Press Release

IACHR Deplores Murder of Seventh Member of the Barrios Family in Venezuela

June 2, 2011

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deplores the murder of Juan José Barrios, the seventh member of the Barrios family to be murdered in Venezuela.

According to the information received, Juan José Barrios, 28 years old, was murdered on May 28, 2011, by two persons dressed in black, who shot him several times. Juan José Barrios was a beneficiary of Provisional Measures ordered by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IA Court). Previously, between 1998 and 2010, another six members of the Barrios family were murdered: Benito and Narciso Barrios were executed extrajudicially by Aragua police officers, and the IACHR determined in the processing of this case that there is enough evidence to conclude that Luis, Rigoberto and Oscar Barrios were killed in the same way. In January 2011, Néstor Caudi Barrios, witness in the extrajudicial execution of Narciso Barrios, was a victim of an assassination attempt.

The IACHR and the IA Court have followed this situation through all available mechanisms, including requests for information, precautionary and provisional measures, Commission reports on admissibility and on the merits, and submission of an application to the Inter-American Court. However, the Venezuelan State has not adopted the necessary measures to protect the life of the members of this family, who continue to be targets of assassination, detention, raids, threats and harassment. Moreover, the State has not ordered an effective investigation of these crimes, which remain in impunity.

The Barrios family is being eliminated while the State stands by, ignoring the calls, decisions, recommendations and orders of the two bodies of the Inter-American System on Human Rights.

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 is mandated to promote respect for 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 a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


No. 51/11