Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Protection Measures in Favor of Freddy Alberto Navas Lopez, Leader of the Campesino Movement in Nicaragua

September 17, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - On September 14, 2019, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 46/19 granting precautionary measures to protect the rights to life and integrity of Freddy Alberto Navas Lopez in Nicaragua, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his human rights.

Through MESENI, the IACHR has been following the situation in Nicaragua closely, and has noted that social leaders or opponents of the current government are in a particularly vulnerable situation. In reaching its decision, the IACHR argued that the beneficiary, Freddy Navas, has a very high profile as one of the leaders of the campesino movement. As a consequence, the beneficiary was deprived of his freedom for over six months as part of the current criminalisation of protest in Nicaragua.

The applicant alleged that after the beneficiary had been released from prison on June 11, 2019, he was again followed by cars belonging to the police or parapolice forces in a similar fashion to the way he had been persecuted before his arrest, which has allegedly led him to seek refuge in safe houses. Similarly, the applicant noted that the beneficiary had been held by the police and questioned in an intimidating manner on at least two occasions since being released, on August 8 and 12, 2019.

Specifically, on August 12, on his return from the campesino demonstration in Costa Rica, the beneficiary was allegedly arrested by “police and riot police” for more than an hour and was questioned about his political ideology and the supposes sources of financing for the campesino demonstration. He was photographed, his luggage was searched, personal items were removed from it, and his cell phone and diary were examined. The police subsequently tried to hold him for longer, allegedly without justifying the reasons for wishing to do so, but his detainment was apparently prevented by the arrival of the press and representatives of civil society. When reviewing these events, the IACHR took into account the fact that the state agents who allegedly questioned the proposed beneficiary were said to have been “heavily armed” and spoke threateningly about relatives of his who live outside the country, allegedly by claiming that “the commander’s arms reach beyond the border.”

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the state of Nicaragua take the necessary measures to guarantee the right to life and personal integrity and health of Freddy Alberto Navas Lopez. In particular, the state must guarantee that its agents respect the beneficiary’s rights in accordance with the standards set out in international human rights law and third-party risks. The IACHR also requested that the state report on the actions it has taken to investigate into the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure and thus prevent them from being repeated.

The IACHR stresses that the granting and adoption of this precautionary measure by the state does not entail a prejudgment regarding human rights violations protected by 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. 230/19