IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 66/2023 on November 20, 2023, to grant precautionary measures in favor of current members of the leadership of the Association of Displaced Persons of Catatumbo (ASODESCAT) in Colombia, in the belief that they face a risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights.
According to the party who requested these precautionary measures, ASODESCAT is an organization for the defense of human rights with headquarters in Ocaña, in the Colombian department of North Santander. ASODESCAT has received various threats, and members of its leadership have suffered other types of violence. Fabian Andrés Cáceres Palencia, who chairs the organization, and other members of the ASODESCAT leadership have repeatedly suffered attacks, allegedly perpetrated by armed groups. Despite the protection measures that were requested from and granted by the National Protection Unit, the risks reportedly persist. In keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR asked the State of Colombia for information but did not receive an answer.
After assessing the legal and factual allegations made by the party who requested these precautionary measures, the IACHR noted persistent violence against members of ASODESCAT and particularly against the organization's leadership and found that threats and attacks persisted. The IACHR noted that there was an imminent risk and stressed the recent murder of a member of ASODESCAT and the recent attack against the chair of the association. Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR asked the State of Colombia to take the following action:
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 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.