Considering the serious governance crisis in Nicaragua that has claimed more than 320 lives in the past three months, theInternational Association of Jesuit Universities gathered in Bilbao, Spain, would like to express the following:
- We join our concerns with those coming from other Jesuit institutions throughout the world, regarding the deplorable government sponsored repression and violence in Nicaragua.
- We reject unequivocally any violations of all human rights, along with any acts of aggression towards any and all citizens. In particular, we condemn the recent attacks perpetrated by supporters of Nicaragua’s government against a group of Catholic priests led by Nicaragua’s cardinal Leopoldo Brenes and Bishop Silvio Báez as they helped protesters trapped inside a church.
- All attempts to silence or vilify UCA Rector, Fr. José Alberto Idiáquez, S.J., in his firm defense of the lives of Nicaragua´s students, represent an explicit abandonment of the ideals of democracy.
- We support and uphold the autonomy of institutions of higher education, as supported by the Constitution as well as the inviolability and immunity of university campuses which are fora for critical thinking and unobstructed expression.
- We extend unconditional solidarity to all affected people and families, institutions and universities, their students, professors and administrators, working as they are to protect the rights and security of all students and staff exercising their civil rights guaranteed by the Nicaraguan Constitution. In particular, we express our solidarity with our Jesuit sister institution, the University of Central America (UCA) of Nicaragua, which calls its students to peaceful advocacy for social justice, even as government violence is intended to suppresses dissent.
- We add our voice to those of our Nicaraguan colleagues in urging the government of Nicaragua to respect the constitutional rights of its citizens, starting with freedom of expression and peaceful protest and in supporting the efforts of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference (CEN) in the search for a negotiated solution to the conflict.
- As the tragedy of lost lives grows, we offer our prayers for peace and reconciliation and extend our solidarity with the cause of justice and democracy in Nicaragua.