Press Release

IACHR Deplores Murder in Venezuela of Tenth Member of the Barrios Family, a Beneficiary of Provisional Measures

May 29, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deplores the murder of Roniel David Barrios Alzul, the tenth member of that family to be killed in Venezuela.

According to the information received, the teenager Roniel David Barrios Alzul was killed in the town of Guanayen, Aragua State, on May 15, 2013, and his body was found on May 16, with several injuries caused by knives. Roniel David Barrios Alzul was a beneficiary of provisional measures handed down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Nine other members of the Barrios family had been murdered before him, between 1998 and 2012.

The Inter-American Commission and Court have followed this situation through all applicable means, including requests for information, precautionary measures, provisional measures, admissibility and merits reports by the Commission, and the submission of the case to the Inter-American Court. However, the State of Venezuela has not adopted the measures necessary to protect the lives of the members of this family, which continues to fall victim to murders, arrests, searches, threats, and harassment. Nor has the State ordered effective investigations into these crimes, which remain unpunished.

On November 24, 2011, the Inter-American Court issued a judgment in the Case of the Barrios Family v. Venezuela, in which it determined the State of Venezuela's international responsibility for the extrajudicial executions of Benito Antonio Barrios and Narciso Barrios, and for the failure to fulfill its obligation to prevent the deaths of Luis Alberto Barrios, the minor Rigoberto Barrios, Oscar José Barrios, Wilmer José Flores Barrios, and Juan Barrios. The Inter-American Court also addressed the situation of impunity that exists with regard to the human rights violations committed against the Barrios family.

After the Inter-American Court issued its ruling, Víctor Navarro Barrios and Jorge Antonio Barrios were murdered. That means that, even following the Inter-American Court's decision, and despite the provisional measures in effect, three more members of the family have been killed.

On May 29, the Inter-American Court held a public hearing on the implementation of the provisional measures for the Barrios family. The Commission condemns and deeply regrets that a few days before this hearing, another member of this family in such an extreme situation of risk has been killed.

The Barrios family is being exterminated in the face of inaction by the State, which has ignored the entreaties, decisions, recommendations, and orders of the two bodies that comprise the inter-American human rights system.

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 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. 38/13