IACHR Annual Report 2022 highlights human rights and democracy challenges for the region

April 20, 2023

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) publishes its Annual Report 2022, which contains details of the most relevant advances and challenges in human rights for the region, as well as information on its institutional management for the fulfillment of its mandate. As a whole, the Report represents an instrument of regional reference, access to information and institutional transparency.

"The Annual Report is a regional reference of inter-American public interest to understand the human rights challenges faced by people in the Americas and the Caribbean, which contributes to the States and different actors in the region to join efforts to promote human rights in the hemisphere," said the Chair of the IACHR, Margarette May Macaulay.

The Report consists of six chapters. Chapter I presents the activities of the Commission, with the approval of the new strategic plan 2023-2027, which is the current roadmap that guides the institutional management in the coming years, prepared with broad participation and close dialogue with the inter-American community.

The implementation of mechanisms to follow up on recommendations and decisions regarding some countries and reports is part of Chapter I. This chapter highlights the creation of four new follow-up mechanisms: Bolivia, Chile (joint mechanism), Colombia and the technical roundtable for Guatemala.

Regarding access to inter-American justice, Chapter II reports on the work of the petition system, cases, precautionary measures and the work and role of the Commission before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). Among the advances, it mentions the implementation of 134 measures related to 59 friendly settlement agreements and the total compliance with 67 reparation measures. Likewise, total compliance with 9 friendly settlement agreements and 65 merits reports were adopted.

These results have a positive impact on access to inter-American justice, as well as on the implementation of policies and other measures of non-repetition. 2022 is the year in which the IACHR participated in the largest number of hearings before the IACHR Court, a total of 52; it also presented 312 legal briefs before this Court on active cases in process and under supervision.

Regarding precautionary measures, for the first time, the IACHR closed the year having concluded the processing of all requests for precautionary measures registered up to the previous year and managed to guarantee at least one supervisory action in 100% of the precautionary measures in force. As well as the exchange of letters sent to the parties in 100% of the portfolio of precautionary measures in force at least once during the year.

Of 1033 requests for precautionary measures received, 97.09% were evaluated and 50 were granted and/or extended, which allowed the protection of more than 1648 persons and identifiable groups. In addition, 5 resolutions were issued to follow up on precautionary measures in force, 43 were totally lifted and 3 were partially lifted, reaching a total of 80 resolutions on precautionary measures. The presentation of four requests for provisional measures to the Inter-American Court, 92 legal briefs and five oral observations in hearings before this instance of the Inter-American system are noteworthy.

With regard to the mandate to monitor and promote human rights, Chapter III focuses on the activities of the thematic and country rapporteurships, promotion and training. With 14 working visits to different States and promotion and training activities, the IACHR reached 40,000 people and trained more than 7,000 in the task of promoting a culture of human rights.

Chapter 4 presents a complete overview of human rights observations and challenges. Chapter IV.A shows regional trends in human rights with the progress and challenges faced by the 35 OAS Member States in the cross-cutting areas: democratic institutions and human rights, judicial independence and access to justice, citizen security, gender equality, and diversity and interculturality.

Among the worrying trends identified by the IACHR are the weakening of democratic institutions, judicial independence, national human rights institutions, and social trust in state institutions; the closing of democratic spaces, and violence and criminalization against human rights defenders and journalists in some countries.

In the regional panorama, the intensification of militarization actions and greater use of the figure of states of exception as a measure to address situations that affect citizen security were also identified.  Likewise, state actions aimed at repressing social protests through the disproportionate use of force were observed.  

Regarding the situation of groups in situations of discrimination and historical vulnerability, regional challenges include the situation of persons in human mobility; the serious conditions faced by persons deprived of liberty; and the persistence of discrimination and violence against women, the elderly, persons with disabilities, LGBTI, Afro-descendants, indigenous people, and children and adolescents.

The States of Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are in Chapter IV.B according to Art. 59.6 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, due to serious human rights violations and attacks on democratic institutions, the full enjoyment of human rights and democracy.

The IACHR follows up on the recommendations made to the countries through its reports, which is reported in Chapter V, which includes follow-up on the recommendations of the reports on the States of Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico.

Institutional transparency and accountability are inherent to the IACHR's mandate. Chapter VI details the structure and staff, financial resources and budget execution, as well as planning, resource mobilization, and project management.

The annexes to the Annual Report include reports and resolutions from the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELE) and the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (REDESCA).

"The Annual Report of the IACHR makes visible the work of the Executive Secretariat for the defense and promotion of human rights in the hemisphere, constitutes a tool for institutional transparency and at the same time a reference that, by identifying the challenges that the region faces in this area and offers the States a starting point to address them, with concrete and comprehensive measures," said the Executive Secretary, Tania Reneaum Panszi.

Finally, the Inter-American Commission is grateful for the work of the OAS member states and observers, civil society organizations, and international and regional organizations. As well as the contributions of the donors that are decisive for the execution of the achievements presented. It also expresses its special gratitude to the team of the Executive Secretariat and recognizes their contributions to effectively carry out the mandate of the organ.

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. 070/23

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