IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C.- On July 11, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 52/21, in which it granted precautionary measures in favour of Willih Francisco Narváez González and Alberto José Miranda Herrera, after considering that they find themselves in a situation of serious and urgent risk of irreparable damage to their rights in Nicaragua.
According to the applicants, the proposed beneficiaries find themselves in a situation of risk given that they are being victims of threats, harassment and surveillance by state authorities and private individuals due to their work as journalists. In this sense, the applicants informed that Mr. Narváez González had received threats on social networks since 2018; aggressions by police officers; acts of harassment by third parties affiliated to the Government; and, death threats against him and his family in his home by a third party. In relation to Mr. Miranda Herrera, the applicants informed of death threats on social networks, since at least 2018; aggression with a taser allegedly under orders of a police agent in September 2019; and, harassment and aggressions by police officers on April 15, 2021 and June 2, 2021.
The Commission received information from the State only with regards to the situation of Mr. Miranda Herrera, which stated that numerous media outlets exist in the country with positions contrary to official State policies, and that there was no prior censorship of the media or persecution of journalists. However, the IACHR adverted that, beyond affirming its recognition of the right to freedom of expression and indicating that the beneficiary allegedly did not find himself in a situation of risk, the State did not provide further evidence to disprove the risk events presented by the applicants. Regarding the situation of Mr. Narváez González, the IACHR regrets the lack of response from the State, noting that, although this is not sufficient per se to justify the granting of a precautionary measure, it does prevent the Commission from receiving observations from the State and therefore, from analyzing whether or not the allegations of the applicants are refuted, as well as to know what actions, if any, are being implemented to address the alleged situation of risk.
Further, the IACHR took into account the current situation in Nicaragua, including the information received by MESENI regarding a repressive context for independent journalistic activity in the country. In this regard, the IACHR observed that the information available reflects that the threats, intimidation and other acts of violence committed against journalists are aimed at forcing them to cease or change the editorial line of their work. In this sense, the alleged acts of violence have continued over time, with peaks at times when the journalistic work of the beneficiaries has acquired greater visibility. In this context, the Commission noted that, despite the complaints filed by them and the alleged involvement of State agents, the State has not carried out the relevant investigations nor has it provided them with any protection measures.
Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the Rules of Procedure, the Commission requests that Nicaragua: a) adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Willih Francisco Narváez González and Alberto José Miranda Herrera. To this end, the State must both ensure that state actors respect the life and personal integrity of the beneficiaries, as well as protect their rights in relation to acts of risk that are attributable to third parties, in accordance with the standards established by international human rights law; b) adopt the necessary measures so that Willih Francisco Narváez González and Alberto José Miranda Herrera can carry out their activities as independent journalists, without being subjected to violence, intimidation, harassment, and/or other acts of violence in the exercise of their work. The above includes the adoption of measures so that they can properly exercise their right to freedom of expression; c) consult and agree upon the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and, d) report on the actions taken to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent such events from reoccurring.
The granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State does not constitute the prejudgment of any petition that may eventually be presented before the inter-American system alleging violations of the rights protected in the American Convention 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.