IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Journalist Aldemar Solano Cuéllar and His Son in Colombia

May 21, 2024

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 32/2024 on May 16, 2024, to grant precautionary measures in favor of journalist Aldemar Solano Cuéllar and his son in Colombia, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights to life and personal integrity.

The request for these precautionary measures alleged that Aldemar Solano Cuéllar, director of the digital newscast "Conexión" that is broadcast from the Meta department, and his son Aldemar had both been subjected to death threats and other forms of extortion by the illegal armed group Clan del Golfo, demanding that Solano Cuéllar join the organization. Despite complaints filed about these events and despite various requests for protection, the State had allegedly failed to take concrete measures to preserve Solano Cuéllar's safety, which had in turn led him not to leave his home and had therefore affected his journalistic work.

The State reported on its National Development Plan 2022–2026, which includes strategies to protect human rights defenders and journalists. The State further noted that the National Police had taken some preventive and deterrent measures, including self-protection talks and patrolling. According to the information that was submitted to the Commission, the authorities of the Meta department and the Villavicencio Mayor's Office have set up protection routes and are currently assessing the request for security measures in favor of Solano Cuéllar. The State said that the National Protection Unit (UNP) was assessing the risk level in order to take appropriate measures.

The Commission noted the action taken by the State. However, the IACHR found that death threats against Solano Cuéllar and his son persisted and that, while the journalist had left Villavicencio for security reasons, he had had to return to the city to keep doing his work as a reporter. The Commission also found that no material protection measures had been taken and that the UNP's risk assessment remained pending. Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR asked the State of Colombia to take the following action:

  1. Adopt any measures necessary to protect beneficiaries' rights to life and personal integrity
  2. Take any measures necessary to enable Aldemar Solano Cuéllar to do his work as a journalist without being subjected to threats, harassment, or any other acts of violence for doing such work
  3. Come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken
  4. 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 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. 109/24

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