Last Updated 10 November 2016

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America by area, but its population density is relatively low. Nicaragua was first settled by the Spanish in 1522; it gained independence in 1838. It is majority Catholic and other Christian denominations.

Systemic Discrimination
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Constitution and government

Article 29 of the constitution of Nicaragua guarantees religious freedom and protects the rights to freedom of conscience and thought. The constitution prohibits discrimination based on nationality, religious belief, race, gender and political belief and that no one “shall be obligated by coercive measures to declare his ideology or beliefs.” The constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.

All religious groups and other nongovernmental organizations need to be registered with the Ministry of Government as an association or organization.

Education and children’s rights

Article 126 of the constitution states that “Education has as its objective the full and integral development of Nicaraguans; to provide them with a critical, scientific and humanist consciousness”.

However, in 2013, Nicaragua implemented the new “Live Beautiful Plan” to reform the education system. The new plan requires an obligatory education based on socialist and specifically Christian values.
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The government provides subsidies to religious schools in communities which do not have access to public education. To realize the “Live beautiful plan” the government trained 45,000 public school teachers on the targets and techniques of the new education system.

The government funded two Catholic universities and one Evangelical university.
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Family, community and society

The International Federation for Human Rights expressed concerns at its World Congress in 2010 about the violations of civil and political rights in Nicaragua. The delegates stated that under President Daniel Ortega Nicaragua’s government had undergone serious reversals in rights to vote and to freedom of expression as well as to freedom of association.

Media organizations report occasionally harassment, physical violence and threats against their reporters.

LGBT people face rising homophobic violence.

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