Petitions and Cases
The Office of the Rapporteur provides support in the specialized analysis of petitions presented to the Inter-American Commission regarding alleged violations of the human rights of human rights defenders and of those who have a rol in the justice system (justice operators).
Precautionary and Provisional Measures
In the case of petitions involving grave and urgent situations that violate defenders' human rights or justice operators, the IACHR may ask States to adopt urgent measures to prevent irreparable harm. It may also request information from the State and issue recommendations regarding the situation that was reported.
In addition, in the case of extremely grave and urgent situations, the IACHR may ask the Inter-American Court to order States to adopt provisional measures to prevent irreparable harm.
Currently, around one third of the precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission every year are intended to protect the life and integrity of human rights defenders and justice operators in the region.
The Office of the Rapporteur supports the Commission by preparing studies on the situation of human rights defenders and justice operators and particularly on the obstacles they face in carrying out their work. These studies also aim to help identify and develop international standards for the protection of human rights defenders and justice operators, as well as to provide guidance to the States in terms of appropriate compliance with their international obligations.
Along these lines, in 2006 the IACHR—through the Office of the Rapporteur, and following up on the mandate issued in 2001 by the OAS General Assembly, in Resolution AG/RES.1818 —published its Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas. The report identified the patterns of violations of those who work in the defense of human rights in the region and reaffirmed the legal framework of protection afforded by the inter-American system, which should be applied to the work of men and women engaged in the defense and promotion of human rights. The Commission also proposed to the States measures to legitimate, promote, and protect the work of human rights defenders.
Visits to States
The Office of the Rapporteur, with the prior consent of the State, may carry out visits to the countries of the region. During these visits, the Office of the Rapporteur establishes contacts with government authorities and civil society organizations. These visits enable the IACHR, and specifically the Office of the Rapporteur, to learn more about the problems that affect human rights defenders and justice operators in the region and make recommendations to the States with the aim of ensuring the enjoyment and exercise of human rights.
The Office of the Rapporteur participates in promotional activities related to the protection of defenders' and justice operators' human rights. For example, it participates in seminars, conferences, special meetings, and workshops on the situation of human rights defenders and justice operators, mechanisms for their protection, and the international obligations assumed by the States, among other activities.