MANAGUA (Reuters) – Nicaragua has expelled a top representative from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) without giving any reasoning, the humanitarian group said on Friday.
The expulsion comes days after a similar decision in which Nicaragua ordered Vatican ambassador Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag to leave, which the Holy See called “incomprehensible.”
The ICRC said it received a letter from the Nicaraguan government informing the organization that it had withdrawn its approval for representative Thomas Ess’ stay in the country.
“We don’t know the reasoning behind this decision, which took us by surprise,” the ICRC said in a statement.
The Nicaraguan government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ess was based in the capital of Managua since January 2021, and another ICRC representative, Jordi Raich, was recently awarded Nicaragua’s highest civil honor.
The humanitarian organization was key in checking on the health of political prisoners who opposed President Daniel Ortega since April 2018, when protests broke out across the country, according to a statement from the Association of Family Members of Political Prisoners (AFPP).
“Despite the situation, the ICRC affirms its commitment to continue its humanitarian work in Nicaragua, adhering to its principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence,” the ICRC said.
In a report on Thursday, the ICRC said violence in Central America and Mexico would spur more migration in 2022.
(Reporting Ismael Lopez in Managua, Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Kylie Madry in Mexico City; Editing by Marguerita Choy)