IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. - From October 30 to November 10, 2023, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held its 188th Period of Sessions. The event included internal sessions on topics relevant to the institutional mandate and 33 public hearings on human rights in the Americas.
During the country hearings, the IACHR received information from States and civil society on the defense of territory in Colombia; indigenous peoples in Suriname; sexual and reproductive rights in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and the United States; child pregnancy and marriage in Bolivia; and the protection of transgender children in Brazil.
It addressed matters including people deprived of their liberty in Jamaica; people detained for migration-related reasons in Mexico; people deported on criminal grounds in Canada; freedom of expression in Ecuador and Cuba; civic spaces in Venezuela; defenders and the judiciary in Honduras and Guatemala; judicial independence in Bolivia; access to information in Mexico; forced disappearances in El Salvador; and memory, truth, and justice in Chile. The IACHR also discussed the recommendations made in its 2023 country report on Peru, reiterating its proposal that the State create a follow-up mechanism concerning the social protests in the country.
The regional hearings addressed the human rights implications of the incarceration of people of African descent, illegal mining, the use of toxic agrochemicals and reproductive rights, the operation of community and indigenous-owned media and related regulatory challenges, the use of force during social protests, the rights of children following the closure of civic spaces, and the rights of women domestic workers. Three hearings concerned cases pending before the IACHR: Jessica Liliana Ramírez Gaviria v. Colombia, Mostafa Seyed Mirmehdi et al. v. United States, and Accomarca Massacre v. Peru. Two precautionary measure hearings were held on people deprived of their liberty in Cuba and on the 43 missing students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico.
During the period of sessions, the IACHR approved 6 merits reports and held 11 working meetings with Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico on precautionary measures and to follow-up on case recommendations. It held a high-level meeting with the president-elect of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo. There was also a dialogue with the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Václav Bálek, on the two organizations' work, the human rights situation in the region, and possible areas of cooperation.
At parallel events, spaces for reflection on the right to freedom of expression and the press were organized jointly with UNESCO to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The IACHR held a dialogue with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on security and human rights in the region, which was attended by regional experts on the matter.
The Inter-American Commission presented two thematic reports:"Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela," which addresses the causes of forced displacement and documents good practices and challenges for guaranteeing rights; and "The Closure of Civic Space in Nicaragua," which reports on a State strategy to suspend rights that are part of civic space and seeks to further concentrate power in the hands of the executive branch.
Following its dialogue meetings with civil society, the IACHR held a meeting with representatives of the Coalition of Human Rights Organizations of the Americas to discuss progress on the IACHR Strategic Plan 2023–2027.
The IACHR thanked the States and civil society organizations that took part in the 188th Period of Sessions. It also reminded them of Article 63 of the Rules of Procedure, which establishes that States must guarantee the safety of all people who participate in public hearings and refrain from carrying out reprisals against them or their relatives for statements or opinions given before the IACHR.
This press release is accompanied by an annex containing summaries (available in Spanish) of the public hearings held during this Period of Sessions. Videos of the hearings are available on the IACHR's YouTube channel, and photos on its Flickr account.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.