Press Release

IACHR Launches New Online Form to Submit Precautionary Measures Requests

August 1, 2019

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched today a specialized online form for the submission of requests for precautionary measures through the Individual Petition System Portal. The Individual Petition System Portal of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is part of the Commission's integral document management system for petitions and requests for precautionary measures, which is a tool for transmitting information. Through the Portal, the parties can send communications and attachments, view documents issued by the Commission, and consult on the status of their pending matters. This initiative is part of the efforts of the IACHR to create mechanisms that will facilitate access to information for people who resort to the Inter-American Human Rights System.

The new online form to submit precautionary measures requests now provides users with two specialized forms: one for the lodging of petitions and a different one for precautionary measures. In cases where users of the system want to file a petition and apply for precautionary measures jointly, they must fill out both forms separately. Through the form for requesting precautionary measures, persons who consider that they are in a serious, urgent situation of risk and irreparable harm to their rights may submit requests to the Commission through a specialized tool. The form will make it more convenient for users of the system to provide the information required by Commission to assess their situation promptly and provide a more timely response in order to safeguard their rights.

The form is divided into three sections. The first section concerns information on the potential beneficiaries, as well as the persons requesting precautionary measures. It will also facilitate the identification of whether or not the request is associated with a petition or case submitted to the Commission. If so, the applicants may also state the reasons why they prefer that their identity be kept confidential.

The second section will enable users to substantiate their request for precautionary measures. In addition to specifying the Member State of the Organization of American States (OAS) concerned in the matter, users may also indicate the rights they consider to be at risk and must describe, in detail and chronologically, the events that support such situation. The form will allow users to state the reasons why the situation is serious and urgent and will also provide the Commission with information on whether complaints or requests for protection have been filed with the national authorities, or the reasons why these proceedings have not been carried out. Users should also indicate the type of measures they consider might be adopted to protect their rights, as well as the reasons why the protective measures are not suitable or effective if these have already been implemented.

In this section of the electronic form, the applicants may also indicate whether they consider that the situation motivating the request is identified in one of the cases in which the Commission previously granted precautionary measures, for example, in the case of disappearance of persons; deportations or extraditions when a risk situation may arise; application of the death penalty; threats, harassment and/or aggression against life and integrity; lack of access to medical treatment that endangers health, life and personal integrity; risk situations related to the exercise of freedom of expression, among other cases. With this preliminary identification, the request presented can be more easily identified and registered in terms of its content with the objective of enabling the Commission to provide an assertive response. The form will also allow users to learn of situations in which the Commission did not deem it appropriate to grant precautionary measures, given that its analysis would exceed a strictly precautionary dimension, and it would only be able to make a determination through an individual petition or case. 

Finally, in the third section of the form, users may attach any documentation they deem necessary to support the request for precautionary measures. The form indicates some of the documents that may be useful to evaluate the request, such as images, audio, photographs or screenshots of cell phones on messages received, among other types of materials. In addition, it should be noted that it is not necessary for documents to be certified, apostilled or legalized in accordance with the formalities that may exist in national jurisdictions.  It can be attached to the form files not exceeding 40 MB in size (each one) and attachments in authorized formats.

The new electronic form for requests for precautionary measures is strongly recommended, since it has been designed to provide the Commission with information that in many cases is not submitted by persons requesting protective measures, which leads to having to request additional information, thus impacting the response time for each request. In this way, in view of the progressive increase in the number of requests submitted, the form will make it possible to carry out a more expeditious analysis and it will allow the Commission to continue through its mechanism of precautionary measures by offering timely intervention to avoid the materialization of situations of risk of irreparable harm.

“This is an important achievement that will facilitate the users of the ISHR.  The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for the defense of human rights remains a priority within the Strategic Plan. When the user submits his or her request for precautionary measures through the Portal, he or she will receive an automatic notification confirming the successful submission of the request with a copy of the completed form,” said Paulo Abrão, the Executive Secretary of the IACHR.

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. 188/19