IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Adopts New Precautionary Measures Based on MESENI’s Work, Condemns Attack on Félix Maradiaga

July 12, 2018

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María Isabel Rivero
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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has granted new precautionary measures based on the work of its Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI, by its Spanish acronym), with the aim of protecting persons who face a serious and urgent risk of suffering irreparable damage. The Commission also condemns the attack on human rights defender Félix Maradiaga, one of the beneficiaries of precautionary measures in Nicaragua.

The IACHR adopted resolution 45/2018 on July 1, 2018, granting precautionary measures to protect the rights of Isaac de Jesús Molina Rojas and Fabiola Mercedes Villafranca Gutiérrez. The request for precautionary measures alleged that Isaac de Jesús Molina Rojas had suffered three attacks on his life. On the last one of those attacks, he allegedly received two shots—one to his abdomen and another to his back—although he survived. The man who requested these measures said that his alleged attackers knew where he lived and what vehicles he used, and noted that he had previously received threats over the phone.

The IACHR adopted resolution 48/2018 on July 7, 2018, granting precautionary measures to protect the rights of Janeth Velásquez Lopez and her family. The Commission bore in mind the fact that the family’s home and business had been set ablaze on June 15, 2018, causing the deaths of six family members including two children. The IACHR noted that—although there are different accounts about who perpetrated that attack and a technical team has been set up to shed light on the case—the allegations of a potential State involvement are particularly serious, especially since the fire was allegedly the result of arson. The Commission has been told that the family cannot go out onto the street, out of fear, and that they are hiding in a private home, in very vulnerable conditions.

The IACHR adopted resolution 51/2018 on July 9, 2018, granting precautionary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Edwin Manuel Acevedo Hernández, José Dolores Borge Porra and Manuel Hernández Vega. Based on the information the Commission has received, beneficiaries were allegedly detained by armed persons dressed as civilians, and one of them was allegedly shot in the leg as he was being detained. Later, beneficiaries allegedly resurfaced in a State-run detention center known as El Chipote. They reported threats warning that their attackers would return to the home where they had sought refuge, to “kill everyone.” The MESENI received this request for precautionary measures after accompanying the Verification and Security Commission to witness the release of the three detainees.

The IACHR adopted resolution 50/2018 on July 9, 2018, granting precautionary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Félix Alejandro Maradiaga Blandón, head of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policy (Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos y Políticas Públicas). Mr. Maradiaga had allegedly received threats and been followed and harassed in connection with the complaints he had voiced nationally and internationally about the acts of violence that have been happening in Nicaragua. Armed persons—one of them in a hooded top, the other wearing a helmet—allegedly once chased the beneficiary and shot at the vehicle in which he was travelling. Further, threats had been spread on social media, concretely expressing the intent to murder Mr. Maradiaga. Before all of the above, he had been followed by Toyota Hilux trucks with no number plates as well as by people on motorbikes.

Based on publicly available information, after that resolution’s notification, Mr. Maradiaga was attacked on July 11, 2018, when several people in hooded tops entered the building and beat him up during a meeting with members of the group “Movimiento 19 de Abril” (April 19 Movement) in León. Félix Maradiaga was taken to Vivian Pellas Hospital in Managua to seek treatment for his wounds. The attack allegedly happened days after another group of masked attackers held up Mr. Maradiaga while he was travelling by road to Matagalpa.

The Commission condemns that attack and urges the Nicaraguan State to immediately adopt all measures necessary to protect the life and personal integrity of Mr. Maradiaga and of all precautionary measure beneficiaries. The IACHR stresses that the State has an obligation to thoroughly investigate such attacks and to prosecute and punish the people responsible for them. “The Commission is concerned about the failure to effectively enforce precautionary measures. The Nicaraguan State must urgently take measures to prevent attacks against beneficiaries and ensure that events like those reported against Mr. Maradiaga do not happen again,” said Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren, the IACHR’s Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. “It is essential for the Nicaraguan State to guarantee that human rights defenders can pursue their efforts to denounce and document human rights violations freely and safely. It is largely up to those defenders to ensure that victims of human rights violations can be heard and have access to justice,” said Commissioner Eguiguren.  

The Commission continues to receive and assess requests that meet the requirements set in Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, and to make decisions on them. 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. 150/18