Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measure Related to Milagro Sala, in Argentina

July 28, 2017

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Washington, D.C.—On July 27, 2017, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted a precautionary measure based on a request presented in relation to the situation of Milagro Sala, who has been confined since January 2016 in Women’s Unit 3 of the Penitentiary Service, known as the “Penal del Alto Comedero,” in the province of Jujuy, Argentina.

After assessing the information provided by the Argentine State and the applicants, as well as the observations made during its visit on June 16, 2017, the Commission concluded that Milagro Sala is in a serious and urgent situation, as her rights to life and personal integrity are at risk of irreparable harm.

The Commission took into account that there are a series of particular circumstances surrounding Milagro Sala’s deprivation of liberty, and identified multiple risk factors that include alleged acts of harassment, a death threat, and attacks against her. The Commission also verified that Ms. Sala continues to be deprived of liberty despite the pronouncement of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which—in its Opinion 31/2016, issued in October 2016—characterized her detention as arbitrary, said it is in violation of standards established in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and called for her immediate release. The Commission determined that the sources of danger identified add up to a situation of risk to the life and integrity of Ms. Sala and require immediate measures to safeguard her rights.

Consequently, the Commission requested that the State of Argentina (a) adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the life and personal integrity of Milagro Sala and (b) reach agreement with the beneficiary and her representatives on the measures to be adopted. In addition, considering the exceptional nature of pretrial detention and the exacerbation of the risk to the beneficiary’s life and personal integrity as a result of the particular circumstances of her continued detention, as well as the alleged acts of harassment she has reportedly suffered and the need to safeguard her rights, the Commission requested that (c) the relevant authorities adopt, in the light of the standards described, alternative measures to pretrial detention, such as house arrest, or else that Milagro Sala be allowed to be free while facing trial, with measures such as electronic monitoring.

The Commission indicated that the granting of the precautionary measure and its adoption by the State do not constitute a prejudging of any petition that may come 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.

No. 107/17