May 14, 2018 / 11:48 PM / in 10 months

Nicaragua bishops call for dialogue on protests

MANAGUA (Reuters) - Nicaragua’s body of Roman Catholic bishops said that it would mediate in talks between the government and civil society representatives beginning on Wednesday, following deadly protests in recent weeks against President Daniel Ortega.

The talks were announced hours after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said it was invited to visit the country for a fact-finding mission.

Anti-government protests began in mid-April, following a controversial social security overhaul. The United Nations said last week that it believed at least 47 people had been killed, most of them students.

Protesters have also called for the resignation of Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla accused of seeking to establish a family dynasty in the Central American country.

Nicaragua’s Episcopal Conference said in a statement that it would act as a mediator and witness in talks, with the aim of bringing the sides to agreement.

Earlier on Monday, Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States, which includes the IACHR, posted a letter on his Twitter account from Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada inviting the IACHR to visit the country.

The letter did not specify when the visit would take place.

The IACHR is a leading human rights organization that has tackled issues of torture, killings and disappearances in North, Central and South America for nearly 60 years.

Reporting by Oswaldo Rivas; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Dan Grebler and Rosalba O'Brien

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