The IACHR issues precautionary measures in favor of Ligia del Carmen Ramos, in Honduras

October 15, 2021

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 84/2021 on October 12, 2021, by which it granted precautionary measures to Ligia del Carmen Ramos Zúñiga, in Honduras, after considering that she is in a serious and urgent situation presenting a risk of irreparable harm to her rights.

According to the request, the beneficiary, a doctor by profession, a human rights defender and currently a candidate for elective office, is highly recognized in Honduras for denouncing alleged acts of corruption related to the health sector and, more recently, to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the above, since 2015 she has reportedly been the object of threats and harassment and recently, in 2021, she learned of an alleged plan to assassinate her. Thus, given the lack of protection for her, she allegedly left the country after learning about the plan and, in August 2021, she returned to Honduras, where she has identified various threatening situations.

For its part, the State indicated that, in the past, the beneficiary did not agree with the measures suggested for her by the Protection Mechanism, and that on August 16, 2021, a new request for protection was received, which is under review.

The IACHR assessed the information received in light of the context of violence against human rights defenders in Honduras and of the need to strengthen the Protection Mechanism. In turn, on this specific situation, the IACHR considered the link between the reported threatening acts and the work of the beneficiary, the continuance and persistency of those acts over the years, the different complaints filed without any progress and the lack of measures implemented in favor of Ms. Ramos Zúñiga. Regarding the measures offered to and rejected by the beneficiary in 2018, the IACHR took into consideration that this occurred in response to a situation that no longer corresponds to the beneficiary's current situation, as the risk has exacerbated. In addition, the IACHR recalled the importance of ensuring that the protection measures are suitable and effective to address the risk described.

Consequently, the IACHR considered that Ligia del Carmen Ramos Zúñiga is in a serious and urgent situation, since her rights to life and personal integrity are at risk. Therefore, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission requested that the State of Honduras

  1. adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and integrity of the beneficiary. In particular, the State must ensure that its agents respect the life and personal integrity of the beneficiary, as well as protect her rights from threatening acts attributable to third parties, in accordance with the standards established by international human rights law;
  2. adopt the necessary measures so that Ligia del Carmen Ramos Zúñiga may carry out her activities as a human rights defender without being subjected to acts of violence, threats, harassment, or other threatening acts in the exercise of her duties. This should include the adoption of measures so that she can properly exercise her right to freedom of expression;
  3. consult and agree upon the measures to be adopted with the beneficiary and her representatives; and
  4. report on the actions taken to investigate the alleged facts that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent them from reoccurring.

The decision to grant this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State do not constitute a prejudgment of any petition filed with the inter-American system 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. 277/21

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