IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Bernardo Arévalo and Karin Herrera, Who Make Up the Semilla Party Presidential Ticket in Guatemala

August 24, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 48/2023 on August 24, 2023, to grant precautionary measures in favor of César Bernardo Arévalo de León and Karin Herrera Aguilar in Guatemala, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights. Arévalo de León and Herrera Aguilar are on the presidential ticket of the Semilla party that won the recent presidential election in Guatemala, according to the preliminary results issued by the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

According to the request for these precautionary measures, Semilla party candidates Arévalo de León and Herrera Aguilar are being subjected to stigmatization, harassment, hounding, public disclosure of personal details on social media, and threats including two specific plans to hurt them and even kill them, one of which has been officially reported by the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor's Office.

The State reported on several measures that had been adopted to address this situation. It said it had taken security measures through its Secretariat for Administrative Affairs and Security and its Interior Ministry, including the deployment of security officers, vehicles, a security perimeter, and other protection mechanisms. The State also noted that Arévalo de León and Herrera Aguilar had a broad protection scheme that had been reinforced and could be kept up in the current Guatemalan election scenario.

When assessing this request for precautionary measures, the Commission took the allegations into consideration in the context it has recently been monitoring in Guatemala. The IACHR commended the State on the actions it had taken and on its willingness to provide information on this matter. However, the Commission is concerned about reports of at least one plan to hurt or even kill the two beneficiaries, which was officially reported by the Public Prosecutor's Office although no details were provided of any measures taken in response to it. Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR asked the State of Guatemala to take the following action:

  1. Adopt any measures necessary to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of César Bernardo Arévalo de León and Karin Herrera Aguilar, based on the findings held in the relevant IACHR resolution
  2. Come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken
  3. Report on any actions adopted to investigate the events that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures, in order to prevent such events from happening again in the future

The fact that these precautionary measures have been granted and their 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 American Convention on Human Rights and other 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.

No. 194/23

3:15 PM