Episcopal Church - 2018 Nominee
The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (ECN), despite facing pressure from the authorities has both stood firm on the citizens’ rights to assemble and peacefully protest to demand democratic reform and sought to use its influence and legitimacy to engage the government to halt the violent suppression of basic rights. Specific bishops as well as several priests have been supporting demonstrators. The senior clergy, grouped under the ECN, has promoted dialogue, tried to mediate between the government and the rest of the country, while also using churches to hide demonstrators and others persecuted by the government militias. Bishop Silvio Baez has been one of the most active defenders of democracy and human rights.
Militias shot him in July 2018, and the threat against the church establishment intensifies in what is unfolding as by far the gravest threat to the Ortega regime.
Nominated by: Freedom House (invited)