IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Sonia Chilgueso, Diana Montilla, and Their Families in Colombia

May 28, 2024

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 34/2024 on May 23, 2024, to grant precautionary measures in favor of indigenous woman Sonia Chilgueso Dagua and lawyer and human rights defender Diana Montilla Moreno, as well as their families, 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 the proposed beneficiaries were being subjected to intimidation, harassment, and threats by armed groups. Despite the complaints and the requests for protection that had been filed before Colombian authorities, no protection measures had allegedly been implemented, while the relevant investigations had allegedly made no progress. The State reported on the protection measures taken by the Police and by the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare and noted the investigation that had been launched by the Colombian Public Prosecutor's Office.

The Commission found that the beneficiaries were exposed to threats, to being declared military targets, to hounding by armed groups, to forced displacement, and to attempted kidnappings. These risks might have had fatal consequences in the case of Chilgueso Dagua's daughter, who was missing and might reportedly have died in a clash between different armed groups. The IACHR found that the action taken by the Colombian State had proved insufficient to mitigate the risks in this case.

The Commission further found that the data showed prima facie that the case met the seriousness, urgency, and irreparability criteria contemplated in Article 25 of the IACHR's Rules of Procedure. Consequently, the Commission asked the State of Colombia to take the following action:

  1. Adopt any culturally appropriate measures necessary to protect the beneficiaries' rights to life and personal integrity, in line with the applicable international standards and in compliance with Colombia's international obligations (particularly by establishing the whereabouts and condition of V.C.D., daughter of Sonia Chilgueso Dagua, who remains missing)
  2. Come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and/or their representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken
  3. 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. 115/24

10:40 AM