IACHR Grants Precautionary Protection Measures in Favor of María de los Ángeles Matienzo Puerto and Kirenia Yalit Núñez Pérez in Cuba

March 22, 2021

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Washington, D.C. - On March14, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 26/21 (link in Spanish), granting precautionary measures in favor of María de los Ángeles Matienzo Puerto and Kirenia Yalit Núñez Pérez in Cuba, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights to life and personal integrity.

The IACHR identified that the couple in question are as human rights defenders and independent journalists and have faced various situations entailing risk in Cuba over a period of approximately seven years. The various events reported include threats, surveillance, intimidation, aggression, and insulting messages. The IACHR noted with particular concern that some of these messages included manifestations of gender prejudice against the work of women human rights defenders. In this regard, it observed that this prejudice generates a "heightened" situation of risk around prejudices relating to "roles that [women] should play in society." Despite the seriousness of the events when viewed as a whole, no information was received on the existence of any protection scheme in favor of the couple, and the IACHR regrets not having received observations from the State on this matter, despite the fact that these were requested, in accordance with article 25.5 of its Rules of Procedure.

Consequently, the IACHR requested that the state of Cuba: a) take the necessary measures to guarantee the right to life and personal integrity of María de los Ángeles Matienzo Puerto and Kirenia Yalit Núñez Pérez. To that end, the state must guarantee that its agents respect the beneficiaries' rights while also protecting their rights in relation to third-party risk, in accordance with the standards established by international human rights law; b) take the necessary measures to enable the beneficiaries to go about their work as journalists and human rights defenders without being subjected to acts of violence, threats, intimidation, or other forms of harassment in the course of doing so; c) agree on any measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and d) report on the actions it implements to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention and other applicable instruments have been violated.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 068/21