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Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia

HRD & President
Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights – CENIDH

Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia is the founder and president of Centro Nicaraguense de los Derechos Humanos (Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights – CENIDH) and has worked for more than 56 years for the implementation of human rights in the country, including the abolition of torture, mediation of conflicts and liberation of political prisoners. The human rights defender has active participation in several national and international organizations, including the Central American Commission for Human Rights, in which she was president, and the Worldwide Organization against Torture.


Local human rights defenders are facing smear campaigns led by public officials, death threats, attacks and judicial harassment. Women human rights defenders working to advance sexual and reproductive rights as well as combating violence against women and girls have been particularly targeted by pro-government forces, as the feminist movement remains one of the most well organised networks pressing not only for women's human rights but also against corruption and authoritarianism.

Indigenous and environmental rights defenders, particularly those working to preserve their ancestral land in the Autonomous Atlantic regions, the Bosawás and Indio Maíz natural reserves, have been particularly at risk of violent attacks from actors involved in mining activities, illegal logging and farming. Violent attacks and killings against indigenous rights and environmental rights often go unpunished, as the government continues to encourage the expansion of the agricultural frontier into indigenous land. Indigenous and environmental rights defenders who oppose the Chinese-sponsored construction of the inter-oceanic canal have also been threatened and attacked.