Ortega postpones restrictive NGO legislation in Nicaragua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has postponed implementation of the so-called international cooperation manual, which critics say would threaten the flow of resources and cooperative activities between national and international NGOs. The manual lays down regulations for the activities of NGOs operating in Nicaragua, including a strict control of funds received by NGOs, as well as restrictions for NGOs in international cooperation.

Among the restrictions it stipulates on foreign cooperation NGOs is a ban on participation in and financing activities of a ‘partisan-political nature’, including advocacy activities and lobbying for public policy formulation. The manual also includes a complex set of official procedures and requirements that cooperation NGOs wanting to work in Nicaragua would have to meet, as well as limitations on the number of foreign staff they could hire. The manual has sparked criticism from official agencies and cooperation NGOs. The international organization CIVICUS has sent a letter to President Ortega warning that implementation of the manual could result in fewer resources for Nicaragua.

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