Press Release

IACHR Expands Precautionary Measures in Favor of Ricardo Baltodano in Nicaragua

January 13, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - On January 10, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 3/2020 (link in Spanish), granting precautionary measures in favor of Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro in Nicaragua., whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his human rights. On September 27, 2018, the IACHR granted precautionary measures in favor of the human rights defender Mónica López Baltodano and her family through Resolution 73/2018 (link in Spanish).

As a precedent to this, on May 15, 2019, the IACHR requested provisional measures before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) to protect 17 persons who were being deprived of their freedom, including Mr. Baltodano. The IACHR deemed that the circumstances regarding these people are consistent with the findings of the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) on the pattern of selected criminalization in the country targeting people who have been identified as dissidents. The aim of this criminalization is to prevent social protest from continuing and hamper the spread of information and opinions on these protests, the subsequent repression of them, and other decisions the government has made. On May 21, 2019, the president of the IACHR adopted urgent measures in favor of Mr. Baltodano, which were endorsed by the plenary session of the IA Court on October 14, 2019.

The IACHR warned that Mr. Baltodano has been in a situation of extreme risk since being released, and has been subjected to continual, close, extreme surveillance by armed patrols and police agents at his personal residence, which is in keeping with the situation described by MESENI. There has allegedly been a significant police presence at Mr. Baltodano’s house since October 16, 2019, with shift changes over the course of each day, each lasting different lengths of time. The IACHR identified that the patterns of action of the police officers in question have apparently sought to keep Mr. Baltodano under strict surveillance since his release from prison, so as to limit his role as a social leader in Nicaragua’s current circumstances. In addition, the IACHR noted that in December 2019, so-called government sympathizers allegedly insulted Mr. Baltodano at his home, accusing him of “plotting a coup d’état,” and then throwing what were described as “home-made explosives” into his garden. The IACHR requested information from the state on this matter, but to date no response has been received.

After analyzing the available information, in the light of the applicable context and the findings it has reached, the IACHR deemed that the information submitted demonstrates prima facie that Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro’s rights to life and personal integrity are at grave, urgent risk. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the state of Nicaragua a) take the necessary measures to guarantee the right to life and personal integrity of Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro. In particular, the state must guarantee that the beneficiary’s rights are protected in accordance with the standards set out in international human rights law in terms of both the actions of its agents and risks associated with the actions of third parties; b) determine the measures to be implemented in consultation with the beneficiary and his representatives; c) report on the actions it has taken to investigate into the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure and thus 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 on Human Rights 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. 006/20