Labor Rights Violations in Nicaragua

By Expediente Abierto and Fundación del Río

This report responds to a request for comments by the U.S. Department of Labor on efforts made by the CAFTA–DR countries to implement the labor obligations under the Labor Chapter and the recommendations contained in a paper entitled “The Labor Dimension in Central America and the Dominican Republic—Building on Progress: Strengthening Compliance and Enhancing Capacity.” 

In response to this request, Expediente Abierto submits this report providing evidence of how the state of Nicaragua purposely negates labor protections for workers in the country in violation of its labor laws, international labor agreements, and labor agreements signed under the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement. Aside from the detriment to workers in the country, these efforts also distort the prices of goods and services in Nicaragua and represent a clear example of unfair competitive practices in violation of the Free Trade Agreement.  

As detailed in this report, workers’ rights in Nicaragua are protected by national law and international labor conventions to which Nicaragua is a signatory.

In Nicaraguan law, for example, there are constitutional guarantees for workers to have their organizations (Articles 46 and 49) to participate in the management of companies (Article 81), freedom of union organization (Article 87), rights to private initiatives such as in associative and cooperative forms (Article 99), and the voluntary association of farmers (Articles 109, 110, and 111). 

Despite the protections afforded by law and international conventions, Nicaragua has one of the most repressive regimes in the world (Gorokhovskaia et al., 2023); human rights are systematically violated in the country, and its government has committed and continues to commit crimes against humanity, as found in a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN) (Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas, 2023). 

Wanton refusal to respect labor rights in the country is evident and in line with a broader disregard for human rights. This report shows are some of the key related issues.


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