Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Ana Margarita Vijil Gurdián, Dora María Téllez Arguello, Suyen Barahona Cuán, Jorge Hugo Torres Jiménez, Víctor Hugo Tinoco Fonseca, Arturo José Cruz Sequeira, and Luis Alberto Rivas Anduray in Nicaragua

September 1, 2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 71/2021 on August 30, 2021, to grant precautionary measures in favor of Ana Margarita Vijil Gurdián, Dora María Téllez Arguello, Suyen Barahona Cuán, Jorge Hugo Torres Jiménez, Víctor Hugo Tinoco Fonseca, Arturo José Cruz Sequeira, and Luis Alberto Rivas Anduray in Nicaragua, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights.

According to the request for these precautionary measures, the beneficiaries are known to oppose the Nicaraguan government. Dora María Téllez Arguello, Ana Margarita Vijil Gurdián, Suyen Barahona Cuán, Víctor Hugo Tinoco Fonseca, and Jorge Hugo Torres Jiménez are members of the opposition party Unión Democrática Renovadora (Unamos); Arturo José Cruz Sequeira is a presidential candidate for the opposition party Alianza Ciudadana; and Luis Alberto Rivas Andura is a former vice president of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES).

These individuals are allegedly at risk after being deprived of liberty without a warrant. Their conditions of detention (and, in some cases, their whereabouts) remain unknown, and some of them suffer from chronic illnesses.

The State informed the IACHR about Cruz Sequeira's situation. The State said that the situation is not serious and that criminal law proceedings against this beneficiary reflect the principles and safeguards that underpin Nicaragua's legal order. However, the State failed to provide evidence to refute the allegations made by the party who requested these precautionary measures based on the standards that are applicable prima facie.

The IACHR was disappointed by the State's failure to respond to the allegations concerning Ana Margarita Vijil Gurdián, Dora María Téllez Arguello, Suyen Barahona Cuán, Jorge Hugo Torres Jiménez, Víctor Hugo Tinoco Fonseca, and Luis Alberto Rivas Anduray. While this is not in itself enough to justify precautionary measures, it does prevent an assessment of whether the allegations made by the organizations who requested these precautionary measures may or may not be refuted, and it also precludes access to the actions that might be in the process of being implemented to address the risks that are being alleged.

The IACHR took into consideration the current situation in Nicaragua and the fact that the alleged risks faced by the beneficiaries are linked to their profiles as government critics. The Commission further noted that all beneficiaries are currently deprived of liberty and are being held incommunicado, although many of the allegations are being blamed on State authorities. The IACHR also stressed that Tinoco Fonseca, Cruz Sequeira, and Rivas Anduray in particular all have chronic illnesses, and that Torres Jiménez and Cruz Sequeira are older persons.

Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asks the Nicaraguan State to take the following action:

  1. adopt any measures necessary to protect the rights to life, personal integrity, and health of Ana Margarita Vijil Gurdián, Dora María Téllez Arguello, Suyen Barahona Cuán, Jorge Hugo Torres Jiménez, Víctor Hugo Tinoco Fonseca, Arturo José Cruz Sequeira, and Luis Alberto Rivas Anduray;
  2. ensure that their conditions of detention reflect the applicable international standards;
  3. considering that these individuals' lives, personal integrity, and health are in danger as a result of the circumstances that surround their current deprivation of liberty, immediately assess the possibility of granting them alternatives to deprivation of liberty, in keeping with domestic regulations and with the applicable inter-American standards; and
  4. report on any actions adopted to investigate the alleged events that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures, in order 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 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. 232/21

2:59 PM