IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of 34 Members of El Faro Online Newspaper in El Salvador

February 4, 2021

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Washington, D.C.- On January 4, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 12/2021, through which it granted precautionary measures in favor of 34 workers at El Faro online newspaper in El Salvador, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

In reaching its decision, the IACHR took into account the fact that, according to the petition, the beneficiaries work for El Faro online newspaper, an independent media outlet, and are allegedly being subjected to harassment, threats, intimidation, and stigmatization, mainly through social networks, because of their work as journalists. The IACHR deemed that the information it had received regarding the risk the beneficiaries are in, which it assessed in the context of the current situation in El Salvador, suggests that the harassment, threats, and intimidation the beneficiaries allegedly experienced were intended not only to intimidate them but also to prevent them from going about their work as journalists. The beneficiaries are extremely exposed as a result of this state of affairs, which is putting them at greater risk. The IACHR also deemed that although the State had taken action when it became aware of the alleged facts, to date it has not implemented protection measures to mitigate the risk the beneficiaries are currently exposed to.

After analyzing the de facto and de jure allegations put forward by the two parties, the IACHR deemed that, prima facie, the 34 members of El Faro online newspaper that have been identified are in a serious, urgent predicament as their rights to life and personal integrity at risk of suffering irreparable damage. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that El Salvador: (a) take the necessary measures to guarantee the beneficiaries' rights to life and personal integrity; (b) take the necessary measures to enable the beneficiaries to go about their work as journalists and exercise their right to freedom of expression without being subjected to acts of intimidation, threats, or other acts of violence in the course of doing so; (c) agree on any measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and (d) report on the actions it implements to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights and other applicable instruments have been violated.

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. 023/21