IACHR Extends Precautionary Measures in Favor of Peasant Leaders Medardo Mairena and Pedro Mena in Nicaragua

October 7, 2021

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Resolution 79/2021

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 79/2021 on October 3, 2021, to extend precautionary measures in favor of Medardo Mairena and Pedro Mena, leaders of Nicaragua's Peasant Movement, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights.

The IACHR noted that the Peasant Movement, to which the proposed beneficiaries belong, has historically opposed the current Nicaraguan government. The Commission further noted that State repression of the protests that have taken place in Nicaragua since April 2018 has been particularly harsh on members of this Movement. Although precautionary measures were granted in favor of Mairena in 2018, followed by urgent measures in 2019, he and other members of the Peasant Movement including Mena have remained at risk.

Both Medardo Mairena and Pedro Mena were deprived of liberty after Mairena formalized his decision to run for the Nicaraguan presidency. Their families were not officially notified of their place of detention, the two men were kept incommunicado for more than 60 days, and they have repeatedly denounced irregularities in the criminal proceedings against them.

The Commission requested information from the State, but deemed that the data that were submitted did not enable an assessment of whether adequate measures had been taken. For instance, the IACHR was not able to establish whether allegations of inadequate communications, of a refusal to provide official data to the families of the beneficiaries, or of unsuitable conditions of detention and healthcare had been addressed. The State's response did not indicate that the allegations had been appropriately mitigated, so the IACHR opted to activate the precautionary measure mechanism, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure.

After assessing the information that was submitted by both parties, the Commission asks Nicaragua to take the following action:

  1. adopt any measures necessary to protect the rights to life, personal integrity, and health of Medardo Mairena Sequeira and Pedro Joaquín Mena Amador;
  2. ensure that their conditions of detention reflect the applicable international standards;
  3. considering that these individuals' lives and personal integrity 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. 267/21

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