Strengthening Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Nicaragua

Projet terminé

The present proposal reaffirms Switzerland’s commitment to foster democracy, protect human rights and restore the Rule of Law in a fragile environment in Nicaragua. As a pillar of its exit strategy towards 2024, SDC supports and strengthens links between national and international human rights mechanisms in a WOGA approach together with the FDFA’s Political Directorate and the Embassies in the US and Costa Rica. SDC continues the dialogue with the government by offering training and advice on conflict transformation and dealing with the past.

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Droits de la personne
Participation démocratique et société civile
Droits de la personne (y compris droits des femmes)
01.12.2018 - 31.12.2023
CHF  5’350’000

In Nicaragua, human rights and Rule of Law continue to deteriorate since the political crisis in 2018 which remains unresolved. Institutional and economic fragility is further increasing with the impact of COVID-19. In the short term, there is little prospect of reform to restore the independence of the powers of the state and the credibility of its democratic institutions. It is, however, fundamental to preserve spaces, voice and instruments for the protection of human rights in a fragile and authoritarian environment. The electoral process of 2021 may open some windows for gradual political change. This proposal, with a focus on strengthening governance and human rights, is a central pillar of SDC’s exit strategy in Central America towards 2024.


The fostering of peace and human rights is a general interest of Switzerland. It is anchored in the Swiss Constitution and represents a priority of Swiss foreign policy. Switzerland’s added value in Nicaragua lays, on the one hand, in a systemic approach providing support and fostering coordinated action among key players of the human rights system on the universal, regional and national levels. On the other hand, Switzerland acts in the spirit of WOGA. The Swiss Embassies in San José and Washington D.C., and the FDFA’s Political Directorate (PD) in Bern, are accompanying the SDC program with policy dialogue and interventions in bilateral and multilateral fora. Switzerland’s engagement for human rights carries also high symbolic value due to its proven impartiality and moral credibility earned over half a century of mutual cooperation with Nicaragua. Moreover, Switzerland’s human rights program is closely coordinated with activities of the European Union (EU).

Objectifs Preserve and enhance democratic spaces that strengthen the respect for human rights and contribute to a way out of fragility in an authoritarian context.
Groupes cibles

Right Holders: 25,000 people (65% women) in situation of vulnerability with emphasis on youth and women who are direct victims of human rights violations, both in Nicaragua and among displaced Nicaraguans in Costa Rica.

Advocacy organizations:

13 specialised organisations

8 protection networks

13 social movements


Duty Bearers:

Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman

Supreme Electoral Council

Effets à moyen terme

1:    Duty bearers and right holders develop their capacities for the defense, protection and promotion of human rights and the transformation of conflict in Nicaragua.

2.    Human rights defense organizations prevent and mitigate the impact of human rights violations on populations in vulnerable conditions.


Principaux résultats attendus:  

-    Cases of human rights violations in Nicaragua documented according to international standards for the pursuit of justice;

-    Strategic litigation initiated at national and international courts increase awareness of HR violations in Nicaragua and exercise pressure on state authorities; 

-    Human rights situation in Nicaragua is known and discussed in national and international fora and sensitizes public opinion;

-    Collaborative work increases the political incidence of national, regional and international human rights organizations; 

-    Strengthened networks protect the most vulnerable population of the effects of human rights violations; 

-    OHCHR builds capacities on international HR standards within public institutions. 

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

-    20,715 human rights violations documented;

-    OHCHR reports to the Human Rights Council in Geneva; 

-    Comisión Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Nicaragua (CPDH), Centro Nicaragüense de los Derechos Humanos (CENIDH) and Centro por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nic. (CEJUDHCAN) quarterly reports to Inter American Comission for Human Rights (IACHR) and shadow reports to UPR-2019;

-    CEJUDHCAN: Follow-up report on precautionary measures submitted to the IACHR-May 2019.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
ONG internationale ou étrangère
Autre organisation internationale
Secteur privé
Organisme des Nations Unies (ONU)
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Other OI
  • Sectreur privé étranger Sud/Est
  • Secteur privé suisse

Autres partenaires

-    Ayuda en Acción Foundation; 

-    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; 

-    Organization of American States.

Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs

European Union (EU): Joint Programming.

Regional Human Rights Programme (implemented by Cooperation Office in Honduras): Complemented by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights “Mecanismo Especial de Seguimiento para Nicaragua” (MESENI-IACHR) and OHCHR.

This proposal promotes the respect for human rights, democracy and Rule of Law in a complementary logic with the other SDC programs of the governance domain in Nicaragua: "Strengthening Civil Society" and "Society, Culture and Memory" – programs that aim at the same goal from different thematic angles, and with different partners and intervention models. Together they form a coherent approach to advance SDC’s governance domain in Nicaragua.

Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    5’350’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    5’023’676
Phases du projet

Phase 1 01.12.2018 - 31.12.2023   (Completed)