Presentation of the Report: “Endangered: Human Rights and Natural Resources in the Americas”
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., July 28th, 2015
Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, presented his latest thematic report in the IACHR premises on 28 July. “Endangered: Human Rights and Natural Resources in the Americas” is about the dependence of many countries in the region in the exploitation of natural resources and how this has come to affect the fulfillment of human rights of different communities, particularly of vulnerable groups, such as indigenous populations. The report analyzes the ways in which the right to free association facilitates and promotes respect for the rights of victims and raises awareness of the problem.
Presentation of the Individual Petition System Portal
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., July 22, 2015
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched its Individual Petition System Portal (IPSP), making the IACHR the first regional human rights body to offer a digital system that provides remote access to petitions and cases. This launch is part of IACHR’s ongoing efforts to create mechanisms that facilitate access to information for persons seeking remedies from the Inter-American human rights system. In this regard, the IACHR Chair, Commissioner Rose Marie Belle Antoine expressed that “this is a major step forward in the use of new technologies to enable all users of the Inter-American human rights system to exercise the right of access to information.”
Visit from John Knox
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., March 23, 2015
John Knox, first United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, met with the Commission on Monday, March 23. Mr. Knox held a very productive meeting with the Commission, which included sharing the key issues included in his mandate, regarding human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean and healthy and sustainable environment, as well as standards developed during his tenure and future work plans. The Commission welcomes this important information and highlights the relevance of strengthening collaboration with the United Nations System, particularly on this very relevant issue.
Visit from the Arab Human Rights Committee
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., March 20, 2015
The Inter-American Commission received the Arab Human Rights Committee from Tuesday March 17 to Friday March 20. The Committee met the IACHR on Wednesday March 22, and exchanged experiences and views related to regional and universal human rights issues. The Committee held several meetings with legal teams from the Secretariat during which different legal experiences and standards were discussed. The Committee also attended several public hearings held this week and was an observer at the IACHR meeting with civil society. The Committee’s delegation was led by Dr. Hadi Ali M. Alyami, President, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The delegation included four other Committee members: Dr. Abdelmajid Zaalani, from Algeria, Vice President; Asem Mansour Mohammad Midqdad, from Jordan; Asad N.H. Younis from Palestine and Ezzaddin Saeed Ahmed Al-Asbahi, from Yemen.
Meeting with Civil Society Organizations
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., March 17, 2015
The Inter-American Commission met with civil society organizations participating in its 154th Period of Sessions on Tuesday, March 17. During said meeting, the Commission shared its working plan for 2015, as well as the main activities carried out during 2014. The Commission also received several comments, opinions and questions from the organizations and had a fruitful dialogue with them. The Commission values the presence of all those who participated and highlights the important role that human rights defenders have in the Inter-American System.
Expert Meeting on Children in the Adult Criminal Justice System in the United States
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., February 2-3, 2015
Nine experts attended the expert meeting on the situation of children in the adult criminal justice system in the United States, organized by the Rapporteurship on the Rights of the Child, which was held in preparation of the IACHR thematic report on the matter. The meeting was conducted by Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, who underscored the need to protect children’s rights in the United States by way of a comprehensive system of protection, emphasizing that every justice system for youth begins with the prevention of children’s rights violations within the community.
Presentation of the report: Impact of the Friendly Settlement Procedure
IACHR Headquarters, October 30
On October 30, 2014, under the 153 Period of Regular Sessions, the IACHR officially launched the Report on the Impact of Friendly Settlement Procedure. The presentation of the report was led by the Chair of the Commission, Tracy Robinson, who noted that the document contains "information on how dialogue between petitioners, victims and States can materialize into creative, expeditious and flexible arrangements that finalize a dispute for human rights violations." Similarly, the chair reiterated the priority given by the Commission to the mechanism and stated that the "main objective is to improve the mechanism, to promote the expeditious access to justice for the victims of human rights violations through the use of an alternative mechanism based on the negotiation, and the good faith and the free will of the parties."
The event was attended by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Emilio Alvarez Icaza; the Ambassador Permanent Observer of Spain before the OAS, Jorge Hevia Sierra; the Director of the Human Rights International Litigation Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, Javier Salgado; the Director General of International Litigation on Human Rights of the Foreign Ministry of Mexico, Luis Manuel Piña Jardón; the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Viviana Kirsticevic; and the Director of the International Work Team of the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Gabriela Kletzel. The panelists acknowledged the great importance of the use of the friendly settlement mechanism for the non-adversarial resolution of petitions and cases of human rights violations brought before the Inter-American Human Rights System. They also noted the impact of friendly solutions in the particular situations of the victims as well as the collective and symbolic dimension for society, highlighting that it is important that the agreements established not only what is doable and possible at the internal level of the State negotiator, but also what is right. Similarly, the challenges were pointed out and it was urged to the Commission to use more strategically mechanisms at its disposal.
This report is the result of the systematization of the remedies catalog adopted through friendly settlements and is divided into two sections that refer to the evolution of the mechanism and the impact of the implementation of the friendly settlement agreements. In that sense, this document is intended as a reference guide to facilitate future negotiations between the parties. Given the nature of the negotiations, this instrument will be updated with new good practices regarding friendly settlements created between States and petitioners aimed to repair violations of human rights and prevent the repetition of such acts. To this end, the Commission reaffirmed during the launch, its willingness to be available to users of the Inter-American system as a facilitator of these future negotiations.
“Ethically, we must promote agreements that are freely chosen that serve the interests of justice - especially for victims - and that are sincerely and properly implemented," added Chair Robinson.
Presentation of the Prototype for the Individual Petition System Portal
IACHR Headquarters, October 28
On October 28, 2014, the Commission presented the Prototype for the Individual Petition System Portal. The Chair, Tracy Robinson, who was in charge of the presentation, said that this Portal will allow users of the Inter-American system to remotely access to the files of their petitions, cases and precautionary measures. The launch of the Portal is expected to take place in 2015. The Chair explained that parties can check digital case files of the matters before the IACHR, as well as send in and receive from the IACHR documents, letters and audiovisual materials in electronic format, avoiding the cost of shipments by physical mail. Commissioner Robinson also noted that the site will have the advantage of providing greater transparency in the processing and transmission of documents of petitions, cases and precautionary measures, since the parties have immediate access to information.
The Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, said that the Portal will be a safe system for all users since "it has been taken into account the need to safeguard sensitive information in the custody of the Commission, for which guidelines have been developed for information access and processing of private and confidential information." In addition, the Executive Secretary invited petitioners and Member States of the Commission to be part of the Individual Petition System Portal since "the process of petitions and cases would be faster and efficient, and would reduce costs and environmental damage." The Executive Secretary thanked the support of the Government of Spain, through which it was able to finance the development of the portal. Ambassador Jorge Hevia, Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, was present at the event.
The main advantages of the portal will be greater transparency and accessibility, as well as increased efficiency and effectiveness of the work of the Commission in the processing of petitions, cases and precautionary measures. The event was also attended by Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, Assistant Executive Secretary of the IACHR; Juan José Goldschtein, Director of the Department of Information and Technology Services (DOITS), DOITS Senior Software Specialist Carolina Franco, and the Head of the Technology and Systems Unit of the Commission, Doris Lamas. Also present were officials of the Missions of Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Roundtable "Gender-based Violence and Reparations – A Hemispheric Overview after Twenty Years of the Adoption of the Convention Belém do Pará"
IACHR Headquarters, October 27
On October 27, 2014, during the 153 Period of Session, the roundtable "Gender-based Violence and Reparations – A Hemispheric Overview after Twenty Years of the Adoption of the Convention Belém do Pará" was held. The event was jointly organized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The main presentation of the event was conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo. She talked about the challenges of developing legal standards on reparations on violence against women. In particular, she spoke about the need to move towards a perspective of transformative reparations that address the structural roots of violence and aim at improving the situation of women in society. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur stated that “the implementation of states’ obligations in reparations is not a reality; it remains grossly underdeveloped.” She stressed that “reparations cannot be about returning women into the situation they were found before the individual instance of violence”. The UN Rapporteur noted that, in this regard, there is a need for individual measures to be adopted along with “institutional and structural measures of transformation”.
On her part, the Chair and Rapporteur on the Rights of Women of the IACHR, Tracy Robinson, offered the welcoming remarks. In her speech, the Chair traced the historical achievement of the Convention of Belém do Pará, which is “the first such Convention in the world to address violence against women and the most ratified human rights convention in the inter-American system”. The Rapporteur of the IACHR stated that “violence against women [...] is regrettably an ordinary feature of life throughout the Americas, engrained and endemic.” She also indicated that the Commission has noted shortcomings in the conquest of "transformative reparations".
The roundtable also featured the specialized comments of Carmen Moreno, Executive Secretary of the CIM, who stressed the importance of access to justice so that the repairs can be achieved, and of Luz Piedad Caicedo, Research Coordinator of “Corporación Humanas Colombia”. The discussion also featured comments from members of the public.
IACHR Visit to Colorado, United States
October 20 to 22, 2014
The IACHR carried out a visit to Colorado, United States, from October 20 to 22, 2014, led by the Commissioner Rosa Maria Ortiz, Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, and accompanied by personnel of the Executive Secretary of the IACHR. The objective of the visit was to gather information on the situation of persons under the age of 18 treated as adults in the adult system of criminal justice, as well as the conditions of youth in detention and incarceration facilities.
During the visit, the delegation was received by authorities including the Deputy Legal Counsel of Governor John Hickenlooper, Ben Figa; Public Defender of the State of Colorado, Doug Wilson; Executive Director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, Tom Raynes; and Colorado State Representative Daniel Kagan. The Rapporteur also met with formerly incarcerated youth and families, as well as civil society representatives. Furthermore, the delegation visited confinement facilities for youth convicted as adults to the Youthful Offender System, as well as for youth committed in the juvenile system to the Division of Youth Corrections. Additionally, Commissioner Ortiz presented a lecture and held a public hearing at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.
Third training program for staff of the CARICOM
Washington D.C., October 20 and 21
In conjunction with the Faculty of Law, George Washington University (GWU), the Commission held the third annual training program at the Inter-American Human Rights System for CARICOM (Caribbean Community), on October 20 and 21, 2014. Approximately 11 diplomats and Government officials from the States of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Suriname attended.
Dinah Shelton, former Commissioner and Professor of law at GWU chaired the training program. The IACHR Chair, Tracy Robinson, offered welcoming remarks by videoconference. Also participating were Professor Blake D. Morant, dean of the GWU, and Ambassador Niermala Badrising, Permanent Representative of Suriname to the OAS and Vice Chair of the Permanent Council of the OAS.
Closing remarks were made by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, who announced that a scholarship directed at citizens of CARICOM countries was reactivated during 2014. In this context, the Executive Secretary pledged to continue to consolidate and deepen the existing constructive relationship between the Commission and the member states of CARICOM.
Human Rights Forum on the State of African Descendants in Canada
Canada, September 6
On September 6, 2014, the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the African Canadian Legal Clinic in conjunction with Osgoode Hall Law School, held a forum on the State of African Descendants in Toronto, Canada. The forum, which had a large attendance from the Toronto community, featured a number of speakers and presenters on a range of topics involving the human rights of afro-descendants in Canada, including unemployment and housing, migrant workers, education, child welfare, the experiences of the Somali community, health, policing and criminal justice, and topics of the national agenda. This was the second in a Canadian series on issues of Race and Human Rights, the first being held in Montreal, in November 2013.
Commissioner Rosa-Marie Belle Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and Against Racial Discrimination of the IACHR, addressed the Forum in an opening address. During her speech, the Commissioner presented topics that affect Canadian Afro-Descendants, such as socio-economic exclusion, employment, sources of income, “racialization” of poverty and housing and homelessness, drawing parallels with issues of race discrimination in the Americas. In addition, the Commissioner discussed and drew recommendations on employment equity, poverty reduction, public data collection, juvenile justice, education and housing.
Presentation of the Report on the Right of boys and girls to a family
Mexico - April 21 to 23
The Rapporteur on the Rights of the child, accompanied by specialist Marisol Blanchard Vera, conducted a visit to Mexico from April 21 to 23. The object of the visit was to present the Report on the “Right of girls and boys to a family. Alternative Care. Ending Institutionalization in the Americas”, organized by the Senate. The Rapporteur also had meetings with civil society and State officials to gather information on the legislative process that will create the National System of promotion and protection of girls, boys and adolescentents in mexico.
Tha Rapporteur will conduct an official visit to Mexico on the second semester of 2014.
Academic Forum: Contributions and Challenges of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Mexico City, August 15
During the 152nd Extraordinary Period of Sessions, an academic forum was held in the Palacio de Minería about the contributions and challenges of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The panels had the presence, in addition to that of the Commissioners, of UNAM Rector, José Narro Robles, as well as Luis Raúl González Pérez, Attorney General for UNAM, Juan José Gómez Robledo, Undersecretary for Multilateral and Human Rights Affair of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mariclaire Acosta, Freedom House México Director, Sergio García Ramírez, from UNAM’s Institute of Juridical Investigations, Fernando Ríos from the “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” Network, Alejandro Niño from Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, María Leoba Castañeda Rivas, Director of UNAM’s Law Faculty and Pilar Noriega García, from the State of Guerrero’s Truth Commission.
Workshop “Building an International Cooperation System for the Civil Protection of Children”
IACHR Headquarters, July 11 and 14
On July 14, the plenary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) received Ignacio Goicoechea, representative for Latin America to the Hage Conference on Private International Law. Also, on July 11, Mr. Goicoechea imparted an informative workshop for the IACHR staff about abduction and retention of children across international boundaries. This activity was organized by the IACHR Rapporteurship on the Rights of the Child, in light of the increasing number of petitions and precautionary measures received by the Commission on this matter.
Experts Meeting “Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Freedom of Expression and Information”
London, June 18 and 19, 2014
On June 18 and 19, members of the IACHR’s Disability Group participated in an experts meeting in London on Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Freedom of Expression and Information, convened by the organization Article 19. The event brought together a group of experts on human rights and disabilities to discuss implementation of state obligations regarding the right of persons with disabilities to freedom of expression, opinion, and information. This meeting drew participants from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Harvard University; and civil society organizations from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Launching of the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas
Lima, Peru, May 27
On May 27, 2014 Commissioner James L. Cavallaro officially launched in Lima, Peru, the the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas. In an event sponsored by Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), the Center for the Advancement of Justice and Citizen Security (CERJUSC), the Legal Defense Institute (IDL) and Open Society/Justice Initiative and the Latin American Network for Pretrial Detention. The Ombudsman, Eduardo Vega, the Attorney General Pablo Sanchez, and representatives from civil society, also participated. During his visit to Peru the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty met with government officials and other stakeholders, and conducted other activities within his mandate.
Lecture Series: Transforming the Invisible into the Visible
May 14, 2014
On May 14, 2014, the third lecture of the series was delivered by prominent author, academic, and race theorist Tanya K. Hernandez, a Professor of Law at Fordham University, New York.
The title of Professor Hernandez's lecture was "Racial Innocence in the Americas: A U.S. – Latin American Comparison". With reference to her recent work, "Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law and the New Civil Rights Response", she explored, and critiqued the notion that Latin American countries have been "racially innocent", compared to the history of Jim Crow segregation of the USA.
In this regard, Professor Hernandez argued that an examination of the role of the state after the abolition of slavery in regulating race through immigration law and customary law disrupts this picture of Latin America as “racially innocent.”
Professor Hernandez also offered an assessment of the ways in which contemporary Latin American anti-discrimination laws seek to eradicate the legacy of state-sponsored racism; and further offered insights as to how the examination of the Latin American context may be helpful to the U.S. racial justice movement today, given the growing denial of the existence of racism in the United States.
IACHR Meeting with Civil Society
IACHR Headquarters, March 29, 2014
The plenary of the Inter-American Commission, the Executive Secretary, the Assistant Executive Secretary and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression received civil society representatives of the Americas at the IACHR Headquarters, on March 29, 2014. The meeting took place in the context of the 150 Period of Sessions. Its goal was to receive comments and exchange points of view on the work of the Commission and the implementation of its Strategic Plan.
Organizations Meet with Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
IACHR Headquarters, March 26
On March 26, Rapporteur Rose-Marie Antoine met with representatives of indigenous peoples and organizations, along with representatives of civil society organizations from several countries in the hemisphere, in the context of the 150th session of the IACHR. The meeting, held at Commission headquarters in Washington, gave the Rapporteur the chance to share information about key concerns involving the situation of indigenous peoples in the region with indigenous leaders and with civil society representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, and Suriname.
IACHR officially launched the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas
IACHR Headquarters, March 26, 2014
The IACHR officially launched the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas, in the course of the 150th period of sessions of the Inter-American Commission, in Washington, D.C. In the event the Chairperson of the IACHR, Tracy Robinson; the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty James Cavallaro; the Ambassador Jorge Hevia, Permanent Observer of Spain before the OAS; Nataly Ponce, Coordinator of the Regional Network of Pretrial Justice in Latin America; and Robert Varenik, Program Director of Open Society/Justice Initiative participated as panelists. The Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Alvarez Icaza participated as moderator.
The Report analyzes the general situation on the use of pretrial detention in the region, identifies common challenges, presents official information, reiterates the main international standards on the matter and advances in the development of new standards. The Inter-American Commission stresses that pretrial detention must be the exception, and it should only be applied with the aim of ensuring the proper conduction of the process. Furthermore, it lays out a number of recommendations aimed to assist the States on their compliance with the international standards in the matter.
Presentation in Mexico of the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas
Mexico, March 10
The newly appointed Rapporteur on Persons Deprived of Liberty, James L. Cavallaro conducted a series of activities in México in order to promote the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas, which included meetings with representatives of civil society organizations and other stakeholders, as well as a formal launching of the Report in the Senate of the Republic of Mexico. These activities were co-sponsored by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and OpenSociety/Justice Initiative.
Presentation of Preliminary Observations of the IACHR's visit to the Dominican Republic to the OAS Permanent Council
Washington, D.C.,USA, February 19, 2014
On February 19, 2014, Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, IACHR's Second Vice-President and Country Rapporteur for the Dominican Republic addressed the Permanent Council of the OAS at the request of several Member States to present the Preliminary Observations of the IACHR’s December 2013 visit to the Dominican Republic.
Conference about the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas
Bogotá, Colombia, December 2, 2013
On December 2, the Rapporteur delivered a conference about the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas at the University of St. Thomas, in Bogotá, in the course of an International Congress on the creation of a committee for the prevention of torture in the Americas.
Race, Discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America
November 22-23, 2013
On November 22 to 23, 2013, the IACHR, in conjunction with the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory, Faculty of Law at McGill University, held a Special Forum on Race, Discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America.
The forum took place at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. The forum featured a number of speakers and presenters on a range of topics including race and the criminal justice system, discrimination against indigenous peoples in North America, race and discrimination in matters of health, housing and education, race discrimination in the workplace, and race and religious accommodation in the workplace.
Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent (and at the time Commissioner in charge of the Economic Social and Cultural Rights Unit) keynote speech under the title “Setting the stage – an overview of race, discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America", while Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, (then IACHR Chair) delivered some opening remarks.
"Reviewing the Standards Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – Preventing Torture and ill-treatment?"
New York, USA, October 22, 2013
On October 22, the staff of the Rapporteurship participated at the side event Reviewing the Standards Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – Preventing Torture and ill-treatment?, organized by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in the frame of the 68th period of sessions of the General Assembly of the UN, in New York. The goal of this event was to provide an opportunity to draw attention to the on-going review process and to discuss the recommendations rendered by the Special Rapporteur in his recent report (A/68/295), delivered specifically for this process. Also participated in this panel discussion: Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT); Claudio Grossman, Chair of the Committee Against Torture (CAT); Andrea Huber, Policy Director of Penal Reform International (PRI); Jamil Dakwar, Director Director of the Human Rights Program of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); y Yuval Ginbar, Asesor Legal Advisor of Amnesty International (AI).
Panel on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Dominican Republic, October 2013
Commissioner Tracy Robinson, who is in charge of the Unit on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, and Intersex Persons (LGTBI), participated as a presenter on a panel on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Human Rights Law. The event was part of a parliamentary conference on “Protecting Human Rights, Combating Discrimination, and Addressing HIV/AIDS of Persons with Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities.” The seminar, which took place October 9-11, 2013, was organized jointly by the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic and the organization Parliamentarians for Global Action.
Second Annual Training Programme for CARICOM officials
IACHR Headquarters, October 21-22, 2013
In conjunction with the George Washington University Law School (GWU), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted the second annual CARICOM Training Programme in the Inter-American Human Rights System. The training programme took place on October 21-22, 2013, with the first day at the GWU, and the second at the OAS General Secretariat Building, site of the Commission’s headquarters.
Approximately 20 diplomats and Government officials drawn from CARICOM missions to the OAS and from capitals of CARICOM countries attended the programme. Some of the attending States included: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and Suriname. Commissioner Dinah Shelton, country rapporteur for CARICOM States, presided over the training programme. Offering opening remarks were interim Dean of the GWU, Prof. Greg Maggs, and Ambassador Jacinth Henry-Martin of St. Kitts-Nevis.
After a general overview of the Inter American Human Rights System, the agenda included specific areas such as the petition system, precautionary measures, country monitoring, Rapporteurships, litigation before the Inter American Court of Human Rights, and recent changes to the Commission's Rules of Procedure. Closing remarks were offered by IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, who emphasized that the annual training programme is part of larger thrust by the IACHR to deepen institutional relations with CARICOM States. In this sense, Commissioner Shelton reminded participants that the Buergenthal Fellowship will commence in 2014. This fellowship will be dedicated to CARICOM nationals to undertake the LL.M programme at the GWU.
Forum "Standards for the Design and/or Strengthening of a
National Registry System for Detained Persons"
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, September 25, 2013
On September 25, a specialist from the Rapporteurship participated in the Expert Meeting on “Standards for the Design and/or Strengthening of a National Registry System for Detained Persons” in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This event was organized by the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Human Rights Center “Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez” (Centro Prodh) and the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH). Also participating were representatives from the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Working Group of the United Nations on Arbitrary Detentions, and other experts on this field.
Experts Meeting on Education, Culture, and LGTBI Persons
IACHR Headquarters, September 12-13, 2013
More than 15 experts of 12 nationalities attended the meeting of Experts on Education, Culture and LGTBI Persons, organized by the IACHR LGTBI Unit and co-sponsored by UNAIDS. The meeting was conducted by the Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, who underscored the role of education as a strategic tool that makes it possible to combat and eliminate prejudice, stereotypes, and false conceptions with regard to people with diverse sexual orientations or gender identities. She also stressed the need to move towards full recognition of the rights of LGTBI persons, emphasizing the need to depathologize diverse forms of sexuality and identity. For its part, the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, highlighted the work done by the LGTBI Unit since its installation on February 2012.
The meeting included discussion and debate on issues such as education in human rights and gender; bullying at school based on real or perceived sexual orientation or on gender identity or gender expression; the right to comprehensive sex education; the access to education for trans persons, strategies for raising awareness of key players in the field of education; and the influence of the media, marketing techniques, religious groups, and cultural patterns of discrimination, segregation, and prejudice against LGTBI persons. Participants also analyzed the relation between discrimination and violence against LGTBI persons and heteronormativity, gender binarism and misogyny. Furthermore, the situation of violence against children and adolescents in the educational setting, its causes and consequences, was widely debated.
Prison, Pressure and Process: The Judicial Independence and its Impact on Pre-trial Detention
Peru, September 10, 2013
On September 10, the Rapporteur participated in the forum: “Prison, Pressure and Process: The Judicial Independence and its Impact on Pre-trial Detention”, sponsored by Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF). In this event, the DPLF officially launched a recently finished study on the situation of the judicial independence in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. More detailed information about the event and the full text of the report in Spanish are available at here.
Lecture on Rights of LGTBI Persons
San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 11, 2013
On September 11, 2013, Commissioner Tracy Robinson, who oversees the Commission’s LGTBI Unit, spoke at a conference at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, at the “Forum to Defend the Rights of the LGBTI Community.” The event was sponsored by the law school’s Clinical Program on Gay and Lesbian Rights, Pro Bono Derechos Sexuales UPR, ILSA-UPR, and Pangea. Commissioner Robinson talked about the IACHR’s efforts as they relate to the promotion of and respect for the rights of lesbians, gays, and trans, bisexual, and intersex persons.
First Working Meeting on the Prevention of Torture in the Southern Cone
Argentina, August 14-16, 2013
From August 14 to 16 the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Mr. Rodrigo Escobar Gil, participated at the First Working Meeting on the Prevention of Torture in the Southern Cone, sponsored by the Procuración Penitenciaria de la Nacion and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). This event counted with the participation of public authorities, representatives from the civil society and national human rights institutions from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, as well as representatives from international human rights organizations. The meeting provided an opportunity to focus on the main challenges faced by the countries of the region in the prevention of torture, and to explore possible actions and solutions based on the successful experiences shared.
Presentation of the Report on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in Honduras
August 1 and 2, 2013
On August 1 and 2, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Commissioner Rodrigo Escobar Gil, headed the delegation that visited Tegucigalpa to present the Report on the Situation of Persons Deprived of Liberty in Honduras. The Report was presented to the President of the Republic, Porfirio Lobo; to family members of the victims of the fire at the National Penitentiary of Comayagua; to other high-level State authorities; and to civil society organizations and the people of Honduras, through the media. The report was prepared based on an April 2012 working visit to Honduras by an IACHR delegation led by Rapporteur Escobar Gil, which was carried out with the financial support of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Lecture Series: Transforming the Invisible into the Visible
July 17, 2013
The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is holding a lecture series with the theme Transforming the Invisible into the Visible.
On July 17, 2013, the second lecture of its lecture series was held. The lecture was delivered by the sociologist and race theorist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Professor Bonilla-Silva's choice of title for his conference was El descenso por la madriguera: Racism, New Racism, and the Post-Racial Moment in Obamerica.
Participating in the event were IACHR Chair José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, who offered remarks; the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination, Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, chaired the event; and Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria, who delivered the closing remarks and vote of thanks.
UN Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul Visit
IACHR headquarters, July 12, 2013
On July 12, 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur in matters od Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, was received by the plenary of the Commission, in the framework of the 148th Session. The goal of this visit was to hear the vision of Rapporteur Knaul on the region’s main challenges in the field of judicial independence. During her visit, the Rapporteur also met with Human Rights Specialists working at the Executive Secretariat, in order to learn about the functioning of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. Rapporteur Knaul also offered a presentation to the IACHR Executive Secretariat staff on the activities and areas of work of the Office of the UN and the major challenges identified by herself, as Rapporteur, on judicial independence matters.
Experts Consultation on the Independence of the Judiciary
July 5, 2013
To enlarge the photo, click on it
Photo Album of the event on Flickr
On July 5, 2013 the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders of the IACHR held an experts consultation in order to obtain specialized inputs about the standards of international law and comparative law applicable to the processes of selection and separation of positions of judges, prosecutors and defense / public as well as the obstacles they face in such processes. Participants of the consultations included: Jesus Orozco, President of the IACHR and Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders; Roberto de Figueiredo Caldas, Judge of the Court of Human Rights (Brazil), Douglass Cassel, professor at the University of Notre Dame (USA) , Leandro Despoy, former Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for Independence of the Magistrates and Lawyers (Argentina), Stella Maris Martínez, Advocate General of the Nation (Argentina), Claudia Paz y Paz, Attorney General the Nation (Guatemala); Katya Salazar, Due Process Foundation (USA) and staff of the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR. The input obtained during the consultation will be taken into account in the development of a thematic report on the status of judicial officers done by the Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders of the IACHR.
Training for Public Officials and Civil Society
Brazil, June 25-29, 2013
Two attorneys from the Executive Secretariat participated as speakers in the Human Rights Training Course that took place June 25-29, 2013, in the state of Paraíba (Brazil) and was organized by Brazil’s Ministry of Justice, the Amnesty Commission, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The seminar was geared toward government officials, federal and state judges, attorneys, prosecutors, and representatives of civil society. The presentations were on “Case Law of the Inter-American Court on Freedom of Expression and Reparations in this Area” and “Case Law of the Inter-American Court on Gender and Reparations in this Area.”
Lecture Series: Transforming the Invisible into the Visible
June 25, 2013
The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched a lecture series with the theme Transforming the Invisible into the Visible.
The inaugural lecture was delivered by the renowned cultural anthropologist and filmmaker Sheila Walker. She is Executive Director of Afrodiaspora, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing documentary films and educational materials about the global African diaspora. Participating in the event were the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, who offered opening remarks. The Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination, Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, chaired the event.
The conference took place on June 25, 2013, at the OAS General Secretariat Building, 1889 F St NW, Washington DC, 20006. The event was open to the public.
International Forum on Migration and Peace
New York, June 20, 2013
On June 20, 2013, as part of the IV International Forum on Migration and Peace that was organized by the Scalabrini International Migration Network at the New York Law School in Manhattan, New York, United States, Mr. Emilio Alvarez Icaza Longoria, Executive Secretary of the IACHR, gave a presentation entitled "Human Security, Human Development and Human Rights: Trends and Challenges for International Migration Policy from the Perspective of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."
Presentation in Panama of the Report on Persons Deprived of Liberty
Panama, June 14, 2013
On June 14, the Rapporteur presented the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, at an event in Panama City organized by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). Also participating in the event was Carmen Rosa Villa, Regional Representative for Central America of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as Panamanian government officials and civil society representatives.
Commitment to a New Model for Handling Migration in the Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo, June 13, 2013
On June 13, 2013, as part of a conference titled “Academic Reflections on a Commitment to a New Model for Handling Migration in the Dominican Republic,” an attorney from the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants gave a presentation on international and inter-American standards on migration and human rights. The event, held at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was coordinated by the Centor Bonó and the UNIBE School of Law and Center for Research and Social Studies. Participants included academics, attorneys, officials from international organizations, representatives of civil society, representatives of the state, and law students.
The conference also included presentations by Frank Báez, of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Agustín González Morel, of CEFINOSA consultants (Consultores Económicos, Financieros y Organizacionales); Irmary Reyes-Santos, Professor, University of Oregon, United States; and Wilfredo Lozano, Center for Research and Social Studies (CIES-UNIBE). Mario Serrano Marte, S.J., of the Centro Bonó, spoke at the closing.
Presentations on the Inter-American Human Rights System
Washington, June 12, 2013
The IACHR Executive Secretary and several specialists from the Executive Secretariat gave presentations on the IACHR, the petition and case system, mechanisms for promotion and protection, precautionary measures, thematic rapporteurships, onsite visits, and litigation before the Court. The presentations were part of the “Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law” organized by American University. The presentation took place June 12, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
Class on Inter-American System
Washington, June 11, 2013
On June 11, 2013, an attorney from the Executive Secretariat gave a class on the inter-American human rights system to a group of diplomats at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute. The class is part of the Foreign Service Institute’s Area Studies, Southern Cone.
Recommendations on Protecting Human Rights Defenders
Poland, June 10-12, 2013
A specialist from the Office of the Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders participated in a meeting in Warsaw, Poland, organized by the Focal Point for Human Rights Defenders and National Human Rights Institutions, of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). At the meeting, experts from various international organizations and civil society provided input and suggestions for a report the OSCE Focal Point is developing on “Recommendations on Protecting Human Rights Defenders.”
Standards on Exceptionality of Immigration Detention
Mexico, May 28, 2013
On May 28, 2013, Álvaro Botero Navarro, an attorney with the IACHR Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, gave a presentation in Mexico City on standards developed in the inter-American human rights system on the exceptional nature of immigrant detention in light of obligations based on personal liberty. His participation took place as part of the presentation of the report “Dignity without exception: alternatives to immigrant detention,” prepared by the International Detention Coalition (IDC). The event included remarks by Sin Fronteras IAP; the Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia AC (INSYDE); the Women’s Refugee Commission; the State of Mexico Immigration Policy Unit; and by a representative of the national legislature.
Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition
IACHR Headquarters, May 23, 2013
On May 23, 2013, at IACHR headquarters, a group of professionals from the IACHR Executive Secretariat gave lectures on the human rights system to participants in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition offered by the American University Washington College of Law.
Human Rights of Migrants
Mexico, May 15, 2013
On May 15, 2013, an attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated in a videoconference on “Respect for the Human Rights and Labor Rights of Migrants,” along with panelists from the OAS Department of Social Development and Employment and a group of students who participated from Mexico City. The event was part of the Course on Social Security in Globalization, held by the Inter-American Center for Social Security Studies.
Presentation by the Unit on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
Argentina, May 9-10, 2013
On May 9, 2013, Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine, the IACHR Executive Secretary, and a specialist attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated in an event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to introduce the IACHR Unit on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ESCR Unit). The event included the participation of experts, civil society representatives, and members of academia, who provided input to help the ESCR Unit build its agenda and set priorities in terms of issues of particular concern to civil society. The event was held in collaboration with the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS). On May 10, 2013, Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine and a specialist attorney from the Executive Secretariat met with high-level officials from the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Labor, as well as with Argentina’s Foreign Minister. Commissioner Antoine talked about the work the ESCR Unit has been doing, and the officials she met with expressed their commitment to work with the IACHR in its efforts in the area of economic, social, and cultural rights.
Seminar for Judicial Public Servants in Bolivia
Sucre, May 6-10, 2013
An attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated as a speaker in a seminar on “International Treaty Law,” held May 6-10, 2013, in the Bolivian city of Sucre. The event was organized by the Plurinational Constitutional Court of Bolivia and in the Master’s Program in “Constitutional Law and Autonomous Plurinational Justice, and International Law and Constitutional Justice” at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. The participation of the IACHR Executive Secretariat came at the invitation of the President of the Plurinational Constitutional Court of Bolivia, Ruddy José Flores Monterrey,” as part of the “Project for Strengthening and Increasing the Independence of the Judicial System in Bolivia,” funded by the European Union through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner. The purpose of the seminar was to provide updated information to justices and staff of the Plurinational Constitutional Court, as well as authorities and public servants in the judiciary, on various issues of public international law and international human rights law, so that they would have and be able to apply the necessary tools for constitutional oversight when the State ratifies international treaties, as well as when it comes to applying and interpreting treaties on human rights and community law or regional integration law. The presentations were on the following issues: “The Relationship between the European System and the Inter-American System of Human Rights”; “Issues Related to Human Rights Treaties”; and “International Court of Justice: Procedures and Case Law.”
VII Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies
Mongolia, April 27-29, 2013
The Inter-American Commission was represented by an attorney with the IACHR Executive Secretariat at the VII Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies, which took place April 27-29, 2013, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The IACHR participant was a special guest at the Civil Society Forum, which was held in the framework of the Ministerial Conference and which included a discussion of the inter-American system’s experiences in the areas of freedom of expression and political rights, as well as regarding the work of human rights defenders.
Meeting of Experts on “Indicators for Measuring the Use of Pretrial Detention: What does ‘exceptional measure’ in pretrial justice mean in the Americas?”
Bogotá, April 25-26, 2013
On April 25-26, 2013, the staff of the Office of the Rapporteur participated in the meeting of experts on “Indicators for Measuring the Use of Pretrial Detention: What does ‘exceptional measure’ in pretrial justice mean in the Americas?” The meeting was held in Bogotá, Colombia. It was organized by the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Red Regional para la Justicia Previa al Juicio de América Latina. The opening talk was given by the representative of the Office of the Rapporteur, who spoke on the topic “Register of detainees and measurement of the use of pretrial detention in international human rights law.”
The Death Penalty in the Inter-American Human Rights System
Washington, D.C., April 22, 2013
On April 22, 2013, Commissioner Tracy Robinson, Rapporteur of the IACHR for the United States, presented “The Death Penalty in the Inter-American Human Rights System: From Restrictions to Abolition,” at the American Bar Association (ABA). This activity was organized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Mission of France to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Ambassador Pierre-Henri Guignard, Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, and Robin Maher, Director of the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, participated in the panel, which was moderated by Denny LeBoeuf, Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. This event was conducted in English.
Human Rights and the Environment
Connecticut, April 19-20, 2013
On April 19-20, 2013, an attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated in a conference on “The Quest for Global Environmental Equity in an Increasingly Inequitable World,” sponsored by the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment at Connecticut College. The conference addressed the issue of environmental injustice, including its causes and possible solutions. It included the participation of professionals from various fields, such as biologists, political scientists, attorneys, and activists from nongovernmental organizations that work to protect the environment. The attorney from the IACHR Executive Secretariat gave a presentation on the environmental damage produced by extractive industries in Latin America, and the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples to their territories.
Second Meeting of the Working Groups of the XVII Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor
April 16 - 18, 2013
On April 16, 2013, Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine participated in a workshop in The Bahamas, in the context of the Second Meeting of the Working Groups of the XVII Inter-American Conferences of Ministers of Labor. The workshop was on the theme “The Situation of Vulnerable Groups in the Region as it Relates to their Access to the Labor Market.” Commissioner Antoine's presentation was part of a panel discussion. Participants in the workshop included labor ministers, other government officials, and consultative bodies like the International Labor Organizaton (ILO).
Conference: Litigation before the UN Committee Against Torture
Washington, D.C., April 16, 2013
On April 16, 2013, the IACHR participated in a conference in Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by the World Organisation Against Torture and the American University Washington College of Law, and titled, “Litigation Before the UN Committee Against Torture: Strengthening This Important Tool Against Torture.” An attorney with the IACHR Executive Secretariat gave a presentation on “Perspectives on Torture in the Inter-American Human Rights System.”
Regional Consultation on the Rights of the Child
Uruguay, April 10-12, 2013
Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, in her capacity as Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, was invited by UNICEF to conduct a regional consultation on “how to put an end to the placement of children under three years of age in child protection or child care institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The Rapporteur also participated in the presentation of the handbook “Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.’” The Rapporteur held meetings with authorities, international organizations, and civil society to discuss a range of issues related to the rights of children and adolescents.
Conference on the Rights of Migrants
Santiago, Chile, April 10 and 11, 2013
The Special Rapporteur on Migrants of the IACHR, the Human Rights Center of the Universidad Diego Portales and Embassy in Chile organized together an international conference entitled "Migration and Human Rights: international standards and practices." It took place on April 10 and 11, 2013 in Santiago, Chile. The meeting brought together lawyers, sociologists, political scientists and members of civil society organizations, and included the participation of a French regional delegation for cooperation with the Southern Cone and Brazil. The purpose of the meeting was to identify and analyze the current scenario of migratory movements in recent times that have seen an increment in Southern Cone countries, and define possible public policies to protect the human rights of migrants.
Conference on Regional Systems and Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Gambia, April 7 and 8, 2013
On April 7 and 8, 2013 the Deputy Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, participated in a conference-workshop on approaches, progress and prospects of the different human rights systems on the rights of indigenous peoples in the headquarters of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in Banjul, Gambia. The event was organized by the African Commission and the Working Committee on Indigenous Peoples, organized by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). Among the attendants were the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. James Anaya, and UN Minority Rapporteur, Mr. Gay McDougall. Elizabeth Abi-Mershed spoke about the work of the Commission on the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the jurisprudence of the human rights system in the field.
Expert Meeting on “The Right to Reparation for Torture: the Role of African Human Rights Mechanisms.”
Gambia, April 5-6, 2013
On April 5-6, 2013, the Coordinator of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Maria Claudia Pulido, participated, along with the Assistant Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, in the Expert Meeting called “The Right to Reparation for Torture: the Role of African Human Rights Mechanisms.” This event took place on Kololi, Gambia, and was organized by the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and The REDRESS Trust, in collaboration with other organizations.
Presentation of the Book The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere
March 19, 2013
On March 19, 2013, the Rapporteur moderated a panel discussion to launch a new book by Prof. Robert Cottrol entitled The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere. Robert Cottrol is Professor of Law, of History, and of Sociology; and Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. The launch took place at the George Washington Law School, with the panel including Judith Morrison, Senior Advisor for the Gender and Diversity Unit at the Inter-American Development Bank, and Professor Eric Arensen, of the George Washington University History Department. Prof.Cottrol's work analyzes the interplay of law and race in the Americas, contrasting the experience of the United States with Brazil, as well as seven nations carved from Spain’s American empire: Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The Rapporteur lauded Prof. Cottrol for his substantial work in advancing the historiography of race and law in the Americas, noting that it will serve to broaden and deepen regional discourse in this regard.
The Rapporteurship officially launched the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas
March 15, 2013
On March 15, 2013, in the context of the 147th Period of Sessions of the IACHR, the Rapporteurship officially launched the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, in the Padilha Vidal Room at the Headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Participants in this panel included Ambassador Andres González Diaz, Chairman of the CAJP of the OAS; Ambassador Guillermo Marin, Deputy Observer from Spain before the OAS; Dr. Veronica Filippeschi Program Officer for the Americas of the Association on the Prevention of Torture (APT); and Commissioner Rodrigo Escobar Gil, Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty of the IACHR. Dr. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, Executive Secretary of the IACHR acted as a moderator of the panel.
Milestones and Challenges in the Advancement of the Rights of Afro-Descendants in the Americas
February 25, 2013
The IACHR co-organized with the Department of International Affairs of the OAS a Roundtable Discussion under the name “Milestones and Challenges in the Advancement of the Rights of Afro-Descendants in the Americas.” It will take place on February 25, 2013, in the Hall of the Americas of the Main Bulding of the Organization, in Washington, D.C. The topic will be presented by U.S. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Representative of the Fifth Congressional District of New York, United States House of Representatives. The panel discussion, moderated by Ambassador Deborah Mae Lovell, Permanent Representative of Antigua & Barbuda to the OAS, will consist of Francisco Lopez, President of the Bert Corona Leadership Institute; Robert J. Cottrol, Professor of History and Sociology, and Harold Paul green Rsearch Professor of Law at George Washington University; and Zakiya Carr Johnson, Senior Advisor to the Race, Ethnicity and Social Inclusion Unit in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The welcoming remarks will be made by the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, and the closing remarks by the IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza. This event will be Webcast: www.oas.org
Protecting Rights of Children in Haiti
Haiti, January 14, 2013
On January 14, 2013, Commissioner Rosa Maria Ortiz participated in the Conference "The Role of the Ombudsman in the Protection of Human Rights", in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During the event, representatives of the OPC, from the defenders of the Peoples of Latin America, from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and mediation experts were invited to share their experiences and best practices, addressing issues such as the protection of children’s, migrants’, and detainees’ rights and the role of the Ombudsman in response to natural disasters, in addressing social conflicts, and the prevention of electoral violence. The conference was attended by 74 representatives of the Government of Haiti, the OPC, civil society, and the international community. Commissioner Ortiz made a presentation entitled "The Inter-American System of Human Rights on the Protection of Children's Rights: Opportunities for Collaboration with the OPC".
Regional Course on Indicators of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Social Policy
December 10-14, 2012
Commissioner Rose Marie Antoine was a distinguished panelist in the Regional Training Course on the “The use of economic, social and cultural rights indicators as a tool for an effective social policy”, with took place from December 10th to 14th 2012, in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Course was organized by the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Training Centre of the Spanish Cooperation Agency in Montevideo with support from the Uruguayan Ministry of Social Development, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights.
The course aimed to support the OAS Member States in the monitoring of economic, social and cultural rights instruments at the Inter-American system, as they are key elements of an effective social policy. In particular, the course emphasized the Protocol of San Salvador monitoring process, which is currently underway and States parties to it are to submit reports over the next two years in accordance with Article 19 of the Protocol.
The activities were run by distinguished speakers and lecturers from various international organizations and academic institutions, and the group of participants was composed of government officers from OAS member states with technical responsibilities for coordination of social policies and/or economic, social and cultural rights.
International Simposium “Inter-American System of Human Rights: Debates and Challenges”
Argentina, November 2012
On November 27 and 28, 2012, the IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez-Icaza, participated in the International Simposium “Inter-American System of Human Rights: Debates and Challenges,” organized by the International Center for Political Studies (CIEP) of the National University of San Martin, in Argentina.
OAS Briefing Program for the Foreign Service Institute
Washington, D.C., October 2012
On October 26, 2012, the Assistant Executive Secretary of the IACHR gave a presentation on “Promoting Human Rights in the Americas” as part of the “OAS Briefing Program for the Foreign Service Institute,” which was attended by 12 Government Representatives.
OAS Briefing Program for the US Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program
Washington, D.C., October 2012
On October 25, 2012, the coordinator of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples gave a presentation on the rights of indigenous peoples and afro-descendants, as part of a program created by the OAS for the “OAS Briefing Program for the US Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program”. The presentation was attended by representatives of Latin American Indigenous and Afro-descendants groups.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Washington, D.C., October 2012
On October 23, 2012, a specialist with the IACHR Executive Secretariat participated in a roundtable organized by the Open Society Foundation to discuss Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which concerns to the right to live independently and to be included in the community. The IACHR specialist introduced a panel that explored the possibilities of using national, regional, and international human rights mechanisms for the application and interpretation of the right of every person with a disability to be included in the community.
Human Rights Commission of the Federal District,
Mexico City, October 2012
On October 18, 2012, the IACHR signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Institutional Cooperation with the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal, CDHDF), Mexico.
World Day against the Death Penalty
Washington, D.C., October 2012
The IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez-Icaza, is a panelist in the roundtable "How much longer until the universal abolition of the death penalty?" The event offers a forum where to reflect on the progress towards abolition of the death penalty in the States that still mantain its application, and the challenges in relationship to its elimination in the Inter-American System. This event was organized by the Secretariat for Juridical Affairs of the OAS and the Permanent Mission of France to the OAS, and was held on October 11, 2012, in the Hall of the Americas, OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.
OAS Press Advisory (in Spanish)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, visits the IACHR
Washington, D.C., October 2012
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, visited the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on October 10, 2012. In the meeting with the IACHR Executive Secretary, the High Commissioner expressed that the Inter-American Human Rights System is a referent to the world. The High Commissioner and the Executive Secretary exchanges ideas on possible cooperation activities between the two bodies in order to generate sinergies to strengthen the work on human rights.
Seminar for State Officials on Identifying Human Rights Violations
Mexico City, September 2012
On September 19, 2012, a specialist from the Executive Secretariat gave a talk on "Identifying Human Rights Violations: State Responsibility and Victims," as part of an Interdisciplinary Discussion Seminar on the Right to Reparation for Human Rights Violations. The seminar was organized by the Gender Equity Program in Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice and a State advocacy office for crime victims (Procuraduría Social de Atención a Víctimas de Delito). The main purpose of the event was to inform State officials about the right to reparation in cases involving human rights violations.
Judge from Senegal Visits IACHR
Washington, D.C., June 2012
Judge Abdoul Diop of Senegal conducted a professional visit to the IACHR from June 8 to 15, 2012. During that week, judge Diop held meetings with specialists of the Executive Secretariat to get information directly from the Commission on its functioning. In particular, he studied the functioning of the Registry Group, the Protection Group, the Rapporteurships on the Rights of Human Rigths Defenders, Persons Deprived of Liberty and Migrants, the Press Office and several regional sections. In addition, judge Diop conducted a presentation for Executive Secretariat staff on the situation of human rights in Senegal, with special emphasis on the situation of the persons deprived of liberty in that African country, and on the functioning of the National Commission on Human Rights of Senegal. This professional visit was part of the Humphrey Fellowship that judge Abdoul Diop did in the University of Minnesota.
Visit of the African Court on Human and People's Rights
IACHR Headquarters, March 2012
On March 5, 2012, a delegation of three judges (Honorable Justices Agustin Ramadhani, Duncan Tambala, and Sylvain Oré), and a senior legal officer (Mr. Gakumba Nzamwita) from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), based in Arusha, Tanzania visited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and exchanged information on issues of common interest to both regional systems: evolution and functioning of the two organs, relationship between the Commissions and the Courts in the respective systems, case management and jurisprudence of the systems, among others. The Assistant Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, and several attorneys from the Executive Secretariat made several presentations on the Inter-American human rights system during the exchange.
Visit of the European Court of Human Rights
IACHR Headquarters, February 2012
On February 29, 2012, a delegation of several judges from the European Court of Human Rights, led by President H.E. Sir Nicholas Bratza, took part in an informal exchange with the President of the Commission, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco, Commissioner Dinah Shelton and Executive Secretary Santiago Canton. The dialogue was centered on themes of common interest including case management, friendly settlement and jurisprudence.
Legal Pluralism in Multicultural Societies
Lima, December 2011
Commissioner President Dinah Shelton participated in the International meeting on “Legal Pluralism in Multicultural Societies” which took place in Lima, Perú between December 12 and 14, 2011. The meeting, which was organized by the Andean Commission of Jurists and sponsored by the Government of France, had the purpose of analyzing experiences of legal pluralism in the Andean Region and how international courts and States have defined standards to address the issue.
Regional Seminar on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
The IACHR was represented by Commissioner President Dinah Shelton at a regional seminar on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Human Rights Declaration which took place in Bali, Indonesia. The participating experts contributed valuable experience from the Inter-American Commission, the African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples Rights, and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. The seminar’s recommendations highlighted, among others, the importance of the role of civil society in promoting and protecting human rights, and the contribution of independent regional human rights mechanisms towards improvement in international human rights standards.
"Use of Forensic Evidence in the fight against torture"
Copenhagen, December 2011
On December 1, and 2, 2011, the IACHR participated in Workshop for Lawyers on the "Use of Forensic Evidence in the fight against torture", in Copenhagen, Denmark, and sponsored by the organization International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).
Regional consultation on the prevention of torture
On November 29 and 30 2011 the IACHR held at its headquarters a “Regional consultation for the Americas on enhancing cooperation between UN and regional mechanisms on the prevention of torture and protection of victims of torture, especially persons deprived of liberty”. Participating at the event were the President of the IACHR and the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, the President of the Committee Against Torture, the Vice-President of the Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, representatives of the IACHR and the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, as well as representative of National Mechanisms for the Prevention of Torture (NMP) of the region, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations. During the meeting, the participants identified specific means and tools of cooperation among UN human rights mechanisms and the inter-American system in the combat against torture and ill treatment, taking into account areas of work such as the exchange of information, possible joint activities, and the follow-up of recommendations; they also discussed the role of the MPS and civil society organizations.
Challenges for the implementation of the recommendations of the Inter-American System of Human Rights
Commissioner Maria Silvia Guillén participated in the "Dialogue on the Report on Citizen Security and Human Rights: Challenges and Perspectives for the implementation of the recommendations", organized by the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, and sponsored by the IACHR. The meeting took place in San Salvador on November 28, and 29, 2011, and involved the participation of the senior police authorities of the OAS Member States of Colombia and the Central American region, as well as civil society representatives.
Implementation of Sentences and Recommendations in the Inter-American System of Human Rights
The IACHR was represented at the International Seminar on "Implementation of Sentences and Recommendations in the Inter-American System of Human Rights", organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile. The seminar took place on November 9, 2011, at the headquarters of the said Ministry in Santiago, Chile, with the purpose of increasing State agents’ awareness of the binding nature of the decisions issued by the organs of the Inter-American system. Participants included representatives of the Ministries comprising the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group; members and lawyers of the Human Rights Commissions of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies; staff of the judicial service, National Attorney General's Office and the Criminal Public Ombudsman's Office and of the National Institute for Human Rights.
Cooperation Agreement with the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico
On October 14, 2011, a ceremony took place marking the signing of cooperation agreement between the IACHR and the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico. Present at the signing were the President and Vice-President of the Inter-American Commission and on behalf of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Juan Silva Meza.
Incitement of Hate, Santiago de Chile
On October 12 and 13, 2011, the IACHR participated in a regional experts workshop on incitement of hate, which took place in Santiago, Chile. The IACHR ws invited by the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations.
OAS-African Union Forum
By invitation of the OAS General Secretariat, the IACHR participated on October 12 and 13, 2011, of the Forum of the OAS and the African Union on "challenges and opportunities in the promotion and defense of democracy and human rights in Africa and the Americas." The forum took place in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and its main topics were the cooperation between the OAS and the AFU was the protection and promotion of human rights in both regions.
World Coalition against the Death Penalty
On October 10, 2011, at the invitation of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, the IACHR participated in a discussion panel on the international jurisprudence in the area of the death penalty and the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This event took place in Geneva, Switzerland.
Outreach Seminars organized by the Judicial Power of Mexico
On September 24, 2011, the Inter-American Commission participated in a series of outreach seminars organized by the Judicial Power of Mexico in the states of León, Puebla and Sinaloa. In the seminars there was an analysis of constitutional reforms in matters of the amparo in the country, as well as the recent decision of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice in the Radilla Pacheco case, and this court's recommendations of the outline of constitutional oversight. Commissioner Orozco Henríquez and lawyers from the IACHR's Executive Secretariat participated in simultaneous presentations on the Inter-American human rights system in general, and on the control of constitutionality, led by federal judges, and that was developing in each one of the above-mentioned states.
Pacific Protest, Geneve
On September 13, 2011, the IACHR participated in a panel on pacific protest by invitation of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights. It took place in Geneve, Switzerland.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
On August 22, 2011, a workshop for the staff of the Executive Secretariat on Alternative Dispute Resolution took place at the IACHR, with the aim of promoting a strengthening of the friendly settlement program. The workshop was led by Prof. Charles Caver of the George Washington University.
Dialogue on Friendly Settlements
On June 10, 2011, an initial informal dialogue on friendly settlement proceedings took place at the headquarters of the IACHR with experts in the Inter-American system, with a view to making progress to identify best practices allowing a strengthening of the initiative the IACHR is currently developing in this area.
Citizen Security, El Salvador
On June 5, 2011, the IACHR Chair, Dinah Shelton, and Commissioner Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro participated as panelists in a forum on citizen security and human rights in San Salvador, El Salvador, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Women and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. The goal was to promote dialogue on the inter-relation between citizen security and human rights in the context of the General Assembly of the OAS. Around 100 people participated in the forum, including representatives of the Member States and of Observer Countries, of civil society, and Salvadoran public authorities.
Democracy for Peace, Security and Development
On May 12, 2011, the Executive Secretary participated in the Subregional Dialogue of the Members of the Central American and Mexican Integration System: "Democracy for Peace, Security and Development", in San Jose, Costa Rica. This event to place to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
Humanitarian Law and Military Law
On April 26 and 27, 2011, the Executive Secretary participated in the V International Meeting of Humanitarian and Military Law in Lima, Peru, at the invitation of the International Association of Military Jurists (AIJM). At the same time, the Executive Secretary was invited by the Legal Defense Institute to present the report "The Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples to their Ancestral Lands and Natural Resources."
Hemispheric Forum with Civil Society
On April, 25, 2011, the IACHR's Executive Secretary participated in a Hemispheric Forum with civil society organized in Washington by the OAS's Department for External Relations, whose aim was to foster participation of civil society in discussions on the central issue of the 2011 OAS General Assembly referred to as citizen security.
Workshop at the IACHR
On April 20, 2011, a training workshop was held for the IACHR Executive Secretariat staff on forensic investigation, directed by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Torture
Citizen Security, Geneve
By invitation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on April 18 and 19, 2011, the Executive Secretary participated in a meeting of experts on citizen security in Geneve, Switzerland. He presented the conclusions and recommendations of the IACHR report on the topic.
Leadership of Women for Citizen Democracy
On April 4 and 5, 2011, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and the Assistant Executive Secretary of the IACHR participated in the Hemispheric Forum "Women Leadership for Citizen Democracy," which was held in Washington, D.C., by the Inter-American Commission on Women.
ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights visit to the IACHR
November 16, 2010
A delegation from the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights visited the IACHR on November 16, 2010 for a regional dialogue on human rights institutions and regional mechanisms. The program included presentations by the IACHR on its history, mandates and structure; a discussion on the petition and case system; presentations on the interrelation of the IACHR and the OAS political bodies, and a joint roundtable meeting with NGOs currently working with IACHR.
Seminar on the Inter-American System and the Caribbean
On October 8-9, 2010, the IACHR, the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, and the Norman Manley Law School jointly sponsored a seminar on the countries of the Caribbean region and the inter-American human rights system. Commissioner Dinah Shelton, Rapporteur for several English-speaking Caribbean countries, was one of the panelists. Other participants included Hilaire Sobers and Angelita Baeyens, human rights specialists with the Commission. Among the issues addressed by various panels of experts were the nature of the inter-American system, the system’s subsidiary character, case law and its particular impact on the protection of rights in the Caribbean region, citizen security as a human right, and the future of the inter-American system within the Caribbean. The seminar took place at the headquarters of the Norman Manley Law School, in Jamaica.
Cooperation between the IACHR and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
A delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights visited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in June 2010 to hold a series of exchanges and meetings, as part of an ongoing dialogue on matters of common interest. The delegation was led by the Vice-Chair of the African Commission, Mumba Malila, and included Executive Secretary Mary Maboreke and other members of the Secretariat. The Second Vice-Chair of the IACHR, Commissioner Dinah Shelton, and a significant number of staff members from the Executive Secretariat participated in the activities, which included opportunities to compare best practices in the management of cases, compliance with recommendations, and outreach programs.
Over the years, the IACHR and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights have held promotional events and working meetings both in the Americas and in Africa. The specific results of these collaborations have included joint statements by Rapporteurs of both systems, such as the Joint Declaration of the Special Rapporteurs on Women’s Rights, signed in 2002 by the Rapporteurs of the UN, African, and inter-American systems, as well as the Joint Declaration on Media and Elections, issued in May 2009 by the Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression of the UN and the African, European, and inter-American systems.
In 2009, the IACHR undertook a project to increase interregional cooperation between the two human rights systems and their respective institutions. This project is being implemented at the present time thanks to the financial support of the United States Department of State, and is the result of the Commission’s interest in strengthening its collaboration with the African Commission through an ongoing relationship and exchange of information. Past contacts have made it clear that both systems have a strong interest in better understanding the processes, work methodologies, and standards in the area of human rights that have developed in each region, but it is often difficult to access such information quickly and in a way that is useful. On October 1, 2009, the African Union Commission and the OAS signed a memorandum of understanding in which they agreed to cooperate on issues related to democracy and human rights.
As part of this project, members of the Inter-American and African Commissions, as well as representatives of their respective Secretariats, held various exchanges and meetings between June 14 and 25. During the first week, Commissioner Dinah Shelton and Commissioner Mumba Malila met to talk about matters of mutual interest for both institutions. African Commission Executive Secretary Mary Maboreke was present during these meetings. The second week consisted of working meetings at the technical level between staff members from both Secretariats, who focused on work methods and procedures.
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Course on the Inter-American and International Systems for the Protection of Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the American University Washington College of Law, and the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas organized the Fifth Course on the Inter-American and International Systems for the Protection of Human Rights. The course took place October 18-29, 2010, parallel to the 140th period of sessions of the IACHR, in Washington, D.C.
This course, which has been organized once a year since 2005, aims to provide nongovernmental human rights organizations (NGOs) with tools to help them define strategies for using both the inter-American and United Nations protection systems. The course gives participants the opportunity to attend the Inter-American Commission’s sessions and hearings. Several of the course modules are offered by specialists from the IACHR Executive Secretariat. Course participants also have the opportunity to establish contacts with members of NGOs who attend the IACHR sessions in Washington and who have a long track record and vast experience in using the tools available through the inter-American human rights system.
The course is geared toward members of NGOs who have used or continue to use the inter-American and international human rights systems, and who need additional technical training in how the various protection mechanisms work. The course has a largely practical focus that allows the participants to acquire skills to make use of the system.
The process of selecting participants aims to achieve a balance in terms of gender, the thematic work areas of the organization they represent, and their geographical area of activity. Course participants must have at least three years’ active work experience in a human rights NGO; have basic knowledge of or experience in the use of regional or universal mechanisms for the protection of human rights; work for an NGO that has the capacity to make use of the inter-American system; and have a good command of the Spanish language.
The course includes presentations on the inter-American and universal human rights systems and on case law and notable cases, and offers training in how to file petitions and how to work with victims of human rights violations, as well as training in litigation strategies. Class modules include the following:
Participants are responsible for finding their own funding to attend the course. The course coordinator may assist the selected participants in the process of seeking funds. On occasion, the IACHR is able to obtain financial resources to offer a limited number of scholarships; these are distributed taking into account, among other factors, the efforts each candidate has made to obtain his or her own funding.