IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of OPC and His Family in Colombia

December 20, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 73/22 on December 19, 2022, to grant precautionary measures in favor of a man identified simply as OPC and his family in Colombia, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights.

According to the request for these precautionary measures, the proposed beneficiaries are at risk after being forcibly displaced from their land following threats, harassment, and other acts of violence allegedly committed against them by armed groups active in the area. On February 2, 2022, a group of armed attackers allegedly took control of the proposed beneficiaries' farm and threatened to kill them. According to the allegations, despite having made requests for personal protection measures to several State institutions, no suitable, effective action had been taken to protect the proposed beneficiaries' lives and integrity.

The State explained the measures taken by the Office of the Attorney General to investigate these events and the watches and patrols deployed by the National Police in the area where the proposed beneficiaries' land is located. The State also noted that the proposed beneficiaries had police support to enter their property and that a request for further measures had been filed before the National Protection Unit and was pending a risk assessment.

The Commission commended the State on the actions it had taken, but found that the proposed beneficiary and his family lack sufficient safeguards for their safety. The Commission also found that the armed group had seized the family's property soon after issuing their death threats, which appeared to show their weight in the area and their ability to deliver on those threats. This is relevant because the proposed beneficiary has launched domestic proceedings to recover his land, but the presence of unidentified outsiders on the property persisted, following the death threats.

In keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR decided to grant these precautionary measures and asked the State of Colombia to:

  • Immediately take all measures necessary to protect the lives and personal integrity of OPC and his family, through measures that take into consideration their displacement and incorporate differentiated approaches where required
  • Come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken
  • Report on any actions adopted to investigate the events that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures

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. 282/22

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