Nicaragua signed the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture in March.
In a speech before the National Assembly in October, President Ortega reportedly stated that Nicaragua would not sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The National Assembly approved a new Criminal Code which omitted an article criminalizing gay and lesbian relationships which had been present in the previous criminal code.
Health – reproductive rights
Approximately 50 appeals challenging as unconstitutional a law which prohibits therapeutic abortions (abortions carried out where the life, physical or psychological integrity of the women would be at risk if the pregnancy proceeded) were before the Supreme Court of Justice at the end of the year. Despite the fact that judgments on the appeals were pending, the National Assembly approved a new criminal code which incorporated the law.
In 2006, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women had noted that therapeutic abortion was a necessary service for women and that its prohibition would put women’s lives and heath at risk, in addition to presenting difficulties for medical staff.
- In April, a 24-year-old woman died of complications related to an ectopic pregnancy. A women’s health organization that investigated the case believed that a contributing factor to her death was that life-saving treatment (which Health Ministry regulations explicitly require) was delayed by medical staff because of their concerns over the possibility of being prosecuted for carrying out an abortion.
Local organizations reported that labour rights continued to be poorly enforced. Workers lodged various complaints with the authorities and human rights organizations regarding working conditions, including adverse effects on health, and freedom of association.