IACHR Decides to Expand Precautionary Measures in Favor of Confidencial Journalist in Nicaragua

April 8, 2021

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Washington D.C. - On April 5, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 31/2021, through which it decided to expand the precautionary measures in favor of Confidencial journalist Javier Iván Olivares in Nicaragua, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his human rights.

The IACHR noted that the specific predicament in which Javier Iván Olivares finds himself as both a member of the Confidencial team and an independent journalist is part of a wider context of repression of freedom of expression in Nicaragua that the IACHR has already commented on. Likewise, it is coherent with the specific situation experienced by other independent media outlets whose team members are also beneficiaries of precautionary measures. There have been ongoing threats, harassment, and surveillance by people who have been identified as belonging to the police force, and these are now impacting journalists' families, too. It is the IACHR's understanding that as independent journalists or members of media outlets owned by the Chamorro family, they continue to be exposed to the risk factors identified in the precautionary measures that were issued in 2018 and expanded in 2020. On this point, the IACHR noted that the proposed beneficiary has received "warnings" from friends and family with ties to the government regarding his work as a journalist. The IACHR requested information from the State on this issue but has received no response to date.

Consequently, the IACHR requested that the State of Nicaragua a) take the necessary measures to guarantee the right to life and personal integrity of the beneficiary identified in this resolution. To that end, the State must guarantee that its agents respect the beneficiary's rights in accordance with the standards established by international human rights law, while also protecting his rights in relation to third-party risk; b) take the necessary measures to enable the beneficiary to go about his work as a journalist without being subjected to acts of intimidation, threats, or other acts of violence in the course of this. This includes adopting measures to protect the right to freedom of expression of the members of the media outlet in question; c) agree on any measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiary and his representatives; and d) report on the actions it implements to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure to 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 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. 089/21