IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Mayor Luis Esteban Chonillo Breilh and His Family in Ecuador

October 6, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 56/2023 on October 6, 2023, to grant precautionary measures in favor of Luis Esteban Chonillo Breilh, mayor of the Ecuadorian city of Durán, his wife Silvia Cristina Córdova Arteaga, and their son, in the belief that they face a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights.

According to the party who requested these precautionary measures, Luis Chonillo has allegedly been receiving threats that materialized in an armed attack on May 15, 2023, the day he took office as Mayor of Durán. The party who requested these precautionary measures further noted that there had also been bomb scares, attacks on various institutions, and intimidating messages sent to Chonillo through Durán municipal officials. The request stressed that the beneficiary had been facing challenges to manage the city with the security detail offered to him and that he had to work from different sites given the risks and the threats he had received.

The State reported on several measures that had been adopted to address this situation since December 2020 and on further protection measures taken after Chonillo took office in May 2023. The State submitted information concerning measures taken in the Durán Z8 police district and communications with the beneficiary and his family, as well as progress made in investigations conducted by the public prosecutor's office.

When assessing this request for precautionary measures, the IACHR took into consideration the allegations in the broader context it had been monitoring in Ecuador. The IACHR noted the protection measures that had already been taken in favor of the beneficiary. However, the Commission found that the risks had not been duly mitigated, since attacks and other forms of violence against municipal officials in Durán had persisted in recent months. The IACHR understands that persisting violence has restricted Luis Chonillo's actions as an elected public official. In keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR decided to grant these precautionary measures and asked the State of Ecuador to take the following action:  

  1. Adopt any measures necessary to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Luis Esteban Chonillo Breilh, his wife Silvia Cristina Córdova Arteaga, and their son
  2. Come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken  
  3. Report on any actions adopted to investigate the alleged events that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures, in order to prevent such events from happening again in the future

The fact that these precautionary measures have been granted and their adoption by the State do not entail a prejudgment on a potential petition that may be filed before the inter-American system to allege violations of rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights and other 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. 242/23

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