IACHR Grants Precautionary Measure to the Jesuit Community in Cerocahui, Chihuahua

January 31, 2023

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Washington, D.C. — On January 22, 2023, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 2/2023, through which it granted precautionary measures in favor of the Jesuit community in Cerocahui, Tarahumara, in Urique municipality, Chihuahua, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

According to the request, the beneficiaries have been subjected to threats and aggression by organized crime groups, which has prevented them from carrying out their pastoral and community support activities in the area. In June 2022, two priests were murdered inside the church, which has unleashed a context of stigmatization and delegitimization of the proposed beneficiaries after they spoke out against these murders and the investigation into them, and has also led to their position on the State's security policies being called into question.

The State reported that it had reinforced security measures in the Chihuahua region; established an Interinstitutional Operations Base with a multicultural approach; set up a suboffice of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Choreachi; adopted measures within the framework of the Comprehensive Care Plan; and met with representatives regarding security measures; among other initiatives.

The IACHR acknowledged the geographical difficulties that may arise when implementing more immediate security measures; however, an effective, adequate security scheme to protect the eleven members of the Jesuit community is not yet being implemented.

In view of the context of violence and insecurity that especially affects the inhabitants of the Tarahumara region, Chihuahua, and after analyzing the information presented by both parties, the IACHR considered that the beneficiaries are, prima facie, at grave and urgent risk, as a result of threats and harassment from organized crime groups, which has put their rights to life and personal integrity at risk. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the State of Mexico:

  1. adopt the security measures needed to protect the life and personal integrity of the beneficiaries. These measures should include guaranteeing their safety and preventing harassment, intimidation, and violence against them by third parties;
  2. adopt protection measures that will allow the proposed beneficiaries to continue carrying out their pastoral work without being targeted by threats, intimidation, harassment, and acts of violence;
  3. agree on any measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and
  4. report on the actions it takes to investigate into the allegations that led to the issuing of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The IACHR's granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State of Mexico does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by any applicable instruments have been violated.

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. 012/23

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