IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 69/2023 on November 20, 2023, to grant precautionary measures in favor of Ivania Dolores Ríos Lázaro and Silvestre Merlín Domínguez in Mexico, in the belief that risk suffering irreparable harm to their rights.
According to the party who requested these precautionary measures, Ivania Dolores Ríos Lázaro works as the Single Administrator in the Constitutional Town Hall of the municipality of Isla, in the state of Veracruz, and has been suffering threats and harassment in the context of her work. Silvestre Merlín Domínguez, Ríos Lázaro's private secretary, allegedly went missing on September 15, 2023, and his whereabouts have remained unknown since then.
The State reported that an investigation into the disappearance of Silvestre Merlín had been sent to the Xalapa Specialized Unit on Kidnappings and that the Veracruz Local Search Commission had been working to locate him. The State said that this investigation was ongoing and that security measures had been taken to protect other municipal officers. The Veracruz Human Rights Commission had launched a probe in response to the complaint filed by Ivania Ríos Lázaro, and it had also issued precautionary measures that were notified to the Isla town council on October 23, 2023.
The IACHR noted the action taken by the State. However, the IACHR found that threats and harassment against Ivania Dolores Ríos Lázaro had persisted over time, as shown by the recent disappearance of Silvestre Merlín Domínguez (who had himself denounced imminent risks). The IACHR found that, prima facie, the rights to life and humane treatment of the beneficiaries are seriously at risk, given the imminent nature of the impact on their lives and integrity, particularly considering that Silvestre Merlín Domínguez remains missing.
Therefore, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State of Mexico 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.