IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures to Indigenous Woman Cindy Fernandez and Her Family in Colombia

March 22, 2024

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Washington, D.C. — On March 22, 2024, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 12/2024, through which it granted precautionary measures in favor of Cindy Vanessa Arenas Fernández and her family, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights to life and integrity.

The request alleged that the beneficiary, an indigenous woman, had been the victim of an attempted femicide and that she and her family were being threatened and harassed by a known attacker and people with ties to him. It also noted that even though Ms. Arenas Fernández has filed complaints requesting protection from domestic authorities, the State authorities have taken no protective measures to prevent further attacks, and no progress has been made on the investigation.

The State reported that it is conducting an investigation into the crime of "aggravated femicide." It added that an order had been issued for the implementation of preventive measures in favor of the beneficiary and her family, as a result of which the Pradera Police Station had been instructed to put institutional measures in place to protect her life and integrity.

The IACHR analyzed the information provided by the parties, assessed the risk factors in question, and found that no adequate and effective protection measures had been implemented given the victim's specific situation of vulnerability, namely the intersection of her gender, age, and ethnic-racial origin.

The IACHR considers that, prima facie, the present case meets the requirements of gravity, urgency, and irreparability set forth in article 25 of its Rules of Procedure. Consequently, the IACHR requested that the State of Colombia:

  1. take the necessary steps to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Cindy Vanessa Arenas Fernández, Yu'usa Katleen Timaná Arenas, C.L.T.A., and H.S.S.T., taking an intersectional gender, ethnic-racial, and age-conscious approach, in accordance with the applicable international standards and obligations;
  2. agree on any measures to be taken with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and
  3. report on the actions it implements to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption and enforcement of these precautionary measures so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State do not entail a prejudgment on a potential petition that may be filed before the Inter-American System of Human Rights to allege violations of the rights protected by the applicable instruments.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 058/24

5:50 PM