IACHR Grants New Precautionary Measures to Protect People in Nicaragua through MESENI
Washington, D.C. - Through its Special Follow-up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has continued to identify situations and adopt precautionary measures to protect persons in a serious and urgent danger of irreparable harm in the context of the serious human rights crisis in the country.
On June 10, 2018, the IACHR adopted precautionary measures to protect the rights of José Alberto Idiáquez Guevara, a priest from Managua and dean of the Central American University of Nicaragua (UCA), who is allegedly at risk as a result of his work as dean and his active participation in the National Dialogue Roundtable. The Commission took into account that in his capacity as dean, the beneficiary is allegedly playing an important role in the protection and assistance of demonstrators, particularly students. On April 18 and on May 30, 2018, the beneficiary had ordered to open the doors of the university to allow the protection of persons that had been attacked. The beneficiary was allegedly the target of intimidating messages and he was allegedly included in a list of persons to be killed for his active role in the current context.
On June 12, 2018, the IACHR adopted precautionary measures to protect the rights of Migueliuth Sandova Cruz, widow of journalist Ángel Eduardo Gahona, and her family members. According to the information provided, the beneficiaries were at risk following the events of 21 April 2018, when journalist Ángel Eduardo Gahona was killed while broadcasting live the damage caused during the protests in Bluefields in the Southern Caribbean, Nicaragua. The information received indicates that the beneficiaries are allegedly target of different forms of intimidation, including the presence of 20 persons in motorbikes (“motorizados”) who allegedly made shots to the air in her residence, in order for them to “keep quiet.”
On June 17, 2018, the IACHR adopted precautionary measures to protect the rights of Ricardo Adán Velásquez Robleto, Alex Iván Aguirre Mairena, Jasson Osnar Hernández and Edwin Antonio Jiménez Balladares, university students who allegedly find themselves in a situation of risk to their lives and integrity in the context of the violence that Nicaragua has experienced in recent months. The Commission noted that the testimonies of the beneficiaries - several of whom were directly interviewed during the visit - indicate that most of them were reportedly subjected to violence in the context of the repression of social protests by students. According to the information provided, Ricardo Adán Velásquez Robleto is student leader of the University "UCAN" of Matagalpa; Alex Iván Aguirre Mairena, student of "UNAN", León; Jasson Osnar Hernández, student of "UNAN-FAREM", Matagalpa, and Edwin Antonio Balladares, law student. The beneficiaries allegedly received threats through telephone calls, social media, and persons in vehicles following them as a way of intimidating them. One of them was also kidnapped. The Commission also notes that some of the proposed beneficiaries are targets of heavy stigmatization.
On July 2, 2018, the Commission adopted precautionary measures to protect the rights of members of Darío radio. In accordance with the information received, the beneficiaries were allegedly targets of several threats and intimidation, allegedly with the goal of causing fear and preventing the dissemination of information and complaints through the radio. In fact, the Commission noted that the facilities of Darío Radio had been set on fire, its personnel had been attacked, and the proposed beneficiaries had been deprived of their main journalistic materials and equipment, including the equipment necessary for the transmission and reporting of the events that are taking place in Nicaragua. The Commission also received information on the recent presence of armed persons in the vicinity of the director's home and that the threats and harassment allegedly continue to this day.
On July 2, 2018, the IACHR adopted precautionary measures to protect the rights of Marco Antonio Carmona and other members of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), as well as Mrs. S, Mr. C and their children. In making this determination, the Commission assessed the information submitted indicating that the proposed beneficiaries had received threats and intimidation directly against them from third parties or persons related to the government, allegedly for their work in the defense, documentation and support of the protests in several cities in Nicaragua. In addition, according to the information received, they are constantly being followed around their residencies, work places and during their activities, by unidentified persons, using vehicles and motorbikes, in some cases armed with guns.
In accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR's Rules of Procedure, the Commission requested the State of Nicaragua to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the life and personal integrity of the beneficiaries. To this end, the State must both ensure that its agents respect the life and personal integrity of the proposed beneficiaries in accordance with standards established by international human rights law, and protect their rights in relation to acts of risk that are attributable to third parties. The Commission also requested the State of Nicaragua to agree on the measures to be taken with the beneficiaries and their representative and to report on the actions taken to investigate the alleged facts that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure.
Since the May 17-21 working visit to Nicaragua, the IACHR has adopted nine resolutions requesting precautionary measures to protect the lives and personal integrity of 64 people on various issues, including their families. Among the beneficiaries are student leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, relatives of victims, survivors of violence, priests, and persons who have provided assistance to injured people. The Commission has also decided to request information from the State, in accordance with Article 25(5) of the Regulation, on 57 requests received and to request additional information from 76 applicants for precautionary measures. The State of Nicaragua and the applicants will continue to receive notification of such applications within the next few days. The Commission has not made so far any decision to reject any of the applications for precautionary measures received during its working visit.
The Commission continues to receive, consider and decide on applications submitted in accordance with the requirements laid down in Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure.
The granting of precautionary measures and their adoption by the State do not constitute a prejudice to any petition before the inter-American system alleging violations of the rights protected in the American Convention on Human Rights and other applicable instruments.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.