Washington, October 9-10, 2018
In conjunction with the George Washington University Law School (GWU), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted the seventh annual CARICOM Training Programme in the Inter-American Human Rights System. The training programme took place on October 9-10, 2018, with a focus on the themes -Friendly Settlements and Follow-up to Recommendations''.
Approximately 11 diplomats and Government officials drawn from CARICOM missions to the OAS and from capitals of CARICOM countries attended the programme. Some of the attending States included: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The program featured former Commissioner Dinah Shelton, who initiated this annual event in 2012. . Offering opening remarks were IACHR President Margarette May Macaulay), Rosa Celorio, Associate Dean for Comparative and International Law (of the GWU), Ambassador Sidney Collie, Permanent Representative of The Commonwealth of the Bahamas to the OAS, and Mario Lopez-Garelli, who brought greetings on behalf of the IACHR Executive Secretary.
This year's programme included a session with representatives of Colombia, Paraguay and CEJIL who all shared their experiences of the Friendly Settlement Procedure and Follow-up to Recommendations.
Generally, this annual seminar is an expression of the IACHR's ongoing commitment to deepen its engagement with CARICOM States, with a view to greater participation by CARICOM States in the Inter American Human Rights System.
Washington, April 19, 2018
NGLCC Global, the international division of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the Organization of American States (OAS) Department of Social Inclusion, and the IACHR LGBTI Rapporteurship signed an agreement to document and analyze discrimination, both social and economic, facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Latin America and the Caribbean. As the IACHR stated in its report, Violence against LGBTI Persons, "the data collection mechanisms in OAS countries are very limited". This then limits the visibility of the issues, limits effective interventions, and often contributes to further human rights abuses. This research will accomplish 3 goals that contribute to an evidence-base and substantive knowledge. First, the team will mine through existing administrative data to see what can be meaningfully analyzed to speak on LGBTI issues. Second, the team will work with civil society and research institutions to develop pertinent indicators for the survey instrument. Third, the team will find governmental counterparts and companies to turn recommendations into policies, and thus utilize data-driven interventions".
The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and the former Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Francisco Eguiguren jointly publish summary of meeting
Peru, June 8 and 9, 2017
The joint document (available here - only in Spanish) presents the main conclusions and recommendations of the "Working Meeting on norms of international law on the human rights of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation and in initial contact in the Amazon and the Gran Chaco: review and proposals for action". This working meeting took place on June 8 and 9, 2017 in Lima, Peru and was jointly organized by the Office for South America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH), the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz ("Special Rapporteur") and the former Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Francisco Eguiguren.
The main objective of the working meeting was to identify progress, good practices, major challenges, potential gaps and emerging issues that should be considered in relation to the implementation of the Guidelines and the IACHR Report. It concludes with a series of general recommendations regarding issues in which States and the different relevant actors of the countries of the region should redouble their efforts, and to which international human rights organizations and the international community should also give particular attention.
Bogotá, February 22, 2017
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) participated in a workshop on promoting and guaranteeing the work of human rights defenders in Colombia, held on February 22, 2017, in Bogotá. The IACHR's intervention was led by the Rapporteur for Colombia and on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez. The holding of the workshop in conjunction with state authorities, civil society, and the Head of the Mission to Support the Peace Process of the Organization of American States is part of the implementation process of the Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Additionally, on February 23, 2017, the IACHR held five working meetings in Bogotá on precautionary measures to improve their implementation and facilitate dialogue.
Montevideo, November 30 to December 2, 2016
On December 2, 2016, the American Commission on Human Rights signed with the Observatory of the Right to Food for Latin America and the Caribbean, a declaration of will for joint work for the promotion and respect of the right to food, in the framework of the VI Meeting of the Observatory of the Right to Food in Latin America and the Caribbean.
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., October 21-22th, 2015
During the 156 Period of Sessions, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted the first workshop on the advantages, tools and operation of its recently launched Individual Petition System Portal (IPSP) to the civil society and Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS). The IPSP is a document transmission tool that provides online access by the State and the petitioner to information on their pending cases before the Commission. The IACHR is the first regional human rights organism in the hemisphere to offer a digital system this relevant providing remote access to petitions and cases. This initiative is part of IACHR's ongoing efforts to create mechanisms that facilitate access to information for persons seeking remedies from the Inter-American human rights system.
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., October 21th, 2015
In an effort of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to promote transparency in the observance of human rights, the Press and Communications Office hosted a technical workshop for civil society on the use of the new statistics tool available on the Commission's website. The Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, said that "this is another mechanism added to the efforts we have been making to promote transparency and accountability." Moreover, civil society distinguished that the new instrument not only serves to analyze the evolution of States on human rights, but also to evaluate the work and efficiency of the Commission.
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., October 21th, 2015
During the 156 Period of Sessions the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presented its new structure to civil society. 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.
Cornell University, October 5, 2015
Commissioner James Cavallaro, Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty and IACHR's lawyer, Sofia Galvan, participated in the "Carceral Worlds and Human Rights Across the Americas" symposium, co-organized by Stanford Human Rights Center and Cornell University. The symposium was held at Cornell University on October 5, 2015. The purpose of this event was to present the main challenges that detainees face in the Americas and to discuss measures that would improve the conditions of detention. The symposium speakers included representatives from the Stanford Human Rights Center; university representatives from Cornell, Bradford, Appalachian State, and Westminster; and representatives from Network and Criminal Justice in Brazil. There was also a workshop discussing experiences about the system of self-government in prisons in the Americas.
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., July 28th, 2015
Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, presented his latest thematic report in the IACHR premises on 28 July. "Endangered: Human Rights and Natural Resources in the Americas" is about the dependence of many countries in the region in the exploitation of natural resources and how this has come to affect the fulfillment of human rights of different communities, particularly of vulnerable groups, such as indigenous populations. The report analyzes the ways in which the right to free association facilitates and promotes respect for the rights of victims and raises awareness of the problem.
IACHR Headquarters, Washington, D.C., July 22, 2015
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched its Individual Petition System Portal (IPSP), making the IACHR the first regional human rights body to offer a digital system that provides remote access to petitions and cases. This launch is part of IACHR’s ongoing efforts to create mechanisms that facilitate access to information for persons seeking remedies from the Inter-American human rights system. In this regard, the IACHR Chair, Commissioner Rose Marie Belle Antoine expressed that "this is a major step forward in the use of new technologies to enable all users of the Inter-American human rights system to exercise the right of access to information."
Visite de John Knox
Siège de la CIDH, Washington, DC, le 23 Mars, 2015
John Knox, le premier expert indépendant pour les droits de l'homme des Nations Unies et de l'environnement, a rencontré la Commission le lundi 23 Mars. M. Knox a tenu une réunion très productive avec la Commission, y compris l'échange de questions clés au sein de son mandat en matière d'obligations des droits humains liées à la jouissance de l'environnement sécuritaire, propre, sain et durable et des normes développées au cours de son mandat et les plans de travail futurs. La Commission se félicite de cette information importante, et souligne l'importance de renforcer la collaboration avec le système des Nations Unies, en particulier sur cette question si importante.
Visite du Comité Arabe des droits humains
Siège de la CIDH, Washington, DC, le 20 Mars, 2015
La Commission a reçu le Comité Arabe des droits de l'homme du mardi 17 Mars au vendredi 20 Mars, le comité et la Commission se sont rencontrés le mercredi 22 Mars, et elle a échangé leurs expériences et points de vue concernant les questions régionales et universelles des droits humains. Le Comité a tenu plusieurs réunions avec les équipes juridiques du Secrétariat au cours de laquelle des expériences différentes et des lois ont été discutés. Le Comité a également assisté à plusieurs audiences publiques cette semaine, et il a été un observateur à la réunion de la Commission avec la société civile. La délégation du Comité Arabe des droits humains a été dirigée par le Dr Hadi Ali M. Alyami, le Président, du Royaume d'Arabie saoudite. La délégation était composée de quatre membres du Comité: Dr Abdelmajid Zaalani, Algérie, vice-président; Midqdad Asem Mohammad Mansour, la Jordanie; Asad NH Palestine Ezzaddin Younis Ahmed Saeed Al-Asbahi, Yémen.
Rencontre avec les organisations de la société civile
Siège de la CIDH, Washington, DC 17 Mars 2015
La Commission interaméricaine a rencontré des organisations des sociétés civiles impliquées dans la 154eme session du mardi 17 Mars. Au cours de cette réunion, la Commission a publié son plan de travail pour 2015 et les principales activités pendant 2014. La Commission a également reçu plusieurs commentaires, opinions et questions d'organisations et elle a eu un dialogue fructueux avec eux. La Commission apprécie la présence de tous les participants et souligne le rôle important que les défenseurs des droits de l'homme ont dans le système américain.
Réunion d'experts sur les enfants dans le système de justice pénale pour adultes des États-Unis
Siège de la CIDH, Washington, DC, 2 et 3 Février 2015
Neuf experts ont assisté à la réunion d'experts sur la situation des enfants dans le système de justice pénale des adultes aux États-Unis, organisé par le Rapporteur sur les droits de l'enfant, dans la préparation du rapport thématique de la Commission sur la question. La réunion était présidée par la commissaire Rosa María Ortiz, Rapporteuse sur les droits de l'enfant, qui a souligné la nécessité de protéger les droits des enfants aux États-Unis grâce à un système complet de protection, soulignant que chaque système de justice adolescent commence par la prévention des violations des droits de l'enfant au sein de la communauté.
Washington D.C., December 2, 2014
The specialist who supports the work of the Rapporteurship for Women participated on December 2, 2014, in the Round Table: Violence against women and sexual and reproductive rights in the Americas: Persistent advances and challenges, organized jointly by the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), the Permanent Observer Mission of France to the OAS and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, DC. The specialist offered the presentation: "Sexual and Reproductive Rights in the Americas: A Hemispheric Look". The event was attended by Ambassador Jean-Claude Nolla, Permanent Observer of France to the OAS; Carmen Moreno, Executive Secretary of the CIM; Marissa Billowitz, Associate Director of Programs, International Planned Parenthood Federation / Western Hemisphere (IPPF / WHR); Diana González Perrett, Expert from Uruguay, Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism of the Convention of Belém do Pará (MECECVI); Alessandra Guedes, Regional Advisor, Family Violence, PAHO / WHO; Paula Ávila, Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean, Center for Reproductive Rights; Vlado Mirosevic Verdugo, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies, Chile; Dinys Luciano, Director, Development Connections; and Tazeen Hasan, Legal Specialist, Gender Unit, World Bank.
IACHR Headquarters, October 30
On October 30, 2014, under the 153 Period of Regular Sessions, the IACHR officially launched the Report on the Impact of Friendly Settlement Procedure. The presentation of the report was led by the Chair of the Commission, Tracy Robinson, who noted that the document contains "information on how dialogue between petitioners, victims and States can materialize into creative, expeditious and flexible arrangements that finalize a dispute for human rights violations." Similarly, the chair reiterated the priority given by the Commission to the mechanism and stated that the "main objective is to improve the mechanism, to promote the expeditious access to justice for the victims of human rights violations through the use of an alternative mechanism based on the negotiation, and the good faith and the free will of the parties."
The event was attended by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Emilio Alvarez Icaza; the Ambassador Permanent Observer of Spain before the OAS, Jorge Hevia Sierra; the Director of the Human Rights International Litigation Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, Javier Salgado; the Director General of International Litigation on Human Rights of the Foreign Ministry of Mexico, Luis Manuel Piña Jardón; the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Viviana Kirsticevic; and the Director of the International Work Team of the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Gabriela Kletzel. The panelists acknowledged the great importance of the use of the friendly settlement mechanism for the non-adversarial resolution of petitions and cases of human rights violations brought before the Inter-American Human Rights System. They also noted the impact of friendly solutions in the particular situations of the victims as well as the collective and symbolic dimension for society, highlighting that it is important that the agreements established not only what is doable and possible at the internal level of the State negotiator, but also what is right. Similarly, the challenges were pointed out and it was urged to the Commission to use more strategically mechanisms at its disposal.
This report is the result of the systematization of the remedies catalog adopted through friendly settlements and is divided into two sections that refer to the evolution of the mechanism and the impact of the implementation of the friendly settlement agreements. In that sense, this document is intended as a reference guide to facilitate future negotiations between the parties. Given the nature of the negotiations, this instrument will be updated with new good practices regarding friendly settlements created between States and petitioners aimed to repair violations of human rights and prevent the repetition of such acts. To this end, the Commission reaffirmed during the launch, its willingness to be available to users of the Inter-American system as a facilitator of these future negotiations.
"Ethically, we must promote agreements that are freely chosen that serve the interests of justice - especially for victims - and that are sincerely and properly implemented," added Chair Robinson.
October 28, 2014
On October 28, 2014, the United Nations Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Commissioner, President and Rapporteur on Women's Rights Tracy Robinson also organized a private meeting with twenty representatives of civil society organizations to discuss their perspectives on priority issues regarding women's rights in the Americas. In particular, the participants discussed normative gaps in the field of international human rights law related to violence against women and priorities regarding international and regional treaties that address this issue.
IACHR Headquarters, October 28
On October 28, 2014, the Commission presented the Prototype for the Individual Petition System Portal. The Chair, Tracy Robinson, who was in charge of the presentation, said that this Portal will allow users of the Inter-American system to remotely access to the files of their petitions, cases and precautionary measures. The launch of the Portal is expected to take place in 2015. The Chair explained that parties can check digital case files of the matters before the IACHR, as well as send in and receive from the IACHR documents, letters and audiovisual materials in electronic format, avoiding the cost of shipments by physical mail. Commissioner Robinson also noted that the site will have the advantage of providing greater transparency in the processing and transmission of documents of petitions, cases and precautionary measures, since the parties have immediate access to information.
The Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, said that the Portal will be a safe system for all users since "it has been taken into account the need to safeguard sensitive information in the custody of the Commission, for which guidelines have been developed for information access and processing of private and confidential information." In addition, the Executive Secretary invited petitioners and Member States of the Commission to be part of the Individual Petition System Portal since "the process of petitions and cases would be faster and efficient, and would reduce costs and environmental damage." The Executive Secretary thanked the support of the Government of Spain, through which it was able to finance the development of the portal. Ambassador Jorge Hevia, Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, was present at the event.
The main advantages of the portal will be greater transparency and accessibility, as well as increased efficiency and effectiveness of the work of the Commission in the processing of petitions, cases and precautionary measures. The event was also attended by Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, Assistant Executive Secretary of the IACHR; Juan José Goldschtein, Director of the Department of Information and Technology Services (DOITS), DOITS Senior Software Specialist Carolina Franco, and the Head of the Technology and Systems Unit of the Commission, Doris Lamas. Also present were officials of the Missions of Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
IACHR Headquarters, October 27
On October 27, 2014, during the 153 Period of Session, the roundtable "Gender-based Violence and Reparations - A Hemispheric Overview after Twenty Years of the Adoption of the Convention Belém do Pará" was held. The event was jointly organized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The main presentation of the event was conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo. She talked about the challenges of developing legal standards on reparations on violence against women. In particular, she spoke about the need to move towards a perspective of transformative reparations that address the structural roots of violence and aim at improving the situation of women in society. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur stated that "the implementation of states' obligations in reparations is not a reality; it remains grossly underdeveloped." She stressed that "reparations cannot be about returning women into the situation they were found before the individual instance of violence". The UN Rapporteur noted that, in this regard, there is a need for individual measures to be adopted along with "institutional and structural measures of transformation".
On her part, the Chair and Rapporteur on the Rights of Women of the IACHR, Tracy Robinson, offered the welcoming remarks. In her speech, the Chair traced the historical achievement of the Convention of Belém do Pará, which is "the first such Convention in the world to address violence against women and the most ratified human rights convention in the inter-American system". The Rapporteur of the IACHR stated that "violence against women [...] is regrettably an ordinary feature of life throughout the Americas, engrained and endemic." She also indicated that the Commission has noted shortcomings in the conquest of "transformative reparations".
The roundtable also featured the specialized comments of Carmen Moreno, Executive Secretary of the CIM, who stressed the importance of access to justice so that the repairs can be achieved, and of Luz Piedad Caicedo, Research Coordinator of "Corporación Humanas Colombia". The discussion also featured comments from members of the public.
October 20 to 22, 2014
The IACHR carried out a visit to Colorado, United States, from October 20 to 22, 2014, led by the Commissioner Rosa Maria Ortiz, Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, and accompanied by personnel of the Executive Secretary of the IACHR. The objective of the visit was to gather information on the situation of persons under the age of 18 treated as adults in the adult system of criminal justice, as well as the conditions of youth in detention and incarceration facilities.
During the visit, the delegation was received by authorities including the Deputy Legal Counsel of Governor John Hickenlooper, Ben Figa; Public Defender of the State of Colorado, Doug Wilson; Executive Director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, Tom Raynes; and Colorado State Representative Daniel Kagan. The Rapporteur also met with formerly incarcerated youth and families, as well as civil society representatives. Furthermore, the delegation visited confinement facilities for youth convicted as adults to the Youthful Offender System, as well as for youth committed in the juvenile system to the Division of Youth Corrections. Additionally, Commissioner Ortiz presented a lecture and held a public hearing at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.
Washington D.C., October 20 and 21
In conjunction with the Faculty of Law, George Washington University (GWU), the Commission held the third annual training program at the Inter-American Human Rights System for CARICOM (Caribbean Community), on October 20 and 21, 2014. Approximately 11 diplomats and Government officials from the States of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Suriname attended.
Dinah Shelton, former Commissioner and Professor of law at GWU chaired the training program. The IACHR Chair, Tracy Robinson, offered welcoming remarks by videoconference. Also participating were Professor Blake D. Morant, dean of the GWU, and Ambassador Niermala Badrising, Permanent Representative of Suriname to the OAS and Vice Chair of the Permanent Council of the OAS.
Closing remarks were made by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, who announced that a scholarship directed at citizens of CARICOM countries was reactivated during 2014. In this context, the Executive Secretary pledged to continue to consolidate and deepen the existing constructive relationship between the Commission and the member states of CARICOM.
Geneva, October 10, 2014
On October 10, 2014, the Rapporteur also participated in a seminar in Geneva on discrimination against women in the family and cultural life organized by the United Nations Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice .
Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 25, 2014
On September 25, 2014, staff of the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR participated in the seminar "Public defense and monitoring human rights in centers for deprivation of liberty," held in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. This event was organized by the program EUROSOCIAL II, with the cooperation of the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders (AIDEF) and the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson of Argentina. The topics covered in the presentation were focused on (i) the mechanisms for coordination between the IACHR and international and national organizations with a view to increasing the impact and efficacy of the monitoring work in centers for deprivation of liberty; and (ii) the functioning of the IACHR’s system of petitions and cases, with special emphasis on the developments in the case-law related to the rights of persons deprived of liberty.
Canada, September 6
On September 6, 2014, the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the African Canadian Legal Clinic in conjunction with Osgoode Hall Law School, held a forum on the State of African Descendants in Toronto, Canada. The forum, which had a large attendance from the Toronto community, featured a number of speakers and presenters on a range of topics involving the human rights of afro-descendants in Canada, including unemployment and housing, migrant workers, education, child welfare, the experiences of the Somali community, health, policing and criminal justice, and topics of the national agenda. This was the second in a Canadian series on issues of Race and Human Rights, the first being held in Montreal, in November 2013.
Commissioner Rosa-Marie Belle Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and Against Racial Discrimination of the IACHR, addressed the Forum in an opening address. During her speech, the Commissioner presented topics that affect Canadian Afro-Descendants, such as socio-economic exclusion, employment, sources of income, "racialization" of poverty and housing and homelessness, drawing parallels with issues of race discrimination in the Americas. In addition, the Commissioner discussed and drew recommendations on employment equity, poverty reduction, public data collection, juvenile justice, education and housing.
Washington D.C., August 29, 2014
On August 29, 2014, Rapporteur Tracy Robinson and her team participated in a webinar in Washington, DC with civil society organizations working to advance women's rights in the Americas on the challenges and progress in the implementation of the provisions contained in the Convention of Belém do Pará. The event was attended by the following organizations: CEJIL, Center for Reproductive Rights, Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), Amnesty International, IPAS, JASS, PROMSEX, PROMDSR, Collective Women and Health of the Dominican Republic, Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network, Sisma Mujer, and the World Network of Women for Reproductive Rights.
Mexico, August 19, 2014
On August 19, 2014, Rapporteur Tracy Robinson participated as a keynote speaker at the event "Violence against Women in Mexico: Challenges and Pending to Comply with International Obligations on the Matter". This event took place in Mexico and was organized by the organizations CEJIL, Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, AC, Jass, CEDEHM, the Mountain Human Rights Center, and the Human Rights Program of the University of Mexico.
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.
Academic Forum: Contributions and Challenges of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Mexico City, August 15
During the 152nd Extraordinary Period of Sessions, an academic forum was held in the Palacio de Minería about the contributions and challenges of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The panels had the presence, in addition to that of the Commissioners, of UNAM Rector, José Narro Robles, as well as Luis Raúl González Pérez, Attorney General for UNAM, Juan José Gómez Robledo, Undersecretary for Multilateral and Human Rights Affair of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mariclaire Acosta, Freedom House México Director, Sergio García Ramírez, from UNAM's Institute of Juridical Investigations, Fernando Ríos from the "Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos" Network, Alejandro Niño from Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, María Leoba Castañeda Rivas, Director of UNAM's Law Faculty and Pilar Noriega García, from the State of Guerrero's Truth Commission.
Workshop "Building an International Cooperation System for the Civil Protection of Children"
IACHR Headquarters, July 11 and 14
On July 14, the plenary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) received Ignacio Goicoechea, representative for Latin America to the Hage Conference on Private International Law. Also, on July 11, Mr. Goicoechea imparted an informative workshop for the IACHR staff about abduction and retention of children across international boundaries. This activity was organized by the IACHR Rapporteurship on the Rights of the Child, in light of the increasing number of petitions and precautionary measures received by the Commission on this matter.
London, June 18 and 19, 2014
On June 18 and 19, members of the IACHR's Disability Group participated in an experts meeting in London on Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Freedom of Expression and Information, convened by the organization Article 19. The event brought together a group of experts on human rights and disabilities to discuss implementation of state obligations regarding the right of persons with disabilities to freedom of expression, opinion, and information. This meeting drew participants from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Harvard University; and civil society organizations from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Asuncion, June 2, 2014
On June 2, 2014, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Robinson Women participated as a speaker at the event " Contributions to the Selection Process for Members of the Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights " organized by CEJIL and by the International Coalition of Human Rights Organizations of the Americas in Asunción, Paraguay.
May 14, 2014
On May 14, 2014, the third lecture of the series was delivered by prominent author, academic, and race theorist Tanya K. Hernandez, a Professor of Law at Fordham University, New York.
The title of Professor Hernandez's lecture was "Racial Innocence in the Americas: A U.S. - Latin American Comparison". With reference to her recent work, "Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law and the New Civil Rights Response", she explored, and critiqued the notion that Latin American countries have been "racially innocent", compared to the history of Jim Crow segregation of the USA.
In this regard, Professor Hernandez argued that an examination of the role of the state after the abolition of slavery in regulating race through immigration law and customary law disrupts this picture of Latin America as "racially innocent."
Professor Hernandez also offered an assessment of the ways in which contemporary Latin American anti-discrimination laws seek to eradicate the legacy of state-sponsored racism; and further offered insights as to how the examination of the Latin American context may be helpful to the U.S. racial justice movement today, given the growing denial of the existence of racism in the United States.
Presentation of the Report on the Right of boys and girls to a family
Mexico - April 21 to 23
The Rapporteur on the Rights of the child, accompanied by specialist Marisol Blanchard Vera, conducted a visit to Mexico from April 21 to 23. The object of the visit was to present the Report on the "Right of girls and boys to a family. Alternative Care. Ending Institutionalization in the Americas", organized by the Senate. The Rapporteur also had meetings with civil society and State officials to gather information on the legislative process that will create the National System of promotion and protection of girls, boys and adolescentents in mexico.
Tha Rapporteur will conduct an official visit to Mexico on the second semester of 2014.
IACHR Headquarters, March 29, 2014
The plenary of the Inter-American Commission, the Executive Secretary, the Assistant Executive Secretary and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression received civil society representatives of the Americas at the IACHR Headquarters, on March 29, 2014. The meeting took place in the context of the 150 Period of Sessions. Its goal was to receive comments and exchange points of view on the work of the Commission and the implementation of its Strategic Plan.
IACHR Headquarters, March 26, 2014
The IACHR officially launched the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas , in the course of the 150th period of sessions of the Inter-American Commission, in Washington, D.C. In the event the Chairperson of the IACHR, Tracy Robinson; the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty James Cavallaro; the Ambassador Jorge Hevia, Permanent Observer of Spain before the OAS; Nataly Ponce, Coordinator of the Regional Network of Pretrial Justice in Latin America; and Robert Varenik, Program Director of Open Society/Justice Initiative participated as panelists. The Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Alvarez Icaza participated as moderator.
The Report analyzes the general situation on the use of pretrial detention in the region, identifies common challenges, presents official information, reiterates the main international standards on the matter and advances in the development of new standards. The Inter-American Commission stresses that pretrial detention must be the exception, and it should only be applied with the aim of ensuring the proper conduction of the process. Furthermore, it lays out a number of recommendations aimed to assist the States on their compliance with the international standards in the matter.
Mexico, March 10
The newly appointed Rapporteur on Persons Deprived of Liberty, James L. Cavallaro conducted a series of activities in México in order to promote the Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas, which included meetings with representatives of civil society organizations and other stakeholders, as well as a formal launching of the Report in the Senate of the Republic of Mexico. These activities were co-sponsored by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and OpenSociety/Justice Initiative.
Washington, D.C.,USA, February 19, 2014
On February 19, 2014, Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, IACHR's Second Vice-President and Country Rapporteur for the Dominican Republic addressed the Permanent Council of the OAS at the request of several Member States to present the Preliminary Observations of the IACHR's December 2013 visit to the Dominican Republic.
Bogotá, Colombia, December 2
On December 2, the Rapporteur delivered a conference about the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas at the University of St. Thomas, in Bogotá, in the course of an International Congress on the creation of a committee for the prevention of torture in the Americas.
November 22-23, 2013
On November 22 to 23, 2013, the IACHR, in conjunction with the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory, Faculty of Law at McGill University, held a Special Forum on Race, Discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America .
The forum took place at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
The forum featured a number of speakers and presenters on a range of topics including race and the criminal justice system, discrimination against indigenous peoples in North America, race and discrimination in matters of health, housing and education, race discrimination in the workplace, and race and religious accommodation in the workplace.
Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent (and at the time Commissioner in charge of the Economic Social and Cultural Rights Unit) keynote speech under the title "Setting the stage - an overview of race, discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America", while Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, (then IACHR Chair) delivered some opening remarks.
New York, USA, October 22
On October 22, the staff of the Rapporteurship participated at the side event Reviewing the Standards Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners - Preventing Torture and ill-treatment?, organized by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in the frame of the 68th period of sessions of the General Assembly of the UN, in New York. The goal of this event was to provide an opportunity to draw attention to the on-going review process and to discuss the recommendations rendered by the Special Rapporteur in his recent report (A/68/295), delivered specifically for this process. Also participated in this panel discussion: Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT); Claudio Grossman, Chair of the Committee Against Torture (CAT); Andrea Huber, Policy Director of Penal Reform International (PRI); Jamil Dakwar, Director Director of the Human Rights Program of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); y Yuval Ginbar, Asesor Legal Advisor of Amnesty International (AI).
IACHR Headquarters, October 21-22, 2013
In conjunction with the George Washington University Law School (GWU), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted the second annual CARICOM Training Programme in the Inter-American Human Rights System. The training programme took place on October 21-22, 2013, with the first day at the GWU, and the second at the OAS General Secretariat Building, site of the Commission's headquarters.
Approximately 20 diplomats and Government officials drawn from CARICOM missions to the OAS and from capitals of CARICOM countries attended the programme. Some of the attending States included: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and Suriname. Commissioner Dinah Shelton, country rapporteur for CARICOM States, presided over the training programme. Offering opening remarks were interim Dean of the GWU, Prof. Greg Maggs, and Ambassador Jacinth Henry-Martin of St. Kitts-Nevis.
After a general overview of the Inter American Human Rights System, the agenda included specific areas such as the petition system, precautionary measures, country monitoring, Rapporteurships, litigation before the Inter American Court of Human Rights, and recent changes to the Commission's Rules of Procedure. Closing remarks were offered by IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, who emphasized that the annual training programme is part of larger thrust by the IACHR to deepen institutional relations with CARICOM States. In this sense, Commissioner Shelton reminded participants that the Buergenthal Fellowship will commence in 2014. This fellowship will be dedicated to CARICOM nationals to undertake the LL.M programme at the GWU.
Dominican Republic, October 2013
Commissioner Tracy Robinson, who is in charge of the Unit on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, and Intersex Persons (LGTBI), participated as a presenter on a panel on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Human Rights Law. The event was part of a parliamentary conference on "Protecting Human Rights, Combating Discrimination, and Addressing HIV/AIDS of Persons with Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities." The seminar, which took place October 9-11, 2013, was organized jointly by the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic and the organization Parliamentarians for Global Action.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, September 25
On September 25, a specialist from the Rapporteurship participated in the Expert Meeting on "Standards for the Design and/or Strengthening of a National Registry System for Detained Persons" in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This event was organized by the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Human Rights Center "Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez" (Centro Prodh) and the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH). Also participating were representatives from the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Working Group of the United Nations on Arbitrary Detentions, and other experts on this field.
IACHR Headquarters, September 12-13, 2013
More than 15 experts of 12 nationalities attended the meeting of Experts on Education, Culture and LGTBI Persons, organized by the IACHR LGTBI Unit and co-sponsored by UNAIDS. The meeting was conducted by the Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, who underscored the role of education as a strategic tool that makes it possible to combat and eliminate prejudice, stereotypes, and false conceptions with regard to people with diverse sexual orientations or gender identities. She also stressed the need to move towards full recognition of the rights of LGTBI persons, emphasizing the need to depathologize diverse forms of sexuality and identity. For its part, the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, highlighted the work done by the LGTBI Unit since its installation on February 2012.
The meeting included discussion and debate on issues such as education in human rights and gender; bullying at school based on real or perceived sexual orientation or on gender identity or gender expression; the right to comprehensive sex education; the access to education for trans persons, strategies for raising awareness of key players in the field of education; and the influence of the media, marketing techniques, religious groups, and cultural patterns of discrimination, segregation, and prejudice against LGTBI persons. Participants also analyzed the relation between discrimination and violence against LGTBI persons and heteronormativity, gender binarism and misogyny. Furthermore, the situation of violence against children and adolescents in the educational setting, its causes and consequences, was widely debated.
On September 10, the Rapporteur participated in the forum: "Prison, Pressure and Process: The Judicial Independence and its Impact on Pre-trial Detention ", sponsored by Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF). In this event, the DPLF officially launched a recently finished study on the situation of the judicial independence in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. More detailed information about the event and the full text of the report in Spanish are available at here .
From August 14 to 16 the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Mr. Rodrigo Escobar Gil, participated at the First Working Meeting on the Prevention of Torture in the Southern Cone , sponsored by the Procuración Penitenciaria de la Nacion and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). This event counted with the participation of public authorities, representatives from the civil society and national human rights institutions from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, as well as representatives from international human rights organizations. The meeting provided an opportunity to focus on the main challenges faced by the countries of the region in the prevention of torture, and to explore possible actions and solutions based on the successful experiences shared.
August 1 and 2
On August 1 and 2, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Commissioner Rodrigo Escobar Gil, headed the delegation that visited Tegucigalpa to present the Report on the Situation of Persons Deprived of Liberty in Honduras. The Report was presented to the President of the Republic, Porfirio Lobo; to family members of the victims of the fire at the National Penitentiary of Comayagua; to other high-level State authorities; and to civil society organizations and the people of Honduras, through the media. The report was prepared based on an April 2012 working visit to Honduras by an IACHR delegation led by Rapporteur Escobar Gil, which was carried out with the financial support of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS).
July 17, 2013
The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is holding a lecture series with the theme Transforming the Invisible into the Visible.
On July 17, 2013, the second lecture of its lecture series was held. The lecture was delivered by the sociologist and race theorist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Professor Bonilla-Silva's choice of title for his conference was El descenso por la madriguera: Racism, New Racism, and the Post-Racial Moment in Obamerica.
Participating in the event were IACHR Chair José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, who offered remarks; the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination, Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, chaired the event; and Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria, who delivered the closing remarks and vote of thanks.
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.
Brazil, June 25-29, 2013
Two attorneys from the Executive Secretariat participated as speakers in the Human Rights Training Course that took place June 25-29, 2013, in the state of Paraíba (Brazil) and was organized by Brazil's Ministry of Justice, the Amnesty Commission, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The seminar was geared toward government officials, federal and state judges, attorneys, prosecutors, and representatives of civil society. The presentations were on "Case Law of the Inter-American Court on Freedom of Expression and Reparations in this Area" and "Case Law of the Inter-American Court on Gender and Reparations in this Area."
June 25, 2013
The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched a lecture series with the theme
Transforming the Invisible into the Visible.
The inaugural lecture was delivered by the renowned cultural anthropologist and filmmaker Sheila Walker. She is Executive Director of Afrodiaspora, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing documentary films and educational materials about the global African diaspora. Participating in the event were the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, who offered opening remarks. The Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination, Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, chaired the event.
The conference took place on June 25, 2013, at the OAS General Secretariat Building, 1889 F St NW, Washington DC, 20006. The event was open to the public.
New York, June 20, 2013
On June 20, 2013, as part of the IV International Forum on Migration and Peace that was organized by the Scalabrini International Migration Network at the New York Law School in Manhattan, New York, United States, Mr. Emilio Alvarez Icaza Longoria, Executive Secretary of the IACHR, gave a presentation entitled "Human Security, Human Development and Human Rights: Trends and Challenges for International Migration Policy from the Perspective of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."
On June 14, the Rapporteur launched in person the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas in the city of Panama, in a ceremony organized by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), which was also attended by Mrs. Carmen Rosa Viila, Regional Representative for Central America of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN, officials from the Government of Panama and representatives of civil society.
Santo Domingo, June 13, 2013
On June 13, 2013, as part of a conference titled "Academic Reflections on a Commitment to a New Model for Handling Migration in the Dominican Republic ," an attorney from the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants gave a presentation on international and inter-American standards on migration and human rights. The event, held at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was coordinated by the Centor Bonó and the UNIBE School of Law and Center for Research and Social Studies. Participants included academics, attorneys, officials from international organizations, representatives of civil society, representatives of the state, and law students.
The conference also included presentations by Frank Báez, of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Agustín González Morel, of CEFINOSA consultants (Consultores Económicos, Financieros y Organizacionales); Irmary Reyes-Santos, Professor, University of Oregon, United States; and Wilfredo Lozano, Center for Research and Social Studies (CIES-UNIBE). Mario Serrano Marte, S.J., of the Centro Bonó, spoke at the closing.
Washington, June 12, 2013
The IACHR Executive Secretary and several specialists from the Executive Secretariat gave presentations on the IACHR, the petition and case system, mechanisms for promotion and protection, precautionary measures, thematic rapporteurships, onsite visits, and litigation before the Court. The presentations were part of the "Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law" organized by American University. The presentation took place June 12, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
Washington, June 11, 2013
On June 11, 2013, an attorney from the Executive Secretariat gave a class on the inter-American human rights system to a group of diplomats at the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute. The class is part of the Foreign Service Institute's Area Studies, Southern Cone.
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 ."
Mexico, May 28, 2013
On May 28, 2013, Álvaro Botero Navarro, an attorney with the IACHR Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, gave a presentation in Mexico City on standards developed in the inter-American human rights system on the exceptional nature of immigrant detention in light of obligations based on personal liberty. His participation took place as part of the presentation of the report "Dignity without exception: alternatives to immigrant detention," prepared by the International Detention Coalition (IDC). The event included remarks by Sin Fronteras IAP; the Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia AC (INSYDE); the Women's Refugee Commission; the State of Mexico Immigration Policy Unit; and by a representative of the national legislature.
IACHR Headquarters, May 23, 2013
On May 23, 2013, at IACHR headquarters, a group of professionals from the IACHR Executive Secretariat gave lectures on the human rights system to participants in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition offered by the American University Washington College of Law.
Mexico, May 15, 2013
On May 15, 2013, an attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated in a videoconference on "Respect for the Human Rights and Labor Rights of Migrants," along with panelists from the OAS Department of Social Development and Employment and a group of students who participated from Mexico City. The event was part of the Course on Social Security in Globalization, held by the Inter-American Center for Social Security Studies.
Argentina, May 9-10, 2013
On May 9, 2013, Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine, the IACHR Executive Secretary, and a specialist attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated in an event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to introduce the IACHR Unit on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ESCR Unit). The event included the participation of experts, civil society representatives, and members of academia, who provided input to help the ESCR Unit build its agenda and set priorities in terms of issues of particular concern to civil society. The event was held in collaboration with the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS). On May 10, 2013, Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine and a specialist attorney from the Executive Secretariat met with high-level officials from the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Labor, as well as with Argentina's Foreign Minister. Commissioner Antoine talked about the work the ESCR Unit has been doing, and the officials she met with expressed their commitment to work with the IACHR in its efforts in the area of economic, social, and cultural rights.
Sucre, May 6-10, 2013
An attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated as a speaker in a seminar on "International Treaty Law," held May 6-10, 2013, in the Bolivian city of Sucre. The event was organized by the Plurinational Constitutional Court of Bolivia and in the Master's Program in "Constitutional Law and Autonomous Plurinational Justice, and International Law and Constitutional Justice" at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. The participation of the IACHR Executive Secretariat came at the invitation of the President of the Plurinational Constitutional Court of Bolivia, Ruddy José Flores Monterrey," as part of the "Project for Strengthening and Increasing the Independence of the Judicial System in Bolivia," funded by the European Union through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner. The purpose of the seminar was to provide updated information to justices and staff of the Plurinational Constitutional Court, as well as authorities and public servants in the judiciary, on various issues of public international law and international human rights law, so that they would have and be able to apply the necessary tools for constitutional oversight when the State ratifies international treaties, as well as when it comes to applying and interpreting treaties on human rights and community law or regional integration law. The presentations were on the following issues: "The Relationship between the European System and the Inter-American System of Human Rights"; "Issues Related to Human Rights Treaties"; and "International Court of Justice: Procedures and Case Law."
Mongolia, April 27-29, 2013
The Inter-American Commission was represented by an attorney with the IACHR Executive Secretariat at the VII Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies , which took place April 27-29, 2013, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The IACHR participant was a special guest at the Civil Society Forum, which was held in the framework of the Ministerial Conference and which included a discussion of the inter-American system's experiences in the areas of freedom of expression and political rights, as well as regarding the work of human rights defenders.
On April 25-26, 2013 a representative from the Rapporteurship participated in a meeting of experts on "Indicators for Measuring the Use of Pre-Trial Detention: What does "exceptional measure" in pre-trial justice mean in the Americas?" This meeting was held in Bogota, Colombia. It was organized by Open Society/Justice Initiative and the Regional Network on Pre-Trial Justice of Latin America. The opening session was offered by a representative of the Rapporteurship, who presented the topic: "Registration of Detainees and Measurement of the Use of Preventive Detention in International Human Rights Law."
Washington, D.C., April 22, 2013
On April 22, 2013, Commissioner Tracy Robinson, Rapporteur of the IACHR for the United States, presented "The Death Penalty in the Inter-American Human Rights System : From Restrictions to Abolition," at the American Bar Association (ABA). This activity was organized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Mission of France to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Ambassador Pierre-Henri Guignard, Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, and Robin Maher, Director of the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, participated in the panel, which was moderated by Denny LeBoeuf, Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. This event was conducted in English.
Connecticut, April 19-20, 2013
On April 19-20, 2013, an attorney from the Executive Secretariat participated in a conference on "The Quest for Global Environmental Equity in an Increasingly Inequitable World," sponsored by the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment at Connecticut College. The conference addressed the issue of environmental injustice, including its causes and possible solutions. It included the participation of professionals from various fields, such as biologists, political scientists, attorneys, and activists from nongovernmental organizations that work to protect the environment. The attorney from the IACHR Executive Secretariat gave a presentation on the environmental damage produced by extractive industries in Latin America, and the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples to their territories.
Washington, D.C., April 16, 2013
On April 16, 2013, the IACHR participated in a conference in Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by the World Organisation Against Torture and the American University Washington College of Law, and titled, "Litigation Before the UN Committee Against Torture: Strengthening This Important Tool Against Torture." An attorney with the IACHR Executive Secretariat gave a presentation on "Perspectives on Torture in the Inter-American Human Rights System."
April 16 - 18, 2013
On April 16, 2013, Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine participated in a workshop in The Bahamas, in the context of the Second Meeting of the Working Groups of the XVII Inter-American Conferences of Ministers of Labor. The workshop was on the theme "The Situation of Vulnerable Groups in the Region as it Relates to their Access to the Labor Market." Commissioner Antoine's presentation was part of a panel discussion. Participants in the workshop included labor ministers, other government officials, and consultative bodies like the International Labor Organizaton (ILO).
April 10-12, 2013
Commissioner Rosa María Ortiz, in her capacity as Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, was invited by UNICEF to conduct a regional consultation on "how to put an end to the placement of children under three years of age in child protection or child care institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean." The Rapporteur also participated in the presentation of the handbook "Moving Forward: Implementing the ';Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.'" The Rapporteur held meetings with authorities, international organizations, and civil society to discuss a range of issues related to the rights of children and adolescents.
Santiago, Chile, April 10 and 11, 2013
The Special Rapporteur on Migrants of the IACHR, the Human Rights Center of the Universidad Diego Portales and Embassy in Chile organized together an international conference entitled "Migration and Human Rights: international standards and practices." It took place on April 10 and 11, 2013 in Santiago, Chile. The meeting brought together lawyers, sociologists, political scientists and members of civil society organizations, and included the participation of a French regional delegation for cooperation with the Southern Cone and Brazil. The purpose of the meeting was to identify and analyze the current scenario of migratory movements in recent times that have seen an increment in Southern Cone countries, and define possible public policies to protect the human rights of migrants.
Gambia, April 7 and 8, 2013
On April 7 and 8, 2013 the Deputy Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, participated in a conference-workshop on approaches, progress and prospects of the different human rights systems on the rights of indigenous peoples in the headquarters of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in Banjul, Gambia. The event was organized by the African Commission and the Working Committee on Indigenous Peoples, organized by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). Among the attendants were the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. James Anaya, and UN Minority Rapporteur, Mr. Gay McDougall. Elizabeth Abi-Mershed spoke about the work of the Commission on the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the jurisprudence of the human rights system in the field.
Gambia, April 5-6, 2013
On April 5-6, 2013, the Coordinator of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Maria Claudia Pulido, participated, along with the Assistant Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, in the Expert Meeting called "The Right to Reparation for Torture: the Role of African Human Rights Mechanisms." This event took place on Kololi, Gambia, and was organized by the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and The REDRESS Trust, in collaboration with other organizations.
March 19, 2013
On March 19, 2013, the Rapporteur moderated a panel discussion to launch a new book by Prof. Robert Cottrol entitled The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere. Robert Cottrol is Professor of Law, of History, and of Sociology; and Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. The launch took place at the George Washington Law School, with the panel including Judith Morrison, Senior Advisor for the Gender and Diversity Unit at the Inter-American Development Bank, and Professor Eric Arensen, of the George Washington University History Department. Prof.Cottrol's work analyzes the interplay of law and race in the Americas, contrasting the experience of the United States with Brazil, as well as seven nations carved from Spain’s American empire: Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The Rapporteur lauded Prof. Cottrol for his substantial work in advancing the historiography of race and law in the Americas, noting that it will serve to broaden and deepen regional discourse in this regard.
On March 15, 2013, in the context of the 147th Period of Sessions of the IACHR, the Rapporteurship officially launched the Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, in the Padilha Vidal Room at the Headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Participants in this panel included Ambassador Andres González Diaz, Chairman of the CAJP of the OAS; Ambassador Guillermo Marin, Deputy Observer from Spain before the OAS; Dr. Veronica Filippeschi Program Officer for the Americas of the Association on the Prevention of Torture (APT); and Commissioner Rodrigo Escobar Gil, Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty of the IACHR. Dr. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, Executive Secretary of the IACHR acted as a moderator of the panel.
February 25, 2013
The IACHR co-organized with the Department of International Affairs of the OAS a Roundtable Discussion under the name "Milestones and Challenges in the Advancement of the Rights of Afro-Descendants in the Americas ." It will take place on February 25, 2013, in the Hall of the Americas of the Main Bulding of the Organization, in Washington, D.C. The topic will be presented by U.S. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Representative of the Fifth Congressional District of New York, United States House of Representatives. The panel discussion, moderated by Ambassador Deborah Mae Lovell, Permanent Representative of Antigua & Barbuda to the OAS, will consist of Francisco Lopez, President of the Bert Corona Leadership Institute; Robert J. Cottrol, Professor of History and Sociology, and Harold Paul green Rsearch Professor of Law at George Washington University; and Zakiya Carr Johnson, Senior Advisor to the Race, Ethnicity and Social Inclusion Unit in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The welcoming remarks will be made by the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, and the closing remarks by the IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza. This event will be Webcast: www.oas.org
Haiti, January 14, 2013
On January 14, 2013, Commissioner Rosa Maria Ortiz participated in the Conference "The Role of the Ombudsman in the Protection of Human Rights", in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During the event, representatives of the OPC, from the defenders of the Peoples of Latin America, from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and mediation experts were invited to share their experiences and best practices, addressing issues such as the protection of children's, migrants', and detainees' rights and the role of the Ombudsman in response to natural disasters, in addressing social conflicts, and the prevention of electoral violence. The conference was attended by 74 representatives of the Government of Haiti, the OPC, civil society, and the international community. Commissioner Ortiz made a presentation entitled "The Inter-American System of Human Rights on the Protection of Children's Rights: Opportunities for Collaboration with the OPC".
December 10-14, 2012
Commissioner Rose Marie Antoine was a distinguished panelist in the Regional Training Course on the "The use of economic, social and cultural rights indicators as a tool for an effective social policy", with took place from December 10th to 14th 2012, in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Course was organized by the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Training Centre of the Spanish Cooperation Agency in Montevideo with support from the Uruguayan Ministry of Social Development, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights.
The course aimed to support the OAS Member States in the monitoring of economic, social and cultural rights instruments at the Inter-American system, as they are key elements of an effective social policy. In particular, the course emphasized the Protocol of San Salvador monitoring process, which is currently underway and States parties to it are to submit reports over the next two years in accordance with Article 19 of the Protocol.
The activities were run by distinguished speakers and lecturers from various international organizations and academic institutions, and the group of participants was composed of government officers from OAS member states with technical responsibilities for coordination of social policies and/or economic, social and cultural rights.
Washington, D.C., October 2012
On October 26, 2012, the Assistant Executive Secretary of the IACHR gave a presentation on "Promoting Human Rights in the Americas" as part of the "OAS Briefing Program for the Foreign Service Institute ," which was attended by 12 Government Representatives.
Argentina, November 2012
On November 27 and 28, 2012, the IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez-Icaza, participated in the International Simposium "Inter-American System of Human Rights: Debates and Challenges," organized by the International Center for Political Studies (CIEP) of the National University of San Martin, in Argentina.
Washington, D.C., October 2012
On October 25, 2012, the coordinator of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples gave a presentation on the rights of indigenous peoples and afro-descendants, as part of a program created by the OAS for the "OAS Briefing Program for the US Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program". The presentation was attended by representatives of Latin American Indigenous and Afro-descendants groups.
Washington, D.C., October 23, 2012
On October 23, 2012, a specialist with the IACHR Executive Secretariat participated in a roundtable organized by the Open Society Foundation to discuss Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , which concerns to the right to live independently and to be included in the community. The IACHR specialist introduced a panel that explored the possibilities of using national, regional, and international human rights mechanisms for the application and interpretation of the right of every person with a disability to be included in the community.
Mexico City, October 2012
On October 18, 2012, the IACHR signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Institutional Cooperation with the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal, CDHDF), Mexico.
Washington, D.C., October 2012
The IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez-Icaza, is a panelist in the roundtable "How much longer until the universal abolition of the death penalty?" The event offers a forum where to reflect on the progress towards abolition of the death penalty in the States that still mantain its application, and the challenges in relationship to its elimination in the Inter-American System. This event was organized by the Secretariat for Juridical Affairs of the OAS and the Permanent Mission of France to the OAS, and was held on October 11, 2012, in the Hall of the Americas, OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.
Washington, D.C., October 2012
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, visited the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on October 10, 2012. In the meeting with the IACHR Executive Secretary, the High Commissioner expressed that the Inter-American Human Rights System is a referent to the world. The High Commissioner and the Executive Secretary exchanges ideas on possible cooperation activities between the two bodies in order to generate sinergies to strengthen the work on human rights.
July 23, 2012
On July 23, 2012, an independent event affiliated with the XIX International AIDS Conference was held. A guided tour of the AIDS Quilt was conducted by the Names Project Foundation. The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza; UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director of Management and External Relations, Jan Beagle; the President of the International Community of Women living with HIV-AIDS, Patricia Pérez; and Commissioner Rosa Marie Antoine.
Mexico City, September 2012
On September 19, 2012, a specialist from the Executive Secretariat gave a talk on "Identifying Human Rights Violations: State Responsibility and Victims," as part of an Interdisciplinary Discussion Seminar on the Right to Reparation for Human Rights Violations. The seminar was organized by the Gender Equity Program in Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice and a State advocacy office for crime victims (Procuraduría Social de Atención a Víctimas de Delito). The main purpose of the event was to inform State officials about the right to reparation in cases involving human rights violations.
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.
Washington, D.C., June 2012
Judge Abdoul Diop of Senegal conducted a professional visit to the IACHR from June 8 to 15, 2012. During that week, judge Diop held meetings with specialists of the Executive Secretariat to get information directly from the Commission on its functioning. In particular, he studied the functioning of the Registry Group, the Protection Group, the Rapporteurships on the Rights of Human Rigths Defenders, Persons Deprived of Liberty and Migrants, the Press Office and several regional sections. In addition, judge Diop conducted a presentation for Executive Secretariat staff on the situation of human rights in Senegal, with special emphasis on the situation of the persons deprived of liberty in that African country, and on the functioning of the National Commission on Human Rights of Senegal. This professional visit was part of the Humphrey Fellowship that judge Abdoul Diop did in the University of Minnesota.
Mexico City, May 11, 2012
The staff of the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR participated in Mexico in the "Itinerant Conference: The impact of constitutional protection and human rights reforms on judicial work , jointly organized by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the Council of the Federal Judiciary, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the National Commission of Superior Courts of Justice, the Mexican Association of "Impartidores de Justicia", and the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights The main objective was to provide the judicial personnel of Mexico with the theoretical and practical tools necessary to exercise the diffuse control of conventionality, in accordance with the highest standards of protection and guarantee of human rights. It was the holding of 35 Discussion and Analysis Tables, where 11 human rights experts from the IACHR participated as exhibitors. The tables were held on May 11, 18, and 25.
IACHR Headquarters, March 2012
On March 5, 2012, a delegation of three judges (Honorable Justices Agustin Ramadhani, Duncan Tambala, and Sylvain Oré), and a senior legal officer (Mr. Gakumba Nzamwita) from the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR), based in Arusha, Tanzania visited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and exchanged information on issues of common interest to both regional systems: evolution and functioning of the two organs, relationship between the Commissions and the Courts in the respective systems, case management and jurisprudence of the systems, among others. The Assistant Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, and several attorneys from the Executive Secretariat made several presentations on the Inter-American human rights system during the exchange.
IACHR Headquarters, February 29, 2012
On February 29, 2012, a delegation of judges from the European Court of Human Rights, led by the President, the Honorable Sir Nicholas Bratza, visited the Inter-American Commission. The objective was to hold an informal exchange with the Commission, in which the President of the IACHR, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco, Commissioner Dinah Shelton, and the Executive Secretary, Santiago Canton participated. The dialogue was focused on matters of common interest, including case management, friendly settlement processes, and the jurisprudence of both regional systems.
Lima, December 2011
Commissioner President Dinah Shelton participated in the International meeting on “Legal Pluralism in Multicultural Societies ” which took place in Lima, Perú between December 12 and 14, 2011. The meeting, which was organized by the Andean Commission of Jurists and sponsored by the Government of France, had the purpose of analyzing experiences of legal pluralism in the Andean Region and how international courts and States have defined standards to address the issue.
"Use of Forensic Evidence in the fight against torture"
Copenhagen, December 2011
On December 1, and 2, 2011, the IACHR participated in Workshop for Lawyers on the "Use of Forensic Evidence in the fight against torture", in Copenhagen, Denmark, and sponsored by the organization International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).
On November 29 and 30 2011 the IACHR held at its headquarters a “Regional consultation for the Americas on enhancing cooperation between UN and regional mechanisms on the prevention of torture and protection of victims of torture, especially persons deprived of liberty”. Participating at the event were the President of the IACHR and the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, the President of the Committee Against Torture, the Vice-President of the Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, representatives of the IACHR and the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, as well as representative of National Mechanisms for the Prevention of Torture (NMP) of the region, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations. During the meeting, the participants identified specific means and tools of cooperation among UN human rights mechanisms and the inter-American system in the combat against torture and ill treatment, taking into account areas of work such as the exchange of information, possible joint activities, and the follow-up of recommendations; they also discussed the role of the MPS and civil society organizations.
Commissioner Maria Silvia Guillén participated in the "Dialogue on the Report on Citizen Security and Human Rights: Challenges and Perspectives for the implementation of the recommendations", organized by the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, and sponsored by the IACHR. The meeting took place in San Salvador on November 28, and 29, 2011, and involved the participation of the senior police authorities of the OAS Member States of Colombia and the Central American region, as well as civil society representatives.
The IACHR was represented at the International Seminar on "Implementation of Sentences and Recommendations in the Inter-American System of Human Rights ", organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile. The seminar took place on November 9, 2011, at the headquarters of the said Ministry in Santiago, Chile, with the purpose of increasing State agents’ awareness of the binding nature of the decisions issued by the organs of the Inter-American system. Participants included representatives of the Ministries comprising the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group; members and lawyers of the Human Rights Commissions of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies; staff of the judicial service, National Attorney General's Office and the Criminal Public Ombudsman's Office and of the National Institute for Human Rights.
By invitation of the OAS General Secretariat, the IACHR participated on October 12 and 13, 2011, of the Forum of the OAS and the African Union on "challenges and opportunities in the promotion and defense of democracy and human rights in Africa and the Americas." The forum took place in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and its main topics were the cooperation between the OAS and the AFU was the protection and promotion of human rights in both regions.
On October 12 and 13, 2011, the IACHR participated in a regional experts workshop on incitement of hate, which took place in Santiago, Chile. The IACHR ws invited by the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations.
On October 10, 2011, at the invitation of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty , the IACHR participated in a discussion panel on the international jurisprudence in the area of the death penalty and the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This event took place in Geneva, Switzerland.
On September 24, 2011, the Inter-American Commission participated in a series of outreach seminars organized by the Judicial Power of Mexico in the states of León, Puebla and Sinaloa. In the seminars there was an analysis of constitutional reforms in matters of the amparo in the country, as well as the recent decision of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice in the Radilla Pacheco case, and this court's recommendations of the outline of constitutional oversight. Commissioner Orozco Henríquez and lawyers from the IACHR's Executive Secretariat participated in simultaneous presentations on the Inter-American human rights system in general, and on the control of constitutionality, led by federal judges, and that was developing in each one of the above-mentioned states.
On September 13, 2011, the IACHR participated in a panel on pacific protest by invitation of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights. It took place in Geneve, Switzerland.
On August 22, 2011, a workshop for the staff of the Executive Secretariat on Alternative Dispute Resolution took place at the IACHR, with the aim of promoting a strengthening of the friendly settlement program. The workshop was led by Prof. Charles Caver of the George Washington University.
On June 10, 2011, an initial informal dialogue on friendly settlement proceedings took place at the headquarters of the IACHR with experts in the Inter-American system, with a view to making progress to identify best practices allowing a strengthening of the initiative the IACHR is currently developing in this area.
On June 5, 2011, the IACHR Chair, Dinah Shelton, and Commissioner Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro participated as panelists in a forum on citizen security and human rights in San Salvador, El Salvador, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Women and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. The goal was to promote dialogue on the inter-relation between citizen security and human rights in the context of the General Assembly of the OAS. Around 100 people participated in the forum, including representatives of the Member States and of Observer Countries, of civil society, and Salvadoran public authorities.
On May 12, 2011, the Executive Secretary participated in the Subregional Dialogue of the Members of the Central American and Mexican Integration System: "Democracy for Peace, Security and Development ", in San Jose, Costa Rica. This event to place to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
On April 26 and 27, 2011, the Executive Secretary participated in the V International Meeting of Humanitarian and Military Law in Lima, Peru, at the invitation of the International Association of Military Jurists (AIJM). At the same time, the Executive Secretary was invited by the Legal Defense Institute to present the report "The Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples to their Ancestral Lands and Natural Resources."
El 25 de abril de 2011 el Secretario Ejecutivo de la CIDH participó en el Foro Hemisférico con la sociedad civil organizado en Washington por el Departamento de Relaciones Externas de la OEA, cuyo objeto fue promover la participación de la sociedad civil en los diálogos sobre el tema central de la Asamblea General de la OEA de 2011 referido a la seguridad ciudadana.
On April 20, 2011, a training workshop was held for the IACHR Executive Secretariat staff on forensic investigation, directed by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Torture.
By invitation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on April 18 and 19, 2011, the Executive Secretary participated in a meeting of experts on citizen security in Geneve, Switzerland. He presented the conclusions and recommendations of the IACHR report on the topic.
On April 4 and 5, 2011, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and the Assistant Executive Secretary of the IACHR participated in the Hemispheric Forum "Women Leadership for Citizen Democracy," which was held in Washington, D.C., by the Inter-American Commission on Women.
El 1 y 2 de marzo de 2011, una especialista de la Secretaría Ejecutiva de la CIDH participó como ponente en la Consulta Regional y Reunión de Alto Nivel sobre el Acceso Universal a la prevención, atención, tratamiento y cuidado en VIH/SIDA en Latinoamérica, organizada por ONUSIDA. El objetivo de la consulta regional era desarrollar recomendaciones regionales y una ruta crítica sobre cómo alcanzar los objetivos de acceso universal (AU) en materia de VIH/SIDA para el año 2015. El Informe de la Consulta y las fotos del evento pueden ser consultadas en el siguiente enlace (sólo disponible en español).
The IACHR was represented by Commissioner President Dinah Shelton at a regional seminar on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Human Rights Declaration which took place in Bali, Indonesia. The participating experts contributed valuable experience from the Inter-American Commission, the African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples Rights, and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. The seminar’s recommendations highlighted, among others, the importance of the role of civil society in promoting and protecting human rights, and the contribution of independent regional human rights mechanisms towards improvement in international human rights standards.
November 16, 2010
A delegation from the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights visited the IACHR on November 16, 2010 for a regional dialogue on human rights institutions and regional mechanisms. The program included presentations by the IACHR on its history, mandates and structure; a discussion on the petition and case system; presentations on the interrelation of the IACHR and the OAS political bodies, and a joint roundtable meeting with NGOs currently working with IACHR.
On October 8-9, 2010, the IACHR, the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, and the Norman Manley Law School jointly sponsored a seminar on the countries of the Caribbean region and the inter-American human rights system. Commissioner Dinah Shelton, Rapporteur for several English-speaking Caribbean countries, was one of the panelists. Other participants included Hilaire Sobers and Angelita Baeyens, human rights specialists with the Commission. Among the issues addressed by various panels of experts were the nature of the inter-American system, the system’s subsidiary character, case law and its particular impact on the protection of rights in the Caribbean region, citizen security as a human right, and the future of the inter-American system within the Caribbean. The seminar took place at the headquarters of the Norman Manley Law School, in Jamaica.
El 7 de octubre de 2010, una especialista en derechos humanos de la Secretaría Ejecutiva de la CIDH participó como ponente en el panel titulado "Apoyando la implementación de políticas de salud mental: un acercamiento basado en derechos humanos. Conclusiones, tendencias y medidas estratégicas para la acción en salud pública". El panel tuvo lugar en el contexto de la Conferencia Regional sobre Salud Mental: desarrollo abarcativo de programas de salud mental, organizado por la Organización Panamericana de la Salud en Ciudad de Panamá, entre el 7 y el 8 de octubre de 2010.
A delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights visited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in June 2010 to hold a series of exchanges and meetings, as part of an ongoing dialogue on matters of common interest. The delegation was led by the Vice-Chair of the African Commission, Mumba Malila, and included Executive Secretary Mary Maboreke and other members of the Secretariat. The Second Vice-Chair of the IACHR, Commissioner Dinah Shelton, and a significant number of staff members from the Executive Secretariat participated in the activities, which included opportunities to compare best practices in the management of cases, compliance with recommendations, and outreach programs.
Over the years, the IACHR and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights have held promotional events and working meetings both in the Americas and in Africa. The specific results of these collaborations have included joint statements by Rapporteurs of both systems, such as the Joint Declaration of the Special Rapporteurs on Women’s Rights, signed in 2002 by the Rapporteurs of the UN, African, and inter-American systems, as well as the Joint Declaration on Media and Elections, issued in May 2009 by the Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression of the UN and the African, European, and inter-American systems.
In 2009, the IACHR undertook a project to increase interregional cooperation between the two human rights systems and their respective institutions. This project is being implemented at the present time thanks to the financial support of the United States Department of State, and is the result of the Commission’s interest in strengthening its collaboration with the African Commission through an ongoing relationship and exchange of information. Past contacts have made it clear that both systems have a strong interest in better understanding the processes, work methodologies, and standards in the area of human rights that have developed in each region, but it is often difficult to access such information quickly and in a way that is useful. On October 1, 2009, the African Union Commission and the OAS signed a memorandum of understanding in which they agreed to cooperate on issues related to democracy and human rights.
As part of this project, members of the Inter-American and African Commissions, as well as representatives of their respective Secretariats, held various exchanges and meetings between June 14 and 25. During the first week, Commissioner Dinah Shelton and Commissioner Mumba Malila met to talk about matters of mutual interest for both institutions. African Commission Executive Secretary Mary Maboreke was present during these meetings. The second week consisted of working meetings at the technical level between staff members from both Secretariats, who focused on work methods and procedures.
The OAS organized several commemorative events to mark the 50th anniversary of the IACHR. On November 11, 2009, the OAS Permanent Council held a special meeting in the Simón Bolívar Room of its main headquarters building to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the 40th anniversary of the American Convention on Human Rights, and the 30th anniversary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. IACHR Chair Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero gave a speech in which she talked about key moments in the Commission’s history, obstacles it had faced, and progress it had made.
The XIX OAS Policy Roundtable, which took place on November 11, 2009, in the Hall of the Americas, focused on “Challenges and Future of the Inter-American System on Human Rights.” The panelists were Juan E. Méndez, Special Advisor on Prevention to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and former Chair of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Armstrong A. Wiggins, Director of the Indian Law Resource Center; Helen Mack, Founder and President of the Myrna Mack Foundation, Guatemala; Douglass Cassel, Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School; and Juan Pablo Olmedo, President of the Chilean Transparency Council and an attorney and user of the inter-American system.
As part of the activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the IACHR, the Commission and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights launched a poster contest on April 16, 2009 , under the slogan “IACHR Defending Human Rights.” The contest had two categories: one for the participation of children and teens, ages 12 to 17, and the other for young adults, ages 18 to 23. (See Competition Rules .)
In response to the contest announcement, posters came in from the Pampa and from the Atacama Desert, from the coast of Guyana to the mountains of Guatemala, from Lima to Havana. Participants included young people deprived of their liberty in Brazil and children with special abilities from a school in the Bio Bio region of Chile. Roger, who at the age of 18 is in custody at the Casa Foundation in Brazil, drew a picture of a hand proffering a flower; 13-year-old Gerson, who participates in an integration program for children with special abilities in Chile, drew an enormous red heart embracing the Americas, surrounded by people of all colors. María, a girl from Arica, drew a child soldier carrying a weapon in one hand and a teddy bear in the other, and titled the piece “We have the right to be happy too.” Nicolás, 14, drew a person sitting in a wheelchair in a park. Alvaro, 16, drew his rural school in Nicaragua with a twisted tree to one side, on which he wrote, “Law?” Gonzalo and Sheryl, both 15, ask in their poster: “What would happen if you had schooling, a good old age, and freedom, and didn’t have child soldiers or malnutrition?” And 13-year-old Manuel did an abstract drawing he entitled “The Right to Creativity.”
In 107 works from 12 countries, boys, girls, and young adults used art to convey their impressions of what are human rights and what is the Inter-American Commission. The posters were exhibited at the OAS General Secretariat Building from October 30 to December 10, 2009. All the works can be seen through the online virtual exhibition.
The first prize in each category consisted of (U.S.) $500.00 and a certificate. Certificates were also awarded for works chosen as finalists. The first prize in the category of young adults went to an oil painting on canvas submitted by 19-year-old Emily Philipps of the United States, while the first prize in the category of children and teens went for a collage and drawing entitled “We Have the Right to Much More,” a collective work by three girls—Ingrid Pereira Paine, 14; Marcela Espinoza Nahuelán, 15; and Karol Espinoza Nahuelán, 12—who attend a school for indigenous children with special abilities, located in the region of Bio Bio, in southern Chile. The OAS magazine Américas published an article about the contest .
At the invitation of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), the IACHR participated on October 16-18 in a forum on “Current Challenges in International Human Rights Protection from an Ibero-American Perspective”, which took place in Madrid.
The Executive Secretariat participated in the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), which took place in Ottawa in the context of the Sixth Plenary Meeting of the FIPA. The event aimed to promote comprehensive dialogue on the phenomenon of migration in the Americas and the role members of parliament play in creating a legal framework that is respectful of human rights.
On September 9-11, 2009, the Commission carried out an official visit to Argentina, at the invitation of that country’s government, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Commission’s onsite visit in 1979. The numerous activities that took place included a series of panel discussions on the 1979 visit, with the participation of former Commissioners who had been part of the original delegation as well as individuals who talked about their experience of three decades past, when they had played critical roles in the context of the Commission’s visit. Political prisoners who had received visits from the Commission, including a political detainee who now works at the Inter-American Commission as a human rights specialist, shared their perspectives on the impact of the visit, as did relatives of victims of human rights violations that occurred during the military dictatorship. Argentina’s then-Foreign Minister, Jorge Taiana, who had been a political prisoner of the authoritarian regime when the IACHR conducted its 1979 visit and who years later served as Executive Secretary of the Commission, also participated in the event.
During the commemorative visit, the IACHR delegation also held a working session on the inter-American system with State officials; met with civil society; and visited the Space for Memory, located in the former Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (ESMA). The IACHR had visited the ESMA in a very different context in 1979, when it was a center for the detention and torture of political dissidents under the dictatorship. On this occasion, by contrast, an event was held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the visit; it was attended by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and included the unveiling of plaques in honor of those who were victims of State terrorism and in honor of the IACHR.
The IACHR was created during the Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in Santiago, Chile, on August 12-18, 1959. To mark the 50th anniversary of its creation, the IACHR held a commemoration ceremony in the O’Higgins Hall of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the same room in which the act creating the Inter-American Commission was signed on August 18, 1959. The anniversary ceremony, which took place on September 3, 2009, included the signing of the Declaration of Santiago de Chile. Through this declaration, the IACHR reaffirmed the continued relevance of the human rights system’s ideals “of ensuring respect for human dignity and guaranteeing a life free of fear and misery,” and underscored that “it is essential to consolidate democratic institutions, the rule of law, and economic and social development throughout the region.” The documentwas signed by the President of the Commission, Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero; the First Vice President, Víctor Abramovich; the Second Vice President, Felipe González; Commissioners Paolo Carozza, Paolo Sérgio Pinheiro, Florentín Meléndez, and Sir Clare K. Roberts; and the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Santiago A. Canton. The President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, participated in the commemoration ceremony, along with the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, and the Foreign Minister of Chile, Mariano Fernández.
As part of its promotional efforts, the IACHR provided support to hold an OAS Cine Americas Series on "The Disappeared." The event, held January 12-15, 2009, included screenings of documentaries and discussions on the subject matter.
In April, the IACHR Executive Secretariat participated, among other activities, in the Meeting of High-Level Human Rights Authorities of Mercosur, which took place in Asunción, Paraguay.
In May, the Assistant Executive Secretary participated in an event on the African human rights system and other regional systems, held in Banjul, Gambia, at the invitation of the Human Rights Centre of the University of Pretoria, South Africa.