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, will make a presentation on “The Death Penalty in the Inter-American Human Rights System: From Restrictions to Abolition,” at the American bar Association (ABA). This activity is 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, will also participate in the panel. It will be moderated by Denny LeBoeuf, Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. This event will be conducted in English.
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.
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.