Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Mônica Tereza Azeredo Benício in Brazil

August 5, 2018

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Washington, D.C. - On August 1, 2018, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted precautionary measures in favor of Mônica Tereza Azeredo Benício, the partner of human rights defender and councilor Marielle Franco, who was killed on March 14, 2018, in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

In reaching its decision, the IACHR took into account the fact that the beneficiary had been subjected to threats and harassment and had been followed, presumably in connection with the murder of her partner, councilor and human rights defender Marielle Franco. According to the information it received, Mônica Teresa Azeredo Benício has taken on the human rights work that Marielle Franco was engaged in at the time of her death and has spoken out around the circumstances of her murder and delays in the investigation into this. The IACHR also noted that although the state reported that a protection mechanism was in place for human rights defenders in Brazil and that it had contacted the beneficiary, to date there are no specific protection measures for Mônica Teresa Azeredo Benício and nor has her predicament been comprehensively assessed so as to determine whether such measures are necessary. It also noted that in the absence of information on the current status of the investigation into Marielle Franco’s murder, the information currently at the IACHR’s disposal does not allow it to assume that the alleged risk Mônica Teresa Azeredo Benício is facing has effectively been mitigated by punishing those responsible for her partner’s death. This information was evaluated by the IACHR in light of the particular risk affecting human rights defenders from the LGBTI community.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure, the Commission requested that Brazil take all necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Mônica Tereza Azeredo Benício; that it take steps to guarantee that she can go about her work as a human rights defender without being subject to threats, harassment, or acts of violence in the course of doing so; that it determine the measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiary and her representatives; and that it report on the actions it takes to investigate the allegations that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state 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 the American Convention and other 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. 172/18