Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Progress Made by Mexico to Implement Friendly Settlement in the Case of Antonio Jacinto López

October 3, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes compliance by the State of Mexico with non-repetition measures included in the friendly settlement concerning the case of Antonio Jacinto López, by creating a protocol to implement IACHR precautionary measures. The case concerns the failure to investigate the homicide of Antonio Jacinto López while he was a beneficiary of this kind of protection measure.

On September 8, 2006, the IACHR received a petition alleging that the Mexican State had violated the rights enshrined in articles 8 (fair trial), 23 (political rights), 25 (judicial protection), and 26 (progressive development) of the American Convention on Human Rights against Triqui indigenous leader Antonio Jacinto López and his family.

In July 2015, the parties started negotiating a friendly settlement that was eventually signed on September 23, 2015. Through this friendly settlement agreement, the Mexican State committed—among other measures—to adopting a Protocol to implement IACHR precautionary measures, in order to ensure non-repetition.

In accordance with this friendly settlement agreement, an event was held in Oaxaca’s Government Palace on August 28, 2019 to launch the “Protocol to Regulate and Implement the Protection Measures Established by the Universal, Inter-American, and National Human Rights Systems”. IACHR President Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño attended the event, along with several members of the Mexican government and the Oaxaca Governor’s Office. Representatives of the victims, who have supported this process since 2006, were also in attendance.

This Protocol seeks to establish the procedures that need to be monitored by the Unit for the Defense of Human Rights to address, coordinate, implement, and monitor requests for information and requests for the adoption of precautionary and temporary measures granted by institutions in the Inter-American Human Rights System. The Protocol further develops the procedure to receive requests for precautionary measures, and to address and respond to those requests in urgent cases, and also establishes how the relevant authorities should coordinate and monitor such measures.

“The system to implement and monitor precautionary measures has been faulty. The IACHR has observed that deficiencies were closely linked to the lack of a legal–institutional protection framework and to the failure to coordinate actions among the authorities in charge of providing protection and those in charge of investigating the events that gave rise to the risks that have been reported,” Commissioner Arosemena de Troitiño said at the ceremony where the Protocol was launched, in the state of Oaxaca. “This Protocol sets an important precedent in our region, concerning the positive real impact of friendly settlement processes. In this case in particular, this impact led to a Protocol to implement precautionary measures that seeks to ensure coordination among State institutions in order to provide better protection to beneficiaries of these kinds of measures—particularly human rights defenders—which is good practice as well as a model that can and should be replicated by other States,” said President Arosemena de Troitiño.

The Commission commends the Mexican State on its efforts to collect valuable concepts and principles concerning the implementation of protection measures and on the fluent dialogue with civil society throughout the process to draft this action guide. The Commission hopes this instrument will enable the Mexican State to provide adequate, effective, efficient, timely, well-coordinated, and transparent assistance to people who are granted protection measures.

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. 247/19