UN rights council says it is seriously concerned by the deterioration of the human rights situation in Nicaragua and the impunity of those responsible.
The United Nations has launched an international investigation into human rights violations in Nicaragua, establishing a group of rights experts to carry out the probe.
The resolution on authorising the inquiry, for a year, was presented by Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Canada, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Paraguay on Thursday.
Argentina, Mexico, France, Japan, Britain and the United States also backed the measure, as members of the UN Human Rights Council.
China, Russia and Cuba were among seven members to oppose the resolution while 20 others abstained, according to the official count among the rights council's 47 member states.
In the resolution, the UN rights council said it is seriously concerned by the deterioration of the human rights situation in Nicaragua and the impunity of those responsible.
The Council also voiced concern over the repression of dissidents notably by "intimidation, harassment and illegal or arbitrary surveillance".
Last week the Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS) publicly lashed out at his country's president, describing Daniel Ortega's rule as a "dictatorship".
'Clear message' to Ortega
Ortega, the 76-year-old former leftist guerrilla, won a fourth successive election last year after all his challengers were jailed, in a vote widely dismissed as a farce.
Thirty opposition figures have already been found guilty, with many receiving jail terms of eight-13 years.
One of them, 73-year-old former guerrilla-turned dissident Hugo Torres Jimenez, died in prison last month.
In a surprise defection speech to the Washington-based OAS, Arturo McFields said that "denouncing the dictatorship of my country is not easy, but continuing to remain silent and defending the indefensible is impossible."
A growing number of NGOs and other institutions have been forced to cease their activities in Nicaragua because of the restrictions, the UN body lamented on Thursday.
Three experts will be appointed to lead the rights investigation and will report back in a year.
"The human rights crisis in Nicaragua demands robust international scrutiny," said Juan Pappier, senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"With this resolution, the UN Human Rights Council has sent a clear message to President Ortega that the international community will not tolerate the government's abuses," he added.