Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Ecuador to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

November 1, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed on July 11, 2019 an application before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in a case involving Luis Eduardo Guachalá Chimbó and his family, with regard to Ecuador.

This case refers to the disappearance of Luis Eduardo Guachalá Chimbó, who had a mental disability, in January 2004, while he was a patient at a public center for mental health care in Quito, Ecuador. In its Merits Report, the IACHR considered that the State had violated Mr. Guachalá’s right to legal capacity by institutionalizing him at a center for mental health care without obtaining his informed consent. The Commission further considered that Mr. Guachalá’s commitment to this facility therefore amounted to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty and a form of discrimination based on his disability.

The IACHR also considered that the State had violated Mr. Guachalá’s rights to life and to personal integrity, for failing to seriously investigate these events in order to solve the case, and to admit its own presumed liability whenever someone disappears while in State custody. The IACHR further considered that the Ecuadorian State had violated the rights to a fair trial and to judicial protection—since investigations were not conducted with due diligence—and that the almost 16 years that have passed since a formal complaint was filed without the State solving the case amount to an excessive delay.

In its Merits Report, the Commission made the following recommendations—among others—to the State: i) taking measures to provide satisfaction and financial compensation; ii) searching for the victim’s whereabouts and fate, or for his remains; iii) in case the victim is found alive, providing any mental health care he may need; iv) further pursuing investigations to solve this case and to punish anyone responsible for it; and v) taking any legislative, administrative, and any other measures needed to prevent similar events from happening again in the future.

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. 283/19