IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 55/2022 on October 15, 2022, to grant precautionary measures in favor of AAVB and his family in Colombia, in the belief that they face a risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights.
According to the organization who requested these precautionary measures, AAVB is a young Afro-Colombian man and a social, environmental, and community leader in Cali who has been threatened and harassed by armed groups allegedly active on Huerta Étnica (ethnic garden) land. Four members of the movement led by AAVB have allegedly been murdered. The proposed beneficiary has had to take self-protection measures, given the lack of effective measures taken by the State to protect him.
The State said that the National Protection Unit (UNP) had decided not to take protection measures in this case and noted that AAVB may file a new request to the UNP if new evidence becomes available. The State further said, however, that various State institutions had taken measures in an effort to protect the proposed beneficiary. The State also said that the public prosecutor's office was assessing whether the allegations made by the requesting party were linked to the threats that were already under investigation, so they might be integrated into those proceedings, or whether they required a new investigation.
The Commission commended the State on its actions, but noted AAVB's vulnerability and the fact that risk factors had not been mitigated. The requesting party stressed the continued presence of illegal armed groups and other armed individuals on Huerta Étnica land. No information was provided concerning progress in investigations of the four murders mentioned above.
Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of the IACHR's Rules of Procedure, the Commission granted these precautionary measures and asked the State of Colombia to take the following action: (a) adopt any measures necessary—with ethnic-racial and gender perspectives—to preserve the rights to life and personal integrity of AAVB and his family; (b) take any protection measures necessary to ensure that AAVB can continue to do his work in defense of human rights without being subjected to threats, intimidation, harassment, or any other acts of violence; (c) come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives regarding any measures that need to be taken; and (d) report on any actions taken to investigate the alleged events that gave rise to the adoption of this resolution, to prevent such events from happening again in the future.
The fact that these precautionary measures have been granted and their 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.