Anyone who criticizes the government must be afraid for their future. The Federal Government’s Human Rights Commissioner, Luise Amtberg, has seen this for herself.
After her trip to Central America, the Federal Government’s Human Rights Commissioner, Luise Amtberg, expressed concern about the situation in Nicaragua and El Salvador. “We are dealing with a region in a state of crisis,” said Amtberg at the end of her visit to Costa Rica, where she met human rights activists from the two countries in exile.
“In El Salvador, democratic structures are being systematically dismantled, a state of emergency has been in effect for 16 months and almost two percent of the population is in prison – no one who speaks critically can be sure that the same thing won’t happen soon.”
While in El Salvador the right-wing populist President Nayib Bukele is cracking down on criminal youth gangs, in Nicaragua the authoritarian head of state Daniel Ortega is taking massive action against government opponents. “In Nicaragua, people are being expatriated, their possessions and pension rights are being taken away, their existence is practically erased. All places where critical thinking is gradually falling victim to this authoritarian politics,” said Amtberg.
Many political refugees find refuge in neighboring Costa Rica. “But Costa Rica is reaching its limits – we are clearly at a tipping point here,” said Amtberg. “There is still space and protection, but recently a debate has broken out about a more restrictive asylum policy.”
Germany is also increasingly becoming a place where human rights activists from Russia, Iran or Turkey, for example, want to continue their work in safe conditions. According to Amtberg, a housing project in Costa Rica co-financed by the federal government, where human rights activists can stay, network and receive psycho-social support, could also be a model for Germany.
“Civil society institutions where activists can relax and make a plan are great projects,” she said shortly before her return trip to Berlin. “We want people to continue working for the democratization of the countries they come from.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.