Press Release

IACHR Wraps Up its 152nd Special Session

August 15, 2014

Mexico City - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held its 152nd special session in Mexico City on August 11-15, 2014, at the invitation of the State of Mexico. During these sessions, the IACHR held various meetings with high-level Mexican authorities and civil society organizations. It also held seven public hearings on the general human rights situation in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

More than 60 civil society organizations from those countries and representatives of each of those States participated in the hearings, which were well-attended by the public at the Palacio de Minería of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and were followed via webcast by thousands of people throughout the region. The Inter-American Commission thanks the States and civil society for their active participation in all the hearings.

In the hearing on the general human rights situation in Belize, the participating civil society organizations identified good practices such as government campaigns to raise awareness about human rights as well as strategies adopted in conjunction with other Central American governments to address the situation of migrant persons. They also identified obstacles to the exercise of human rights, such as certain measures by the authorities that allegedly do not allow migrant workers to unionize; the requirement that migrants get tested for HIV; and the lack of awareness among the population of the rights of LGBTI persons, migrants, and women. Participants also discussed the situation of the Maya peoples in Belize, due to the granting of concessions to companies that exploit the natural resources in Maya ancestral territories. The representative of Alianza Maya talked about the importance of respecting the right of indigenous peoples to prior consultation concerning any project developed on their lands.

In the hearing on Belize, the organizations also discussed their concern over the fact that there is still legislation in place criminalizing consensual sexual relations between same-sex adults in Belize. These laws are unacceptable, even when they do not lead to criminal prosecutions. The participants also raised concerns with respect to immigration legislation in Belize prohibiting certain people from entering the country based on their sexual orientation. Specifically, the law expressly bans entry to “any prostitute or homosexual or any person who may be living on or receiving or may have been living on or receiving the proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior.” The Commission expresses its deep concern regarding the prohibition on the entry of persons into Belize based on their sexual orientation and reiterates that the State needs to take measures to fully protect the rights of LGBTI migrants.       

For its part, the State of Belize said that it is implementing programs to address poverty, despite its limited economic resources. It added that there are programs that provide universal access to medications to combat HIV/AIDS, as well as special programs to protect children who have been orphaned by AIDS and to prevent prenatal infection. The State representatives also mentioned public policies that seek to eliminate discrimination and stigma for persons living with HIV. The State also said that it grants permission at no cost to migrant persons in rural and urban areas so that they can have access to health and primary education, and that it conducts ongoing training for State agents on the rights of refugees.

The Commission recognized the dialogue between civil society and the State of Belize, as well as the country’s economic challenges, but clarified that these should not take precedence over the protection of people’s rights, particularly the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. Among the pending issues to be resolved by the State, the IACHR referred to the situation of indigenous peoples and their lands. In particular, the Commission expresses its deep concern over the State of Belize’s failure to comply with the recommendations contained in its report on the merits in the case of the “Maya Indigenous Communities of the Toledo District,” published by the IACHR in 2004. As the IACHR indicated in its 2013 annual report, contrary to the recommendations in the Commission’s report on the merits, the State of Belize allows oil development and illegal logging in Maya territory without the free, prior, and informed consent of the Maya peoples with regard to the use of the lands they own. Moreover, the authorities, without consultation or consent, are building a paved road that goes through many Maya villages and will extend to the Belize-Guatemala border. Given the implementation of these projects in Maya lands and territories without the State having complied with its obligation to obtain free, prior, and informed consent from the indigenous peoples affected, in 2013 the IACHR asked the State for information, which was not provided. The Inter-American Commission rejects the State’s failure to respond, as well as the fact that on two occasions in which the IACHR convened working meetings on compliance with these recommendations, the authorities have asked that the meetings be cancelled. The Inter-American Commission emphatically reiterates that the State of Belize must comply immediately with the recommendations in this report.

In the hearing on Belize, the Commissioners also referred to the need to adopt measures to protect the rights of migrant persons and prevent them from being criminalized, as well as to respond to the grave situation of unaccompanied children. Another matter the IACHR considers unfinished business for the State of Belize is the lack of protection for LGBTI persons, especially with regard to their labor rights, through the real implementation of inclusive public policies.

In the hearing on the general human rights situation in Costa Rica, the participating organizations pointed to a series of problems related to migrant workers in that country. Among the problems they mentioned are unacceptable work conditions, abuses by employers, and difficulties in demanding labor rights and social security benefits connected to their work. They noted that the authorities in charge of labor and social security are aware of the problems and said the situation has not been adequately addressed, nor have proper oversight mechanisms been implemented. They also mentioned that recent legislation on migration and aliens imposes certain limits on the possibility of foreigners regularizing their status.

Another issue addressed by the organizations and by Costa Rica’s Public Defender’s Office was the serious overcrowding in correctional facilities across the country. Specifically, they talked about the radical increase in overcrowding in prisons, which rose from 0 to 40 percent in the last decade. On this point, they identified as structural causes the increase in life sentences, the indiscriminate use of pretrial detention, longer sentences for crimes, and the lack of extensive sentencing options for alternatives to incarceration. The organizations referred in particular to the situation of incarcerated adolescents and young adults who reportedly have to contend with a series of abuses and acts of violence. They also stated that deprivation of liberty is not imposed as an exception or as a mechanism of last resort in accordance with international standards.

For its part, the State of Costa Rica underscored and reaffirmed its commitment to human rights, referring to its Constitution and the international human rights instruments it has ratified. It noted that it has an institutional framework to address human rights problems comprehensively. The State focused on the importance of comprehensively addressing racism, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination, recognizing that it is not enough to merely prohibit discrimination. The State also made reference to the migration flow in Costa Rica and indicated that the 2010 migration law seeks to regulate the situation. The State recognized that this is one of the biggest challenges it is facing. It also recognized that prison overcrowding is an enormous problem. With respect to the situation of adolescents deprived of liberty, the State expressed its willingness to receive recommendations from the IACHR to strengthen its juvenile justice system.

The IACHR expressed concern over several of the issues mentioned in the hearing on Costa Rica. In that regard, the Commission requested more information on the migration issue and the effects of the recent legislation on migration and aliens; on studies done by State authorities on prison overcrowding and its effects; on the juvenile criminal justice system; and on the lack of a preventive approach that addresses the causes of these problems. Among other aspects, the State pledged to provide the Commission with the studies on overcrowding, as well as to inform the IACHR on the status of compliance with the recommendations issued by the Commission in its thematic reports on the rights of persons deprived of liberty and the initiatives that address prevention of crimes committed by adolescents.

In the hearing on the human rights situation in El Salvador, the participating organizations indicated that the General Amnesty Law currently in effect continues to stand in the way of prosecuting grave human rights violations committed during the armed conflict. They also indicated that prison reforms and public policies on citizen security have not been accompanied by an adequate institutional strengthening of the justice system, and that the police force, the public prosecutor’s office, and the judiciary continue to have serious structural deficiencies. Also with regard to the justice sector, the organizations emphasized the need to adopt a legal framework to ensure that the processes for selecting high-court judges meet international standards.

With respect to the human rights of LGBTI persons in El Salvador, the organizations reported that individuals who belong to these groups continue to be targets of serious acts of violence perpetrated by common criminals, which they categorized as hate crimes, and that the vast majority of such acts go unpunished due to the lack of mechanisms to ensure access to justice by victims and the unwillingness of the competent authorities to investigate these crimes. They also informed the IACHR about hurdles and discriminatory treatment faced by LGBTI persons in accessing public health services, and particularly the harassment and psychological pressure which young people who belong to these groups are subject to in the public education system.

With respect to the current humanitarian crisis generated by the migration of thousands of Central American children toward the United States, the Commission was informed in the hearing on El Salvador that between October 2013 and July 2014 a total of 61,581 Central American children and adolescents were apprehended in the United States, of which 14,591 were reportedly Salvadorans. In this context, it was indicated that at least 5,411 Salvadoran children and adolescents had been deported from Mexico and the United States in 2012, 2013, and so far in 2014. The participants pointed to the need to take a multi-causal approach to the problem that emphasizes the causes driving these children to migrate. They also talked about the need to take steps toward providing international protection along the way and at the destination of child migrants, through bilateral and regional agreements that also ensure family reunification without risk. In addition to that, the participants talked about the need to implement public policies designed to help those children who are deported back to El Salvador.

On another matter, the Commission was informed that the absolute criminalization of abortion in El Salvador leads to double discrimination in practice, inasmuch as the prosecution of this crime is directed specifically toward women who suffer other conditions of vulnerability, specifically young poor women. Between 2000 and 2011, 68 women reportedly were criminally prosecuted for this crime. The majority of these women were said to have been turned in by staff at public health services. Meanwhile, more than 35,000 unsafe abortions are said to be performed per year.

On the right to freedom of expression, the participants expressed their concern over the State of El Salvador’s failure to take positive steps to ensure diversity in the broadcasting spectrum and to eliminate existing barriers that are said to impede the right of all people and groups in society to exercise freedom of expression, freely and without discrimination.

For its part, the State of El Salvador underscored and reaffirmed its commitment to human rights and informed the Commission of some of the initiatives it has taken as regards the human rights of LGBTI persons. These include the executive branch’s issuance of a decree of inclusion and labor equality, as well as affirmative action measures so that LGBTI persons can participate as electoral observers during elections. The State also expressed a commitment to create opportunities for dialogue with defenders of reproductive rights in order to reach agreement on pertinent measures in light of the allegations of harassment against them. The State also reiterated its commitment to comply with the judgments of the Inter-American Court with regard to crimes committed during the armed conflict, particularly the judgment related to the Massacre of El Mozote. The State delegation also listed a series of human rights initiatives it said are being advanced in various spheres.

During the hearing on El Salvador, the members of the Commission emphasized the need to sign bilateral or regional cooperation agreements to offer comprehensive care for migrant children, including those children and adolescents who seek family reunification and those fleeing violence, as well as those who are deported. The Commission reminds the State of the need to ensure that the rights of children and adolescents are respected through the National System for Protection and Promotion of their rights to a life free of violence, without being forced to migrate. The Commissioners also noted the importance of establishing mechanisms to appoint and evaluate high-court judges and the need for the State to adopt general public policies to protect and include on an equal basis LGBTI persons, groups, and communities, beyond any isolated initiatives that may have been carried out in this area. Moreover, the Commission urged the State to repeal the absolute ban on abortion, in order to protect women’s physical integrity and health.

In the hearing on the general human rights situation in Guatemala, the organizations discussed a series of factors they said continue to keep different sectors of Guatemalan society from exercising their human rights. They indicated that from January to July of this year there had been 691 attacks on human rights defenders, and indicated that this figure is similar to the number of attacks reported in all of 2013. They added that this includes the use of force in peaceful social protests of indigenous and campesino communities. They reported on instances in which the State had called into question the work of foreign human rights defenders.

The participants also expressed their concern about the existence in Guatemala of discourse that stigmatizes the work of human rights defenders and media workers; the increase in cases brought against members of the media who are critical; and the need to create a mechanism, in line with international standards, to protect human rights defenders and media workers. According to information provided by organizations at the hearing, the Office for Analysis of Attacks on Human Rights Defenders is not fulfilling its duties in the area of prevention, but is only reacting to situations, and cases are being archived by the Prosecutor’s Office in charge of investigating crimes against human rights defenders.

The participants indicated that people in Guatemala who are LBGTI or perceived as such are subject to attacks and acts of harassment, including searches of the premises of their organizations. Moreover, a law recognizing trans persons’ right to identity has not been approved.

In addition, participants in the hearing on Guatemala mentioned the need to comply with the right of indigenous peoples to prior consultation in a context in which their territorial rights are being affected by megaprojects. They also referred to the phenomenon of forced migration of children and the structural problems that lead to it. In terms of the judiciary, the participants pointed to a lack of guaranteed stability beyond low-level authorities, as well as discretionary selection processes. Finally, they expressed concern over the impunity stemming from the de facto enforcement of the National Reconciliation Law and the resulting paralysis of investigations into grave human rights violations perpetrated during the conflict.

For its part, the State of Guatemala emphasized its efforts against discrimination and referred to its ratification of most of the international human rights instruments, as well as its accession to the Statute of the International Criminal Court. It indicated that it respects the work of human rights defenders and has proper procedures in place for the selection of justice sector operators. In terms of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples, the State said that the interests at stake must be weighed. As to the situation of LGBTI persons, it indicated that it had created a technical interinstitutional committee to ensure their rights. It said that it is aware of an increase in migration of children bound for the United States and that there should be a shared responsibility to provide acceptable living conditions for migrant children, along with repatriation procedures that are in line with the best interests of the child. It indicated that the Historical Clarification Commission represented a step forward in getting at the truth about the country’s internal armed conflict. In terms of prosecution of cases from the past, the State indicated that the Historical Clarification Commission has the authority to apply amnesty in cases in which it is deemed to be necessary to achieve peace, although it also indicated that this aspect should be determined by the domestic judicial authorities.

The Commission requested information on the measures adopted by the State to comply with the decisions of the Inter-American Commission and Court. It indicated that while reconciliation is essential, it is not possible to exclude the rights of victims to obtain justice. It also expressed its concern over the increase in attacks on journalists and human rights defenders. Regarding the latter, the Commission requested information on measures to protect them and legitimize their work. The Commission stressed the importance of ensuring indigenous peoples’ rights to consultation and to collective ownership of lands, territories, and natural resources, and indicated that these rights should not be viewed as undermining State sovereignty but enhancing democracy. The Commission also requested statistics on child migrants and on efforts being taken through bilateral and regional accords to reunify families, thus avoiding clandestine means. The IACHR also stressed the importance of strengthening policies to benefit the LGBTI population, including a law on trans persons’ right to identity. The IACHR also expressed its concern over meddling that undermines the independence of the judiciary. In the hearing, the Inter-American Commission stressed its continued interest in carrying out a visit to Guatemala, and it invites the State to move ahead on establishing dates for the visit.

In the hearing on the human rights situation in Honduras, the Commission was informed that between November 2013 and June 2014 at least 13,282 children from Honduras were detained on the Southwestern border of the United States and that from January to June of this year 4,557 children were deported back to Honduras, the majority of them from Mexico. This grave humanitarian crisis is directly related to the fact that, according to the figures provided, 45.3 percent of people in Honduras live in extreme poverty; the country’s homicide rate is 79 per 100,000 inhabitants; and in the first five months of this year 440 children and adolescents have been killed as a result of the high levels of violence in their family and community environments. In this regard, the participating organizations recognized that the State had adopted various initiatives and short-term measures, but they stressed the need to adopt comprehensive measures for the medium and long term. Participants also reported a worsening of violence in the Bajo Aguán region and a continuing situation of impunity with regard to most of the cases in which campesinos are killed by armed groups in that area. Meanwhile, it was reported that the rate of violent deaths of women rose from 2.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2005 to 14.6 in 2013, with 636 women killed in 2013 alone. Reports of missing women rose from 91 in 2008 to 347 in 2013. In this context, there is reportedly a 95 percent impunity rate in cases involving sexual violence and killings of women.

In addition, the organizations that participated in the hearing on Honduras indicated that emergency contraceptive methods that had been available to women since 1999 were prohibited following the coup d’état in 2009. The organizations reported that violence against LGBTI persons had worsened since the coup and that at least 157 LGBTI persons had been killed in the 2009-2014 period. These crimes are allegedly not investigated with due diligence, and in some cases the Public Prosecutor’s Office does not even make a record of them. The participants also drew attention to the growing militarization of the State’s various security functions and the use of the military apparatus to cover tasks that are outside its role, such as the civic education of children and youth.

The State of Honduras, for its part, expressed its commitment to its international human rights obligations and mentioned a series of measures and initiatives it has been adopting in recent years. It noted the classification of femicide as a crime in 2013; the creation of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Life; the signing of an interinstitutional agreement for public policies on human rights; the creation of an Interdisciplinary Technical Committee with a mandate to analyze the situation unfolding in the Bajo Aguán region and to provide the necessary input so the President of the Republic can adopt future decisions in that regard; the implementation of several measures to provide assistance to migrant persons; and the creation of the Office of Children and Families.

In the hearing on Honduras, the members of the Inter-American Commission emphasized the need for measures adopted by the State to have a real impact on the situations they are addressing. The Commission also recognized the various measures that have been adopted on the rights of migrant persons in the context of the humanitarian crisis, especially those concerning children and adolescents. The Commission urged the State to avoid the use of cooperation resources to increase militarization or to implement other repressive policies, and urged the State to instead adopt short- and long-term public policies that include a multi-causal approach to this issue, policies designed to counterbalance the real conditions that lead people to migrate. The Commission emphasized that the draft Law to Protect Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Media Workers, and Justice Operators is an important step. It reminded the State that for this mechanism to be effective, the authorities should ensure that proper consultation is carried out with civil society and experts on the issue, and that the law should be in line with international human rights standards on the subject. On a separate matter, the IACHR Chair and Rapporteur on the Rights of Women underscored that it has been widely documented and proved that emergency contraceptives are not abortion methods.
In the hearing on the human rights situation in Nicaragua, the civil society organizations presented information on the existence of State persecution of individuals and groups identified as opposing the government. As examples of this situation, they mentioned attacks in the context of social protests, acts of harassment against human rights defenders, and efforts to delegitimize their work, among other factors.

In terms of freedom of expression in Nicaragua, the participants reported that significant purchases of media outlets had been made by individuals with ties to the government. They also said that mechanisms were being used to influence the editorial stance of media outlets, including stigmatizing speech and the arbitrary assignment of broadcast frequencies and official advertising. They also reported on the hurdles that continue to exist for the exercise of the right to social protest and the effective implementation of the right of access to public information. The petitioners also expressed concern over the concept of indefinite reelection as regards the Presidency of the Republic and the granting of broad powers to the executive branch to issue decrees on aspects that should fall under the jurisdiction of the legislative branch. In short, they indicated that Nicaragua has an institutional crisis and democracy is being negatively affected.

The Nicaraguan civil society organizations referred to other issues such as violence against women and the exploitation of natural resources in violation of the collective rights of indigenous peoples and communities of African descent. Finally, they talked about the prison system. They reported on general problems related to infrastructure and health services that affect detention conditions. Specifically, they reported on the use of holding cells in police facilities for longer-than-established periods, even to the extreme that some convicted individuals end up serving time in them.

For its part, the State of Nicaragua began by saying that it is the second-poorest country in Latin America. It acknowledged several of the difficulties mentioned, particularly as regards the prison issue, about which it indicated that the main limitation is economic in nature. The State referred to the constitutional reform approved in January 2014, in line with constitutional procedures for that purpose, and indicated that the aim is to deepen security and peace. The State placed special emphasis on its efforts to fulfill economic, social, and cultural rights. It specifically pointed to the reduction of poverty and extreme poverty; the reduction of social inequality; and the reduction of childhood malnutrition, maternal mortality, and infant mortality. It talked about progress made in education with a multicultural approach, as well as the decrease in the illiteracy rate. The State referred to the Equality of Rights and Opportunities Law and indicated that combatting discrimination and violence against women is a State policy. The State provided certain information on some of the cases mentioned by the organizations and referred to efforts in the area of security, while acknowledging limitations regarding the institution of the police.

The IACHR expressed concern regarding the information it received on stigmatization and threats directed against human rights defenders in Nicaragua and requested information on measures related to these acts, as well as on the respective investigations. It also asked about the participation of civil society in the selection process for judges. Concerns were also expressed regarding holding cells in police facilities and the entry of civil society organizations into prisons, and information was requested on adolescents deprived of liberty. The Commission mentioned the importance of having the supporting reports cited by the State on the progress made regarding economic, social, and cultural rights, and expressed particular interest in learning about how community policing is currently working and what impact it has on adolescents and youth. Finally, the Commission emphasized the importance of a visit to Nicaragua and the need for an open-door policy, and the Chair of the IACHR indicated that she is interested in conducting a visit to Nicaragua in her capacity as Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons and Rights of Women.

In the hearing on the human rights situation in Panama, the participating organizations referred to various shortcomings that continue to exist in the justice system. In this regard, they reiterated the need for the Judicial Career Law to finally be approved; the draft initiative has been pending discussion in the National Assembly since 2005. As a result of the lack of an adequate legal framework in this area, processes to name, promote, and discipline judges are not properly regulated. This leaves broad room for discretion in the appointment of justice operators, and mechanisms are lacking to ensure the independence of judges, particularly from pressures and interference from those who outrank them. In this context, it is estimated that there are approximately 642 interim judges among a total of more than 1,600 judicial employees. In the last five years, four Attorneys General have been appointed.

The organizations that participated in the hearing on Panama also referred to the lack of diligence in the investigation, prosecution, and punishment of crimes of domestic violence, and the lack of awareness and enforcement by criminal-court judges of the standards in international human rights law pertaining to violence against women. They also referred to excessive delays in judicial proceedings, particularly in the resolution of cases involving constitutional guarantees, such as amparo, habeas corpus, and habeas data cases, which can take three to five years, in some cases, to be decided.

In terms of impunity and the lack of reparations for victims, the participants noted that on June 30 of this year, several weeks before finishing his term, former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli pardoned more than 336 individuals prosecuted for common crimes. These included the police officers accused in the burning deaths of several minors in the fire that took place at the Juvenile Detention Center in Tocumen, an incident to which the IACHR drew attention in its Press Release No. 2/11.

On another matter, the participants reported on alarming levels of contamination in the La Villa River, the main water source for the Azuero Peninsula, due to the actions of private polluters. The pollution in this river affects hundreds of thousands of people who live in the provinces of Herrera and Los Santos, and prompted the government to declare a state of temporary emergency this year.

The State of Panama, for its part, affirmed its commitment before the international human rights organizations and specifically reiterated that there is political will to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee freedom of expression and the human rights of persons deprived of liberty, women, children, LGBTI persons, and indigenous peoples, among other groups the State has a concrete duty to protect. The State likewise pledged to create and make operational the National Preventive Mechanism established by the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). It also informed the Commission that investigations have begun into the contamination of the La Villa River.

The IACHR expressed concern regarding several of the issues raised in the hearing on Panama. These include, in particular, the problems and challenges related to the system for designating, appointing, assigning, and disciplining members of the judiciary, as well as the decrees releasing individuals who were allegedly responsible for human rights violations, giving rise to impunity and leaving the victims defenseless. In this regard, it should be noted that the IACHR has learned through media reports that President Juan Carlos Varela allegedly has revoked the executive decrees that granted these pardons, based on Panamanian law, which allows pardons for political crimes but not for common crimes. The Inter-American Commission hopes that this measure makes it possible to combat impunity and to achieve justice and reparation for the victims of these crimes. 

Furthermore, the Commission underscored that it is important for criminal investigations in cases involving violence against women to be conducted with due diligence, taking into account a gender perspective. It is essential that the judicial authorities in charge of handling these cases are aware of applicable international standards and include them in their decisions. In addition, members of the Inter-American Commission emphasized the need for the State of Panama to investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for the contamination of the La Villa River, as well as to address the situation of the affected population. They also noted the importance of adopting appropriate measures to ensure that crimes of domestic violence are properly investigated and prosecuted and to reduce the aforementioned levels of impunity that are reportedly being seen in these cases. They also indicated the need to avoid patterns of discrimination in criminal prosecutions and in the operations carried out by the police, especially when it comes to young people of African descent in relation to the curfew. Finally, they expressed their concern over information indicating that the expectations for justice of the family members of the victims of the January 9, 2011, fire at the Juvenile Detention Center in Tocumen, in the province of Panama, have not been met; nor has there apparently been progress in terms of the changes the juvenile criminal justice system needs to ensure that events of this nature do not happen again.

The Commission expresses its appreciation to the government of Mexico for its invitation to hold the special session in this country and for its cooperation in planning and carrying out its agenda of activities. The Commission also thanks the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) for its cooperation in the holding of the hearings and an academic seminar on the inter-American human rights system, all of which took place at the university’s Palacio de Minería. The Commission also expresses its appreciation to the participating civil society organizations and to the Mexican people for their cooperation and hospitality.

During the sessions, the IACHR held meetings with the Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong; the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, José Antonio Meade; the Attorney General of the Republic, Jesús Murillo Karam; the President of the Supreme Court of the Nation, Juan N. Silva Meza; the Electoral Court of the Federal Judiciary; the National Commission of High Courts of Justice (CONATRIB); the President of the Leadership Committee of the Senate of the Republic, Raúl Cervantes Andrade; the President of the Human Rights Commission of the Senate, Angélica de la Peña; and the Head of Government of the Federal District, Miguel Angel Mancera, among other government authorities. The Commission also met with the President of the National Human Rights Commission, Raúl Plascencia.

In addition to the meeting with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the delegation met with the Deputy Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo; the Director General of Human Rights and Democracy, Alejandro Alday; the Deputy Director General of Cases, Human Rights, and Democracy, Erasmo Lara Cabrera; the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS, Emilio Rabasa Gamboa; the Alternate Representative of Mexico to the OAS, Pablo Monroy Conesa; Legal Adviser Max Diener; the Director of International Policy on Civil and Political Rights and Democracy, Consuelo Olvera Treviñón; the Deputy Director General of International Human Rights Policy, Roberto de León Huerta; the Adviser Coordinator of the Deputy Secretariat for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Ana Paola Barbos; and the Director of Cases, Luis Jardón Piña.

In terms of the Secretariat of the Interior, in addition to the meeting with the Secretary, the IACHR met with the Deputy Secretary for Human Rights, Lía Limón García, and the Deputy Secretary of Population, Migration, and Religious Matters, Mercedes del Carmen Guillén Vicente.

The full Inter-American Commission met with the President of the Supreme Court, Juan N. Silva Meza, and Ministers Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo, José Fernando Franco González Salas, José Ramón Cossío Díaz, Alberto Pérez Dayán, and Luis María Aguilar Morales.

With regard to the Electoral Court of the Federal Judiciary, the IACHR met with the Presiding Judge, José Alejandro Luna Ramos, and Judges María del Carmen Alanis Figueroa, Flavor Galván Rivera, and Manuel González Oropeza.

Besides meeting with the Attorney General, the Inter-American Commission also met with the Deputy Attorney General for International Affairs, Mariana Benítez; the person in charge of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General on Human Rights, Crime Prevention, and Community Services, Eliana García Laguna; and the person in charge of the Office of the Coordinator of International Affairs and Attachés, Guillermo Fonseca Leal.

In terms of Federal District officials, in addition to the meeting with the Head of Government of the Federal District, the Commission met with the President of the Human Rights Commission of the Legislative Assembly, Cipactli Dinorah Pizano Osorio, and the President of the Human Rights Commission, Perla Gómez Gallardo. The IACHR also met with the President of the High Court of Justice and the Judiciary Council of the Federal District, Edgar Elías Azar.

With respect to UNAM, the IACHR met with the university’s President, José Narro; General Counsel Luis Raúl González Pérez; and former Inter-American Court of Human Rights Judge Sergio García Ramírez.

The IACHR also held a meeting with Inter-American Court Judges Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor and Diego García Sayan.

In addition, the Inter-American Commission held meetings with civil society organizations from Mexico and with individuals who participated on their own. Among other subjects, these meetings covered the human rights situation of women; children; migrant persons; lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex persons; persons of African descent; and persons with disabilities. Other subjects included the situation concerning the right to freedom of expression and economic, social, and cultural rights. The following organizations participated in hearings: Abogados del Pueblo, ACUDDEH, ADIVAC, Aldeas Infantiles SOS México, Alianza Peruana de Cooperación, Almas Cautivas, Amnesty International, ANEP Costa Rica, APIXAC, the Mexico and Central America Chapter of Article 19, Asamblea del Agua, Asesoría Legal en Derechos Humanos, Asesoría Capacitación y Asistencia en Salud, ASILEGAL, Asociación Mundial de Radios Comunitarias, Asociación Nacional de Abogados Democráticos, Asylum Access, BARCA DH-Oaxaca, Casa de los Derechos de los Periodistas, Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, CEDHAPI, CEJIL, Centro Comunitario de Atención al Migrante, Centro DDHH Fray Matías, Centro de DDHH Ceferino Ladrillero, Centro de DDHH Fray Francisco de Vitoria, Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas, Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral, Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios, Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social A.C, Centro para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer, Centro PRODH, Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos Bartolomé Carrasco Briceño, Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos, Clóset de Sor Juana, Coalición Regional contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe, Colectivo de Apoyo a las Personas Migrantes, Colectivo Hombres XX, Colectivo Trata de Personas, Colegio de Periodistas, Comisariado de Bienes Comunales de Jaltepec de Candayoc Mixe, Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal, Comisión Independiente de Derechos Humanos de Morelos, Comisión Mesoamericana de Juristas, Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, Comité Cerezo México, Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos Hasta Encontrarlos, International Committee of the Red Cross, Comunidad Agraria Jaltepec de Candayoc, Comunidades Afectadas por la Construcción de la Presa El Zapotillo, Consorcio Oaxaca, Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad, Contraloría Social Indígena, DECA Equipo Pueblo, Defensa Legal Sur, Democracia y Sexualidad, Disability Rights International, Comité Ciudadano en Defensa de los Naturalizados y Afromexicanos, Eje Sobre Migración, Refugio y Desplazamiento Forzado, Colectivo contra la Tortura y la Impunidad, Equis Justicia para las Mujeres, Foro Jóvenes con Liderazgo, Frente Ciudadano Pro Derechos de Transexuales y Transgénero, Frente Mexicano Pro Derechos Humanos, Fundación Arcoíris por el Respeto a la Diversidad Sexual, Fundación Cambia la Historia, Fundación Diego Lucero, Fundación Internacional Baltasar Garzón, Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, Fundar Centro de Análisis e Investigación, GIRE, Global Workers Justice Alliance, Grupo de Acción por los Derechos Humanos y Justicia Social, Grupo de Información en Reproducción Asistida, Grupo de Monitoreo Independiente de El Salvador, Grupo de Trabajo en Política Migratoria, Help for Progress, Hermanos en el Camino, Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio, Humana Nación, Incide Social, Inclusión y Equidad, Indignación Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, INEDIM, Iniciativa Ciudadana para la Promoción de la Cultura del Diálogo, Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras, Instituto de Desarrollo Humano del DF, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia, Instituto para las Mujeres en Migración, International Detention Coalition, JASS, JUCONI, Letra S Sida Cultura y Vida, Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los DDHH, Misiones Scalabrinianas para Migrantes y Refugiados, Mujer y Medio Ambiente, Mujeres por México en Chihuahua, Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Femicidio, Observatorio Latinoamericano de Regulación Medios y Convergencia, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’Phaa, Organización Sakil Nichim Antsetik, PRECADEM, Prevención Capacitación y Defensa del Migrante, Programa de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Iberoamericana, Programa Universitario de Diversidad e Interculturalidad de la UNAM, Propuesta Cívica, Proyecto de Derechos Económicos Sociales y Culturales, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, Radio Educación, Radio Luvianos, Red Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas, Red de Investigadoras por la Vida y la Libertad de las Mujeres, Red de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos, Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en México, Red por los Derechos de la Infancia de México, Red Solidaria Década contra la Impunidad, representatives of the Álguila Indigenous Community, representatives of the Yaqui Tribe, representatives of the Triqui People, Reverde Ser Colectivo, Revista Amigos, Ririki Intervención Social, Sección 59 SNTE, Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, Servicios de Asesoría para la Paz, Servicios del Pueblo Mixe, Servicios Legales y Derechos Humanos, Sin Fronteras, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, Sociedad Unida, Tamaulipas Diversidad, Tlachinollan, UCIDEBACC, and UFCW Canadá.

During its 152nd special session, the Commission held an academic seminar at the Palacio de Minería on the contributions and challenges of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In addition to the Commissioners, those participating on the panels included UNAM President José Narro Robles; UNAM General Counsel Luis Raúl González Pérez; Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Deputy Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs; Mariclaire Acosta, Director of Freedom House; María Leoba Castañeda Rivas, Director of the UNAM Law School; Sergio García Ramírez, a former judge and former Chairman of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Pilar Noriega García, of the State of Guerrero Truth Commission; Alejandra Nuño, of the  Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres; and Fernando Ríos, of the Red “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos.”

In addition, during this period of sessions, the iACHR continued to study numerous individual petitions and cases that allege violation of human rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights, the american Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and other Inter-American Instruments.
Following is the list of the petitions and cases for which reports of a public nature were approved during this sesión. Once the parties have been notified, these reports will be published in the IACHR website.

Admisibility Reports:

  •  272-05 – Gustavo Javier Alarcón and others, Argentina
  • 1294-05 – Mario Almeida Coelho Filho, Brazil
  • 1018-08 – Ronal Chacón Chavery and Freddy Panales, Costa Rica
  • 639-06 – Marcelo Ramón Aguilera Aguilar, Honduras
  • 140-05 – Inés Yadira Cubero González, Honduras
  • 708-05 – Alejandro Ponce Martínez, Ecuador
  • 95-07 – Julio Casa Nina, Perú

Archive Reports:

  • 12.261 – Phillip Ray Workman, United States
  • 11.483 – Leandro Zelada Méndez, Guatemala
  • 11.311 – Germán Alfredo de León Parajón, Guatemala
  • 12.438 – Pierre Luckner, Haiti
  • 11.802 – Minors detained in Comayagua, Ramón Hernández Berríos and others, Honduras
  • 11.135 – Mario Enrique Ramirez, Honduras
  • 496-01 – Ayari Coromto and others, Venezuela
  • 12.443 – Mauro Acosta Padrón and others, Venezuela
  • 12.040 – Erddys J. Vargas Díaz, Venezuela

The Inter-American Commission holds several regular sessions every year at its headquarters. In addition, the IACHR may hold sessions away from headquarters, at the invitation of the States in question, with the most recent of these held in Guatemala in 2006, Paraguay in 2007, and Argentina in 2009. The IACHR is more than willing to hold sessions away from headquarters, in response to invitations made by Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Those participating in the 152nd special session included the Chair of the IACHR, Tracy Robinson; the First Vice-Chair, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine; the Second Vice-Chair, Felipe González; Commissioners José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Rosa María Ortiz, Paulo Vannuchi, and James Cavallaro; Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria; Assistant Executive Secretary Elizabeth Abi-Mershed; the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero; and other staff members of the IACHR Executive Secretariat.

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 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.

*Note: the information about petitions and cases approved during the 152nd Extraordinary Period of Sessions in Mexico was updated on August 19th, 2014.

*Note 2: on August 20th, 2014, the information about Archive Reports was updated.

No. 86/14