In April, the Central America Free Trade Agreement, which includes the USA, the Dominican Republic and other Central American states, came into effect.
In October, the National Assembly approved a bill which outlawed all forms of abortion. Previously abortions had been permitted in cases where the woman's life was at risk. The President signed the bill into law in November.
Presidential and legistlative elections were held in November. The candidate of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, Daniel Ortega, won. He was due to assume the presidency in January 2007.
Violence against women
In a report submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, national women's organizations raised concerns about increasing levels of violence against women. The inadequate response of the authorities remained a serious concern.
Economic, social and cultural rights
Poverty remained widespread with 80 per cent of the population living on less than US$2 a day, according to a 2006 report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Former agricultural workers suffering health problems caused by exposure to the pesticide Nemagón protested against alleged irregularities and corruption in the way compensation had been paid to them. According to local non-governmental organizations, more than 1,383 people had died of Nemagón-related illnesses between 2003 and 2006.
In June, Indigenous peoples complained publicly to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the government was continuing to violate their rights. They alleged that Indigenous communal lands remained improperly demarcated and that the government continued to promote unregulated logging and award licences for the exploitation of natural resources without the informed consultation of Indigenous peoples living in the affected areas.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
The media reported homophobic comments made by the President in March. He was alleged to have ordered that a list of all members of his government "suspected" of being part of the "gay-lesbian world" be compiled so that he could dismiss them before leaving office in January 2007. Nicaragua continued to criminalize gay and lesbian relationships.