Press Release

IACHR Issues Protection Measures in Favor of Héctor Armando Hernández Da Costa in Venezuela

October 18, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 53/2019 (only available in Spanish) on October 15, 2019, to grant precautionary protection measures in favor of Héctor Armando Hernández Da Costa in Venezuela, in the belief that he risks suffering irreparable damage to his rights.

Brigadier General Hernández Da Costa was deprived of his liberty at the headquarters of the General Department of Military Counterintelligence (DGCM, by its Spanish acronym). According to the request for protection measures, the beneficiary suffered ill-treatment at the DGCIM headquarters and did not receive the medical attention he needed. The organizations who requested this precautionary measure said Mr. Hernández Da Costa is a diabetic and also has gastrointestinal disorders, so he requires medical care and a specific diet. While he was being held at the DGCIM headquarters, he was a beneficiary of Precautionary Measure 178-19, granted in Resolution 14/2019 (only available in Spanish) to all individuals held at that site. On September 23, Mr. Hernández Da Costa was allegedly taken to the maximum security prison inside Fuerte Tiuna, in Caracas. The following week, his family were allowed to see him through a glass for 10 minutes and saw that his health condition had got worse.

The Commission has asked the State of Venezuela to adopt any measures necessary to protect the beneficiary’s rights to health, life, and personal integrity and to ensure that his conditions of detention comply with the applicable international standards. In particular, the Commission has asked the State to take any measures necessary to enable Mr. Hernández Da Costa to receive the medical care he needs in his current health condition, in line with the recommendations of the relevant specialists. To verify the beneficiary’s condition, the Commission has also asked the State to allow family visits in line with the applicable standards, and to report on any actions adopted to investigate the events that allegedly gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure, in order to prevent such events from happening again in the future.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its 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. 265/19