IACHR Publishes Friendly Settlement Agreement on Case Concerning the Forced Displacement of Blanca Sánchez and Her Family in Colombia

December 22, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement agreement concerning Case 14,887—Blanca Ruth Sánchez de Franco and Family, Colombia—and to publish approval report 274/23.

This case concerns the State's international responsibility for the displacement suffered by Blanca Ruth Sánchez de Franco and her family due to crimes committed by armed groups in Colombia (which included threats issued against her and her family in 2001), for the failure to investigate those events, and for the failure to compensate her for the loss of her home in the San Vicente municipality, in the department of Antioquia.

On February 9, 2022, the parties launched negotiations and signed a memorandum of understanding that led to a friendly settlement agreement signed on May 18, 2023. In this agreement, the State acknowledged its international responsibility for violations of the rights to humane treatment (Article 5.1), to a fair trial (Articles 8.1), and to judicial protection (Article 25.1) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Article 1.1 (obligation to respect rights) of that instrument.

The State committed to implementing various satisfaction measures, including the following: holding an event to acknowledge its responsibility, publishing Article 49 of the friendly settlement report, taking healthcare measures (including medical, psychological, and psychosocial care), and providing financial compensation.

The IACHR highlighted full compliance with measures concerning the event to acknowledge responsibility and noted that other commitments remained pending. The Commission will therefore continue to monitor this agreement until full implementation has been verified.

The IACHR commends both parties on their efforts while negotiating this friendly settlement agreement, which turned out to be compatible with the Convention's aims and purposes. The Commission commends the State on its efforts to develop a public policy concerning friendly settlements and alternative conflict-resolution. The IACHR invites the State to continue to use the friendly settlement mechanism to resolve other cases that are currently being addressed in the individual petition and case system. The Commission congratulates the petitioning party for all its efforts to take part in negotiations and to seek implementation of this agreement.

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. 314/23

12:00 PM