Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Protection Measures in Favor of Student Leader Cristopher Nahiroby Olivas Valdivia and His Family in Nicaragua

October 18, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - On October 4, 2019, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 52/19 granting precautionary measures to protect the rights to life and integrity of Cristopher Nahiroby Olivas Valdivia in Nicaragua, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his human rights.

In the process of assessing the risk the beneficiary is facing, the IACHR took into account the current circumstances in Nicaragua, which have been verified by the IACHR and are being monitored by the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI), and the fact that people who have demonstrated publicly against the repressive actions of the current government are particularly exposed. Given these factors, the IACHR has taken into account the fact that as a leader of the student movement in Nicaragua, the proposed beneficiary is a highly visible public figure and has been involved in demonstrations and interventions against specific policies and initiatives implemented by the government of Nicaragua and the sectors it represents.

The IACHR also took into account Cristopher Nahiroby’s particular situation after having being deprived of his freedom during the trials that followed the protests of April 18, 2018. Although the beneficiary is currently at liberty, the IACHR has concluded from its assessment of the alleged events that there is ongoing repression in Nicaragua and that those who have been released from prison continue to be harassed and persecuted.

In connection with the activities that Cristopher Nahiroby is engaged in, the IACHR notes that his home was allegedly attacked by members of so-called parapolice forces, who allegedly move around on motorcycles or in vans, dressed in civilian clothing, wearing hoods or helmets to prevent them from being identified. The IACHR also notes that these attacks have become more intense over time, according to the applicants. In particular, the IACHR warned that the beneficiary’s home was recently invaded by armed, motorized individuals and by the police. According to the applicants, these events included knocking on the gate to the property at night with the intention of entering, destroying property near the entrance to the house, painting the word “plomo [lead]” on the house to identify the proposed beneficiary as a dissident, and shooting the house directly with pellet guns. Events of this sort at different moments have led members of the proposed beneficiary’s family to leave their home for their own safety.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the state of Nicaragua take the necessary measures to guarantee the right to life and personal integrity and health of Cristopher Nahiroby Olivas Valdivia and his immediate family. In particular, the state must guarantee that its agents respect the beneficiary’s rights in accordance with the standards set out in international human rights law and third-party risks. The IACHR also requested that the state report on the actions it has taken to investigate into the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure and thus prevented from being repeated.

The IACHR stresses that the granting and adoption of this precautionary measure by the state does not entail a prejudgment regarding human rights violations protected by 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. 263/19