IACHR Press Office
Washington, DC—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its regret over the deaths of Mr. José Humberto Hernández Rodríguez and Mr. Román Tovar Zambrano on March 23 and 24, 2021, respectively, in Venezuela. Both were beneficiaries of precautionary measures granted by the IACHR through Resolutions No. 8/2021 of January 28, 2021, and No. 4/2021 of January 7, 2021, respectively.
After these two precautionary measures were granted, the IACHR did not receive any information indicating that Venezuela's national institutions had taken suitable, effective action to implement the IACHR's requests. On the contrary, the representative responsible for both cases reported that no measures had been taken to implement them.
The IACHR requested that the State take the necessary measures to protect the beneficiaries' rights by guaranteeing them access to the medical treatments prescribed by their respective doctors. Tovar was a patient with multiple sclerosis and had stopped receiving the medical treatment he was prescribed in 2016. Hernández, who was being deprived of his liberty, suffered from severe respiratory distress and lung injury and reportedly did not receive timely medical attention.
The IACHR called on the State of Venezuela to adopt all the measures needed to implement the precautionary measures that are currently in force. It also noted that the granting of precautionary measures makes States aware of situations in which beneficiaries are at risk. This implies a special duty to provide protection in such a way that effectively implementing these measures constitutes a reasonable means of preventing the risk in question from becoming a reality. In this sense, it was the State's duty to prevent events that would have been detrimental to beneficiaries' rights from occurring.
The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.