IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Human Rights Defender Joel Antonio García Hernández in Venezuela

May 15, 2024

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 31/2024 on May 13, 2024, to grant precautionary measures in favor of Joel Antonio García Hernández in Venezuela, in the belief that he faces a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his rights to life and personal integrity.

The request for these precautionary measures alleged that the beneficiary—a lawyer and a human rights defender, as well as the vice chair of the Foundation for the Defense of Human Rights in Venezuela (FUNDECI)—had been suffering threats and other attacks linked to his work in defense of individuals who are considered "political prisoners" in Venezuela. The request for these precautionary measures also alleged that, although several complaints and requests for protection had been submitted to Venezuelan authorities, the State had failed to take any measures to prevent further attacks, and no progress had been made in the relevant investigations.

The State failed to provide information to prove that the risk factors that had been identified had been adequately mitigated.

When assessing the data that were submitted by the party who requested these precautionary measures, the Commission noted risk factors including the fact that García Hernández has been the target of persecution and threats (complete with incidents inside court facilities), the failure to implement effective protection measures, and the beneficiary's specific vulnerability, given the hostile atmosphere in the country toward individuals who work as defense lawyers.

The Commission found that the data showed prima facie that the case met the seriousness, urgency, and irreparability criteria contemplated in Article 25 of the IACHR's Rules of Procedure. The Commission therefore asks the State of Venezuela to take the following action:

  1. Adopt any measures necessary to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Joel Antonio García Hernández, reflecting the applicable international standards and the State's international obligations (including those concerning risk factors caused by third parties)
  2. Take any measures necessary to enable the beneficiary to do his work as a defense lawyer without being subjected to intimidation, threats, or any other acts of violence for doing such work
  3. Come to an agreement with the beneficiary and his representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken
  4. Report on any actions adopted to investigate the 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 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.

No. 104/24

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