Press Release

IACHR Extends Precautionary Measures in Favor of Víctor Ugas, Urges State of Venezuela to Comply with Precautionary Measures in Favor of Legislator Gilbert Caro

January 10, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 2/2020 on January 10, 2020, to extend precautionary measures in favor of Víctor Ugas—an assistant to Legislator Gilbert Caro—in Venezuela, in the belief that he faces a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable damage to his rights. The IACHR further urges the State of Venezuela to comply with the precautionary measures granted in favor of Gilbert Caro on May 2, 2019, through Resolution 26/2019.

When making this decision, the Commission considered that—according to the request for precautionary measures—Gilbert Caro and Víctor Ugas were arrested on December 20, 2019 by officers of various State law-enforcement institutions. The details of their fate and whereabouts allegedly remain unknown, despite the constitutional appeals filed to request that information. To assess Mr. Ugas’ potential vulnerability given his ties to Mr. Caro, the Commission took into consideration the information supplied by representatives of the parties and monitored by the IACHR. Based on that information, this is at least the third time Mr. Caro has been arrested by officers of the State, and the second time the authorities have failed to notify his whereabouts following an arrest. The Commission reminded the State of its obligation to not exercise, allow, or tolerate forced disappearances of persons, in keeping with the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons. The Commission also noted that allegations of forced disappearances of persons are subjected to the precautionary measure mechanism. In accordance with Article 25.5 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State for information, but the State failed to comply.

After assessing the legal and factual allegations made by representatives of the parties, the IACHR considered that—based on the standards that are applicable prima facie—Víctor Ugas faces a situation of grave and urgent risk, since his rights to life and integrity risk suffering irreparable damage. Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State of Venezuela to:

a) adopt any measures necessary to protect Víctor Ugas’ rights to life and personal integrity (and, in particular, report on whether the beneficiary is in State custody and on his circumstances, or on any measures in place to establish his fate or whereabouts);

b) report on any actions adopted to investigate the alleged events that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure, in order to prevent such events from happening again in the future

(the IACHR stresses that, in keeping with Article 25.8 of its Rules of Procedure, the fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the State do not entail a prejudgment on 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. 003/20