IACHR Follows Up on Precautionary Measures Granted in Favor of Semma Julissa Villanueva Barahona and Others in Honduras

June 15, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted on June 12, 2023, Follow-Up and Partial Removal Resolution 32/2023, concerning precautionary measure 972-2018, which had been granted in favor of Semma Julissa Villanueva Barahona and other individuals in Honduras. Beneficiaries work for the Forensic Medicine Department in the Honduran Public Prosecutor's Office and are allegedly being subjected to harassment and threats based on a decision they made on their jobs.

In this Follow-Up and Partial Removal Resolution, the Commission assessed the information submitted by the parties, the protection measures adopted by the State in favor of beneficiaries, and the ongoing nature of a series of risk factors and challenges for the implementation of these protection measures. The Commission found that there is evidence that the risks have not been mitigated to date. The IACHR therefore decided to retain and stress precautionary measures in favor of (1) Semma Julissa Villanueva Barahona, (2) Gregoria América Gómez Ramírez, and (3) Karla Vanessa Beltrán Cruz, as well as their respective families.

The Inter-American Commission asked (a) beneficiaries' representatives to submit up-to-date, individually specific information concerning the risks faced by beneficiaries; (b) the State to conduct an updated risk assessment and to take adequate, effective, and timely protection measures; (c) the State to submit and up-to-date, detailed report on investigations into these events; and (d) both parties to work together to come to any agreements necessary to implement these precautionary measures.

Further, in keeping with Article 25 of the IACHR's Rules of Procedure, the Commission decided to lift precautionary measures in favor of Dicciana Noreyda Ferrufino and her family in Honduras. No risky events have been reported against this beneficiary in recent years, she wants these precautionary measures to be lifted, and the State has taken adequate action to implement these precautionary measures with regard to her.

The Commission adopted these precautionary measures on August 12, 2018, considering that Semma Julissa Villanueva Barahona and the remaining beneficiaries faced a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights. Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of the IACHR's Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked Honduras to take any measures necessary to protect beneficiaries' rights to life and personal integrity, so they might do their work without risk; and to report on any actions taken to investigate the alleged events that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures. 

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. 121/23

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