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IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C.- On June 21, 2023, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requested the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) to extend the provisional measures “Juan Sebastián Chamorro et al. regarding Nicaragua” to include Mr. Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, priest and bishop of Matagalpa, who is facing an extremely serious and urgent risk of irreparable harm to his rights.
Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos is a beneficiary of precautionary measures by the IACHR, has expressed his disagreement with the policies of the current government, and has sought to guarantee human rights in the country. He is currently deprived of liberty and incommunicado in the Jorge Navarro Penitentiary System, known as “La Modelo” prison, being in detention conditions that put him at risk, a situation that is reportedly aggravated due to the alleged lack of medical attention.
The Inter-American Commission granted precautionary measures to the Bishop of Matagalpa in 2023, upon identifying that the requirements of seriousness, urgency, and irreparable harm provided in Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure were met. Despite the repeated actions of the Commission to obtain information from the State of Nicaragua, no response has been received indicating the adoption of measures to mitigate the risk, nor the protection actions that are adequate and effective to address the identified risk, as well as on concertation actions, or measures to investigate threatening events.
The Commission notes that this request for extension of provisional measures shows an exceptional situation that is based on the extreme and urgent risk of irreparable harm to the rights of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, and that must be assessed in the context that the State of Nicaragua is facing, which has been the subject of permanent analysis by the Organization of American States and the Commission, as well as other human rights bodies.
Therefore, and in accordance with the provisions of Article 63(2) of the American Convention and Article 27 of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Commission requested the Inter-American Court to order the State to adopt immediately the necessary measures to effectively protect the life, integrity, health and freedom of the identified person in Nicaragua, and to proceed to his immediate release, given the conditions in which he is currently.
Provisional measures are issued by the Inter-American Court in cases of extreme seriousness and urgency to avoid irreparable harm to persons. They are binding on States and therefore the decisions contained therein require States to take specific actions to safeguard rights and/or protect the lives of persons at risk.
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.