis

(AFP)

The death toll in Nicaragua during two months of anti-government unrest has risen to 212, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Friday, faulting President Daniel Ortega's government for "serious" human rights violations.

"Nicaragua has not fulfilled its international obligations to respect, protect and guarantee human rights in the context of the social protests that began on April 18," the rights body said in its report after its visit to the Central American country.

"On the contrary, the IACHR found that the state response has been characterized by the repression and criminalization of the demonstrators and the social movement they represent, which has resulted in serious violations of human rights," the 97-page document said.

The Washington-based group said more than 1,300 people had been wounded in the unrest.

Nicaragua's descent into chaos began when relatively small protests against now-scrapped social security reforms exploded into a popular uprising against Ortega, whose forces met demonstrators with a violent crackdown.

"State violence has been aimed at discouraging participation in demonstrations and quelling this expression of political dissent," the IACHR concluded, calling on Nicaragua's government to "reach a constitutional, democratic and peaceful solution to this human rights crisis."

The IACHR presented the report Friday during a special session of the Washington-based Permanent Council of the Organization of American States.

The latest round of negotiations aimed at ending Nicaragua's violence once again fell apart on Monday, with the country's influential Catholic bishops and civil groups accusing the government of failing to act on a promise to allow more probes from international organizations.

A onetime leftist guerrilla, Ortega led the country from 1979 to 1990 and then returned to the presidency in 2007, now serving his third consecutive term.

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