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John Cerna

HRD, Member
Movement for University Autonomy & Student Defense Movement

John Cerna is a civil and political human rights defender and a prominent student leader who is actively involved in pro democracy activism in Nicaragua. He is a member of the Movement for University Autonomy and the Student Defense Movement. Since April 2018 he has worked to give visibility to the human rights violations of students, of those killed during the crisis, and political prisoners. During this period, he has supported medical and health brigades, provided digital and physical security, has been involved in efforts to support the crisis of enforced displacements, and helped provide training in student rights, human rights and university autonomy. The human rights defender was studying civil engineering at the National Engineering University (UNI), but he was expelled shortly before his graduation as a result of his active participation in student protests in 2018. In 2019, he returned to academic life at the Central American University of Nicaragua (UCA) where he continued to lead the fight for university autonomy.

Local human rights defenders are facing smear campaigns led by public officials, death threats, attacks and judicial harassment.