IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 61/2021 on August 11, 2021, to extend precautionary measures in favor of Miguel de los Ángeles Mora Barberena in Nicaragua, in the belief that he faces a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his rights. According to the request for these precautionary measures, Mora Barberena remained at risk based on his work as a journalist and on his explicit intent to run in Nicaragua's upcoming presidential election. The request for these precautionary measures noted that Mora Barberena had been subjected to attacks and was being detained and held incommunicado from his family and legal counsel.
The Commission noted that Mora Barberena was a beneficiary of precautionary and urgent measures between 2018 and 2019. His representatives alleged that he continued to be followed and subjected to harassment and intimidation by police officers and unidentified attackers, defined as "para-State" individuals in the request for these precautionary measures. The Commission further observed that Mora Barberena had allegedly been assaulted by attackers who were travelling in a motor vehicle in the presence of the police in October 2020, and that officers had failed to counter that assault. Persistent risk is particularly worrying because it shows that Mora Barberena has been facing these conditions over time, even after he was released from detention in 2019. According to the IACHR, the fact that he was again detained in June 2021 and that his whereabouts were unknown for approximately 24 hours make his current situation particularly serious. According to Mora Barberena's representatives, his family was not sure about where he was being detained. He had allegedly been held incommunicado since he was arrested, and no official information had been provided about his situation for over a month. The State responded to the IACHR's request for information. However, this response did not refute the allegations, nor did it enable an assessment of how the State had been protecting Mora Barberena's rights since he had been in detention.
Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the Nicaraguan State to take the following action: a) adopt any measures necessary to protect Mora Barberena's rights to life and personal integrity (in particular, the State needs both to ensure that its officers will respect the beneficiary's rights, in compliance with the standards of international human rights law, and to protect those rights from dangerous acts that may be perpetrated by third parties); b) report on Mora Barberena's official whereabouts and on his conditions of detention, ensuring that the latter meet the relevant international standards (in this context, Mora Barberena should be granted access to his legal counsel and allowed family visits, in keeping with the relevant standards); c) come to an agreement with the beneficiary and his representatives regarding any measures that need to be adopted; and d) report on any actions taken to investigate the alleged events that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure, to prevent such events from happening again in the future.
The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the State do not entail a prejudgment on a potential petition that may be filed before the inter-American system to allege violations of rights protected by the 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.