IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C.- On January 14, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 6/2021 (link in Spanish), granting precautionary protection measures to Ricardo Calderón Villegas in Colombia, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his human rights.
According to the petition, Mr. Calderón is at risk due to threats, surveillance, and monitoring by individuals that have been identified as State agents and other third parties in response to his work as a journalist. The IACHR took note of the particular seriousness of the events that Mr. Calderón has faced after publishing investigations reporting alleged irregularities committed by members of the Colombian Army on issues of national importance such as the so-called "false positives," "profiling," or allegations of corruption within the army, which have had a serious impact on Colombian society.
The IACHR valued the actions taken by the State, including by authorities at the highest level and various relevant institutions, as well the initiatives implemented to protect Mr. Calderón. However, it also noted that despite the investigations that have been initiated, no substantive progress has been made toward punishing those responsible for the events that put the beneficiary at risk, which is a relevant aspect in ascertaining the risk he is facing and the possibility of such situations arising again. The IACHR noted that the parties agree on the need to implement protection measures and the importance of these but observed that they disagreed as to the best way to implement them. This understanding is relevant and significant as although it is not in the IACHR's remit to establish who is responsible for the events discussed above, it does take into account the seriousness of the allegations, as these place the beneficiary in a situation of vulnerability in the current context, especially in view of the nature of the investigations he is carrying out as part of his work as a journalist.
After analyzing the de facto and de jure allegations put forward by the parties, the IACHR requested that the state of Colombia adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Ricardo Calderón Villegas; that these measures enable him to continue going about his work as a journalist safely; that it agree on any measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiary and his representatives; and that it report on the actions it implements to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure so as to prevent them from being repeated.
The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention and other applicable instruments have been violated.
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.