IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of E.R.L., a Person with Disabilities, in Colombia

November 21, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 67/2023 on November 20, 2023, to grant precautionary measures in favor of E.R.L. in Colombia, in the belief that he faces a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his rights.

The party who requested these precautionary measures said that, since he fell off a tree in 2018, E.R.L., now aged 39, suffers from idiopathic generalized epilepsy, moderate protein-calorie malnutrition, and unspecified urinary incontinence. He has therefore been identified as a person with cognitive disabilities and motor impairment. The medical care he has been prescribed was meant to be "continuous and uninterrupted," to prevent trauma, accidents, instances of what is known as status epilepticus, and even death. However, the party who requested these precautionary measures said that the court order demanding that the proposed beneficiary be institutionalized was yet to attain compliance. A platform was created to address the proposed beneficiary's situation.

The State argued that the healthcare provider Coosalud had taken action with a view to ensuring that the patient had access to all the services prescribed by his doctor. The State further noted that both the National Health Superintendence and the Santander Health Department had been constantly monitoring the measures taken by Coosalud. The Stated said that Coosalud had conducted various medical examinations, remote medical consultations, and therapy sessions. The State said a court order had been sent to the municipality of Bucaramanga so that, given that the patient lived in extreme poverty and needed to be institutionalized because of a state of neglect, any procedural requirements might be streamlined, for him to be adequately placed.

After assessing the information provided by both parties, the Commission noted that, given the relevant medical examinations, the consultations held on the matter, and the court orders that had been issued, it is broadly understood that the beneficiary needs immediate care. The IACHR stressed that the State, through its institutions, must step up its efforts to provide the assistance the patient needs. Therefore, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State of Colombia to take the following action:

  1. Take any measures necessary to protect the rights to life, humane treatment, and health of E.R.L. (particularly—considering the medical and socioeconomic examinations he has undergone—ensuring he receives the medical care he requires in an adequate and timely manner)
  2. Come to an agreement with the beneficiary and his representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken

The fact that these precautionary measures have been granted and their adoption by the State of Colombia 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 is mandated to promote the observance 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. 271/23

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