Washington D.C., October 31, 2014
On October 31, 2014, during the 153 Period of Sessions, the Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, accompanied by the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Alvarez Icaza Longoria, held a meeting with civil society organizations and human rights defenders. The meeting took place at the headquarters of the Commission in Washington, D.C. The Rapporteur took this opportunity to share the lines of work of the Rapporteurship and collected the main concerns that were expressed by the participants. The Rapporteurship agreed to continue monitoring the issues exposed by the defenders at the meeting through the diverse mechanisms available to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and stressed the importance of sharing the best practices implemented in the States of the Americas for the protection of the legitimate work of human rights defenders.
August 15, 2014
On August 15, 2014, the specialist who supports the work of the Rapporteurship for Women participated in a discussion on the challenges faced by women human rights defenders in the performance of their work in the Mesoamerican region. This event was organized by the organizations CEJIL, Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, AC, Jass, the Mesoamerican Initiative for Women Human Rights Defenders, the International Service for Human Rights, the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, UN Women, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and had the support of the Government of Norway.
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 purpose of this discussion was to receive specialized inputs from the rapporteur for the preparation of a report on the “Independence of Justice Operators in the Americas” that is currently being prepared by the IACHR Rapporteurship for Defenders. The discussion was chaired by Jesús Orozco, President of the IACHR, and in addition to the Rapporteur, the following participated: Rodrigo Escobar, Rapporteur for Persons Deprived of Liberty of the IACHR; Catalina Botero Marino, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR, and María del Carmen Alanís Figueroa, Magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal of Mexico. The topics of the discussion were: i) Independence of the Public Defenders and Prosecutor's Offices; ii) selection and appointment systems; and iii) guarantees applicable to the processes of separation from the position of the justice operators.
July 5, 2013
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.
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 ."
On August 27, 2012, a lawyer from the Office of the Special Rapporteur participated in the I Peruvian Human Rights Congress organized by the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, organized in Peru by the University, the National Coordinator of Human Rights and the Pro-Human Rights Association. At said Congress, the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas was presented.
23 Aug 2012
On August 23, 2012, the IACHR Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders will participate in an event co-organized by the IACHR, the Colombian Commission of Jurists, and the Externado de Colombia University, where he will present the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas. Diana Sánchez, director of Minga and director of the Somos Defensores Program, will also participate, who will present the first semi-annual report 2012 of the information system on attacks against human rights defenders in Colombia. Likewise, María Clara Galvis, a lawyer from the Universidad Externado de Colombia and an expert in international law, will comment on both reports. The moderator will be Gustavo Gallón, director of the Colombian Commission of Jurists.
June 22, 2012
On June 22, 2012, an attorney from the rapporteurship took part in the "Fifth National Meeting of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists ," organized by the Solidarity Network Decade against Impunity A.C., the Human Rights Program of the Ibero-American University of Mexico City, and the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center. At the meeting, he gave a presentation on the contents of the Second Report, with special emphasis on international protections for human rights defenders.
Washington, D.C., June 13, 2012
On June 13, 2012, the American University Washington College of Law organized a panel entitled "A Look at the Recent Thematic Work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the context of Human Rights Month." This panel was moderated by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, and was made up of three presentations by specialists from the Executive Secretariat who presented three of the thematic reports approved by the IACHR during 2011: The Death Penalty in the Inter-American System of Human Rights: From Restrictions to Abolition; Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas; and the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas.
Bajo Aguan, May 28 to 30, 2012
From May 28 to 30, 2012, staff from the IACHR Executive Secretariat participated in the public hearing and the international academic seminar on "The Situation of Human Rights Defenders of the Peasant Communities of Bajo Aguan," which took place in Tocoa, Colon, Honduras. The IACHR human rights specialists assisted to the public hearing and made presentations on the inter-American human rights system and on the precautionary measures mechanism.
On May 22, 2012, Commissioner Orozco presented the Second Report in Mexico City, at the Institute for Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). On that same day, an attorney in the Rapporteurship and a female attorney in the IACHR's Court Group held a workshop on mechanisms for protecting human rights defenders. Participating in it were several civil society organizations and human rights defenders from various parts of the country.
Guatemala City, May 5 and 6, 2012
On May 17 and 18, 2012, the Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, accompanied by an attorney from the rapporteurship, took part in the Forum "Challenges in Protecting Human Rights Defenders in Middle America," organized in Guatemala City, Guatemala by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala, Protection International, the Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit in Guatemala (UDEFEGUA), and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). In connection with that presentation, Rapporteur Orozco explained the mechanisms for protecting defenders provided by the inter-American system and then formally presented in Guatemala the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas.
March 6, 2012
The Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas was presented March 6, 2012, in Geneva, in the context of the sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco, and the IACHR Executive Secretary, Santiago A. Canton, were in charge of the presentation in a seminar with the participation of the UN Rapporteur on this issue, Margaret Sekaggya. The seminar was organized by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR).
The Report presents updated information on the situation of defenders in the region and on the applicable standards of international law. Moreover, it provides a follow-up to the first report, published by the IACHR on March 7, 2006.
December 7, 2011
On December 7, 2011, the Rapporteurship held a workshop for the staff at the Public Defender's Office of Argentina on the Inter-American System's mechanisms of the protection of human rights defenders. Among the participants of the workshop were Stella Maris Martinez, Public Defender of the Nation, and José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Rapporteur of human Rights Defenders of the IACHR.
December 5 and 6, 2011
On December 5-6, 2011, the IACHR Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, and the Executive Secretary, Santiago Canton, participated in the “Meeting of Human Rights Defenders in Latin America ”. The meeting was organized by the Center for Legal and Social Studies (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, CELS) at the University of Buenos Aires' Law School, in Argentina.
Representatives of human rights organizations from 14 countries of the Hemisphere attended the meeting and exchanged ideas and points of view on the challenges that human rights defenders face in their activity. Also, human rights defenders discussed proposals on strategies to promote and protect their rights. In this context, the Rapporteur shared with the attendants the preliminary conclusions of the "Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas".
A lawyer from the Rapporteurship, Angelita Baeyens, participated in a workshop on the criminalization of the activities of human rights defenders in Latin America, which took place on April 28, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The workshop was organized by several non governmental organizations, such as the Observatory of Human Rights Defenders of the OMCT and FIDH, Peace Brigades International, Copenhagen Initiative for Central America and Mexico –CIFCA-, CIDSE and FIAN.
On April 13, 2011, the Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, and two lawyers of the Rapporteurship, Angelita Baeyens and Jorge Meza, met with representatives from civil society organizations and human rights defenders of Mexico in an informal meeting to discuss about the activities of the Rapporteurship and the concerns and expectations of human rights defenders in that country. The meeting took place in Mexico D.F.
The Rapporteurship participated in a Seminar on international mechanisms of protection for migrants’ human rights defenders in Mexico. The event took place in Mexico D.F. on April 11 and 12, 2011 and was organized by Project Counselling Service-PCS- and Colectivo Ansur with the financial support of Ford Foundation, Office for Mexico and Central America and ICCO, Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation.
The IACHR Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, participated in the launching of the 2010 updated report on the situation of human rights defenders in Mexico of the Office in Mexico of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which took place on November 24, 2010 in Mexico D.F and was presided by Javier Hernandez Valencia, Representative in Mexico of the High Commissioner.
A specialist attorney from the Unit participated in the International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest, which took place April 19-21, 2009, in the city of Chilpancingo, in Guerrero, Mexico.
Release of the Report on Human Rights Defenders
In 2006, the Unit's activities revolved around disseminating the Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas; to this end, forums, roundtables, and formal and informal presentations were organized in various countries of the region. In El Salvador, the IACHR presented the report to organizations of human rights defenders from various Central American countries and to Salvadoran authorities, as part of the program of activities planned to coincide with a special session of the Inter-American Court in that country. The report was also launched in Guatemala, during a special session of the Commission in that country, and in Peru, during a working visit by the IACHR. The report was also the focus of presentations and programs at such institutions and organizations as American University, the Carter Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Institute. This last event included the participation of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani. The Unit also took part in a roundtable discussion of the report in an event held during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Participants included representatives of some States, a representative of the Council of Europe, and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.
The Unit participated in the "Methodological Seminar for Defining a National Program for Human Rights Defenders," which took place November 28-30, 2005, in the city of Brasilia, Brazil. The purpose of the seminar was to exchange ideas and proposals for policies, strategies, programs, and action plans designed to address the protection needs of human rights defenders in Brazil.
From August 31 to September 2, 2005, the Unit participated in the First Meeting of Central American Human Rights Defenders in the city of Antigua, Guatemala. In addition to receiving information on the needs and complaints of the participating organizations, which represented organizations from eight countries of the region, the Unit gave a workshop on the mechanism of precautionary measures and its importance for the protection of human rights defenders.
On May 25-27, 2005, the Unit participated in the Seminar on Human Rights Defenders in Oslo, Norway, organized by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. During the event, the Unit provided information on the Commission’s work in this area and exchanged views with the United Nations Special Representative on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders of the African Commission, and the Personal Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. This meeting provided an excellent opportunity for coordination and the exchange of information with the three institutions.