Press Release

The IACHR issued precautionary measures in favor of social and youth leader Yiner Hernán Quiguantar Cortés, in Colombia

July 19, 2021

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Washington, D.C.- On July 15, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued resolution 53/2021, granting precautionary measures to Yiner Hernán Quiguantar Cortés, in Colombia, after considering that he is in a serious and urgent situation presenting risk of irreparable harm to his rights.

The request indicates that the beneficiary, a 22-year-old young man, a political, indigenous and youth leader in the Department of Cauca, has been the target of threats and harassment as a result of his activities as a leader and defender of human rights. The request provides information on various threatening events that reportedly started in 2019 and intensified during 2021, in which the perpetrators have made references to his work. In this sense, it was reported that on June 11, 2021, the beneficiary was physically attacked and threatened with death. Moreover, information was provided on various complaints and actions taken against the State.

For its part, the State reported on various actions taken, mainly by local authorities, in an attempt to address the situation of the proposed beneficiary, including through "self-protection measures" reportedly implemented by police authorities. It was further reported by both parties that the National Protection Unit determined that the beneficiary is in a situation of "extraordinary risk" and ordered the implementation of protection measures in his favor, consisting of means of communication and a bulletproof vest.

In this regard, the Commission reviewed the information received in light of the current context in Colombia, particularly the situation of social leaders and human rights defenders in areas affected by violence, which has had a special impact on the Department of Cauca. The Commission also considered the unique position of the State as guarantor over human rights defenders.

The Commission further reviewed the available information, according to which the measures ordered in favor of the beneficiary, Yiner Hernán Quiguantar Cortés, have not been implemented to date, having solely relied on self-protection measures. Thus, considering the threats, harassment and attacks that the beneficiary is being subjected to as a result of his work, and in the absence of adequate and effective protection measures to date, Yiner is in a serious and urgent situation, given that his rights to life and personal integrity are at risk.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State of Colombia to a) adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Yiner Hernás Quiguantar Cortés. In particular, the State must ensure that the protection measures implemented are sufficiently effective and adequate, in light of the risks identified in the resolution, so that he can continue to carry out his activities as a social leader and human rights defender, without being subjected to risk events against him; b) consult and agree upon the measures to be adopted with the beneficiary and his representatives; and c) report on the actions taken to investigate the alleged facts that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent such events from reoccurring.

The decision to grant this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State does not constitute a prejudgment of any petition filed with the inter-American system and alleging violations of the rights protected in the American Convention or other applicable Human Rights 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 the observance and defense of 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. 183/21

6:15 PM