Press Release

IACHR Extends Precautionary Measures in Favor of PROVEA Coordinator and Directors of the Venezuelan Criminal Forum

December 27, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - On December 24, 2019, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolutions 63/2019 (link in Spanish) and 64/2019 (link in Spanish) granting precautionary protection measures in favor of Carlos Patiño of PROVEA and Gonzalo Himiob Santomé and Robiro Terán of the Venezuelan Criminal Forum, in Venezuela, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights. The IACHR previously adopted precautionary measures in favor of certain members of the Criminal Forum through Resolution 8/2015 (link in Spanish) and certain members of PROVEA, through Resolution 36/2015 (link in Spanish).

In reaching its decision, the IACHR took into account the fact that high-ranking authorities in Venezuela have made and are continuing to make stigmatizing, denigrating statements against the beneficiaries. Given the current context in Venezuela, the beneficiaries are more publicly exposed than other members of the organizations they represent because they occupy leadership positions The IACHR observed that stigmatizing statements contribute to heightening the climate of hostility and intolerance among different sectors of the population, which could impact the lives and personal integrity of defenders by making them more vulnerable. The IACHR paid particular attention to the lack of protective measures in place for these beneficiaries from these organizations and noted the fact that they have already been subject to acts of aggression, which prompted the granting of precautionary measures in their favor.

The IACHR regretted the state’s failure to respond to these circumstances, as this prevents it from understanding the state’s observations or the measures that it might be taking to remedy the alleged risk the beneficiaries are in. The IAHCR also noted the lack of recent, up-to-date information on the protective measures adopted by the state in response to the precautionary measures it has already granted.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure, the Commission requested that the state of Venezuela take all necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of the beneficiaries; that it take steps to guarantee that they can go about their work as human rights defenders without being subject to threats, harassment, or acts of violence in the course of doing so; that it determine the measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and that it report on the actions it takes to investigate the allegations that led to the adoption of these precautionary measures so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The granting and adoption of this precautionary measure by the state does not entail a prejudgment regarding alleged 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. 337/19