Deprived of Liberty

Mandate and Functions

  • Remain informed, via any reliable information source, about the situation of all types of persons submitted to any form of detention or prison in the Member States, regardless of their age, sex, or condition of incarceration or deprivation of liberty.
  • Conduct visits to OAS Member States for the purpose of compiling information or asking the State authorities for information concerning all persons deprived of liberty and the conditions in which they are being held.
  • Visit detention centers or facilities in which juveniles are held in custody, even without prior notice to the correctional authorities; interview, freely and in private, individuals who are detained or in prison, as well as correctional staff and authorities; interview relatives of individuals in custody, individuals who have been incarcerated as witnesses, members of nongovernmental organizations, or any staff member, authority, or individual; film record, take photographs, gather documents, or use any other appropriate means to learn about the situation of persons deprived of liberty.
  • Prepare reports for the Commission on the correctional situation in a particular detention center or country, or at the regional or subregional level, along with any recommendations deemed necessary for the Commission.
  • Issue recommendations to the Member States regarding detention or incarceration conditions, and follow up on compliance with the recommendations.
  • Conduct promotional and educational human rights activities applicable to persons deprived of liberty, with an emphasis on the protection of the fundamental rights and guarantees of those in custody and their families; correctional authorities' duties and prohibitions; and international regulations that apply to the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials.
  • In serious cases involving people in custody, promote action or urge States to meet their international obligations in this area.
  • Promote the adoption of legislative, judicial, administrative, or other types of measures to guarantee the rights of persons deprived of liberty and their families.
  • Coordinate promotional activity with nongovernmental organizations or other international institutions for the protection of human rights.
  • Coordinate actions with Ombudsmen's Offices or national human rights institutions to verify and monitor incarceration conditions in the Member States.
  • Take any other action or step deemed necessary to protect persons deprived of liberty, within the mandate of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.