Nicaraguan government cancels registration of six foreign NGOs


Aug 16 (Reuters) - The Nicaraguan government on Monday canceled the registration of six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Denmark, Spain, the United States and Sweden, claiming they were violating the Central American nation's transparency laws.

President Daniel Ortega, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term in a November election, has drawn widespread criticism from foreign governments after the recent arrests of several opponents, including some presidential candidates.

Nicaragua's official gazette showed the interior ministry had suspended the registration of Danish NGO Oxfam Ibis, Spain's Oxfam Intermon Foundation and Sweden's Diakonia.

It also suspended the registration of the U.S. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, and Helping Hands The Warren William Pagel, MD Foundation.

The government argued the NGOs "have failed to comply with their obligations under the laws that regulate non-profit organizations".

The organizations were accused of not signing agreements setting out their source of financing and project portfolios, and of not reporting their financial statements to the interior ministry, the gazette said.

Representatives of the NGOs in Nicaragua did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The government has also canceled the registration of local NGOs critical of Ortega, which worked on human rights and institutional issues and receive funding from some of the foreign groups whose licenses were canceled on Monday.

After Nicaraguan opposition leaders were arrested over the past three months, Canada and the United States sanctioned several high-ranking government officials.

Over the weekend, government officials raided and detained the manager of the newspaper La Prensa, the last print newspaper circulating in the Central American country.

Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Editing by Sandra Maler

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