IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Human Rights Defender Víctor Moreno in Colombia

May 21, 2024

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 33/2024 on May 20, 2024, to grant precautionary measures in favor of Víctor Miguel Ángel Moreno in Colombia, in the belief that he faces a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his rights. Moreno, a community leader, is the legal representative of the Community Council of Black Communities in the municipality of Pueblo Rico, in the department of Risaralda.

According to the request for these precautionary measures, Moreno had been subjected to death threats and other forms of intimidation by individuals linked to the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the armed group known as Clan del Golfo. He had allegedly also been declared a military target after failing to attend the various meetings with armed organizations that he had been summoned to. Although several complaints had been filed, the relevant investigations were allegedly not making progress. The request for these precautionary measures further questioned the measures that had been taken, involving telephone contact between the beneficiary and a designated police officer, for being insufficient.

The State said it had activated various State mechanisms regarding the measures that had been requested. In particular, the State mentioned an order to implement measures that was under review by the National Protection Unit (UNP) and various phone calls made to the beneficiary by the Risaralda Police Department. The State further noted that two investigations had been launched and remained open at the public prosecutor's office.

When assessing this request for precautionary measures, the Commission took into consideration the allegations in the broader context in Colombia. The IACHR noted the protection measures that had already been taken. However, given the nature of these threats, the lack of information about progress made in the investigations that were ongoing, and the need to reinforce protection measures, the Commission found that the risks had not been adequately mitigated. Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR decided to grant these precautionary measures and asked the State of Colombia to take the following action:

  1. Adopt any measures necessary to protect the beneficiary's rights to life and personal integrity, with a differentiated approach based on ethnicity
  2. Take any measures necessary to enable the beneficiary to do his work in defense of human rights without being subjected to threats, harassment, or any other acts of violence for doing such work
  3. Come to an agreement with the beneficiary and his 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 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. 110/24

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