Press Release

IACHR Grants Protection Measures in Favor of Adolescent Victim of Rape and her Family in Colombia, Amid Violence Against Them

May 13, 2020

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 22/2020[vs1]  on May 12, 2020, to grant precautionary protection measures in favor of the adolescent A.A.T.T. and her family in Colombia, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable damage to their rights.

The requesting party said that teenage girl A.A.T.T. was raped in April 2018 and that, since a formal complaint was filed against her alleged attacker, she and her family have been subjected to threats and harassment to get them to withdraw the complaint, with increasing violence as criminal proceedings have moved forward. These events have led the family to leave the neighborhood where they lived, as the violence persisted after they filed several complaints and requests for protection.

The State has reported that criminal proceedings are ongoing for allegations of a “crime involving sex with a minor,” that the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare has also launched a probe on this case, and that the National Police has provided the family with a self-protection guide and is patrolling their home. The IACHR has acknowledged protection measures implemented by the State. However, the Commission has also noted that—despite the formal complaints that have been filed—no risk assessment or analysis of the family’s situation have been conducted and they still enjoy no security measures, although they allegedly continue to face persistent violence.

In keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission has asked the State of Colombia to take any measures necessary to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of A.A.T.T. and her family, with a gender perspective that takes into consideration that she is an adolescent and any other differentiated approaches that may be relevant, in compliance with the applicable international standards and with Colombia’s international obligations; to come to an agreement with beneficiaries and their representative regarding any measures that need to be adopted; and to report on any actions taken to investigate these alleged events and 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 American Convention on Human Rights and other 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. 109/20