UN reacts to the siege against bishops and priests in Nicaragua

(CNN Spanish) — The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said this Sunday that the “police siege of priests” in Nicaragua “reconfirms that “no one is spared from the incessant persecution of divergence” and the “demand for justice “, to now add pastoral work. “Freedom of religion is added to restricted human rights,” said the High Commissioner in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

The episcopal conferences of Nicaragua and other Central American countries joined the criticism after on Thursday the bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, reported that he was beginning a day of prayer, exorcism and fasting based on water and serum, to demand that the National Police respect their rights.

Monsignor Álvarez denounced that agents of that force followed him day and night. The Police have not reported the reasons for his presence outside the Santo Cristo de las Colinas Church, where Álvarez was until Monday morning. Monsignor Carlos Avilés, vicar general of the Archdiocese, told CNN on Monday that Alvarez left for Matagalpa “escorted by police patrols.” CNN has requested information from the Police through the Public Relations department, but we have not yet received a response.

The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, in a statement published this Sunday, said that it expressed its “solidarity and closeness with our brother Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, who feels anxiety about his personal safety and the possibility of living and celebrating his Faith and fulfilling his pastoral mission in an atmosphere of peace. As a Church faithful to our Christian mission, we will always be willing to contribute to the common good, reconciliation and brotherhood of Nicaraguans”.

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For its part, the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica expressed on Saturday another statement of its “solidarity and prayer” with the Church and the Nicaraguan people, “especially in times of trial,” and prayed to God to “allow them to remain faithful to their mission and grant them a spirit of wisdom.”

The Panamanian Episcopal Conference expressed its support not only for Álvarez but also for a priest from Masaya who denounced having his church surrounded by the police: “We join in prayer so that the persecution of Monsignor Rolando and Father Harving Padilla, parish priest of the San Juan Bautista Church in the city of Masaya who has limited himself to living and celebrating his Faith in an environment of freedom and peace”.

Similarly, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) pointed out that Monsignor Álvarez “through his messages has been present in the most difficult moments at the national level, for example in the initial days of the pandemic he wanted to carry out actions together with a group of doctors, care and prevention of the coronavirus, and the regime prohibited it “.

The Cenidh also affirmed that Álvarez “in his homilies always speaks of justice, freedom, democracy and human rights for Nicaragua. That is why they want to silence him, but they will not succeed.”

The Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Post Office (Telcor), ordered the cable companies to eliminate the signal of the Catholic Channel of Nicaragua from their offer, according to the company Claro. Telcor has not officially explained the causes of the measure. CNN has requested a comment from the Government Communication and Citizenship Council, but we are still awaiting a response.

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