IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Walner Blandón and Other Members of the Puerta de la Montaña Church Leadership in Nicaragua

April 25, 2024

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 23/2024 on April 21, 2024, to grant precautionary measures in favor of Walner Omier Blandón Ochoa and 10 other individuals who are members of the Puerta de la Montaña evangelical church ministry in Nicaragua, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights.

According to the party who requested these precautionary measures, the beneficiaries are currently deprived of liberty at the Jorge Navarro Prison Complex (known as La Modelo) and at the Women's Comprehensive Penitentiary Facility. They are allegedly being held in inadequate conditions, without the medical care they require. One of the beneficiaries, Marisela de Fátima Mejía Ruiz, gave birth before being arrested and is allegedly not receiving adequate post-natal care or food suited for her specific nutrition requirements. The State failed to provide information to prove that the risk factors that had been identified had been adequately mitigated.

After assessing the legal and factual allegations, the IACHR found that the 11 proposed beneficiaries are at risk and that their condition may even get worse, given that they are deprived of liberty, that their health is currently frail, and that they are not being granted access to adequate medical care.

Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR asked the State of Nicaragua to take the following action:

  1. Adopt any measures necessary to protect the beneficiaries' rights to life, personal integrity, and health (in particular, to officially report on their current condition, considering that they are in State custody)
  2. Take all measures necessary to ensure that the beneficiaries' conditions of detention reflect the applicable international standards, including the following:
    1. Ensuring that they have access to adequate, specialized medical care and immediately conducting a specialist medical examination of their current health condition
    2. Ensuring that they have access to the medical care they require to treat their various health issues, with an appropriate gender perspective
    3. Enabling regular access to and contact with their families and lawyers
    4. Considering the option of granting them alternatives to deprivation of liberty, given that it is impossible to protect their rights in their current conditions of detention
  3. Come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken
  4. Report on any actions adopted to investigate the alleged events that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures, in order to prevent such events from happening again in the future

The fact that these precautionary measures have been granted and their adoption by the State do not entail a prejudgment on a potential petition that may be filed before the inter-American system to allege violations of rights protected by 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.

No. 078/24

1:40 PM