Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Person Deprived of Their Freedom in Colombia

November 4, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - On October 28, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 79/2020, through which it granted precautionary measures in favor of Jorge Ernesto López Zea, in Colombia.

The IACHR deemed that Mr. López Zea, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and is currently deprived of his freedom, is in a grave, urgent predicament, given that his rights to health, life, and personal integrity are at serious risk, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. After analyzing the available information, the IACHR deemed that the requirements established in Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure had been met, and therefore requested Colombia to adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life, personal integrity, and health of Mr. Jorge Ernesto López Zea, specifically by providing him with the required medical treatment in a timely manner and without undue delay, while also ensuring that the conditions in which he is being deprived of his freedom comply with the applicable international standards. In this sense, while Mr. Jorge Ernesto López Zea’s situation is again being subjected to the appropriate technical evaluations, the competent authorities should—in accordance with their internal regulations and with a view to obtaining an alternative measure to imprisonment—guarantee that he is held in an area, space, or structure that allows him to receive the medical treatment he needs and appropriate COVID-19 prevention measures, in accordance with the recommendations issued by the respective experts and as indicated by the IACHR.

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 all 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. 265/20