On July 22, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched its Individual Petition System Portal (IPSP), which gives parties digital remote access to their petitions and cases. The IACHR is the first regional human rights body to provide parties with electronic access to this type of information. The creation of the portal is also part of a larger effort to increase access to information for people seeking remedies from the Inter-American human rights system. IACHR Chair and Commissioner, Rose Marie Belle Antoine stated that the portal’s launch is “a really historic moment that will radically change the processing of petitions, cases, and precautionary measures” and 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.” [OAS Press Release]
Category Archives: civil society
On July 14, 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Committee met in Geneva for a half day general discussion to begin the process of developing a general comment on Article 6 (Right to Life) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). See UN Human Rights Committee, Draft General Comment No. 36: Article 6 (Right to Life), UN Doc. CCPR/C/GC/R. 36, 1 April 2015. The Human Rights Committee adopts authoritative interpretations of specific rights set forth in the ICCPR in the form of general comments, which guide States and other actors in understanding the scope of the right. Prior to this discussion, the Human Rights Committee adopted a note identifying issues that the Rapporteurs on the General Comment, Mr. Yuval Shany and Sir Nigel Rodley, contemplated being addressed in the general comment. The discussion on the development of the general comment, which took place during the 114th session, included oral presentations as well as the review of written submissions from national human rights institutions (NHRIs), civil society organizations, and members of academia.
Background to Article 6 (Right to Life)
During its 112th session in 2014, the Human Rights Committee decided to begin the drafting of a general comment on Article 6 of the ICCPR by revisiting and expanding upon General Comment 6 (1982) and General Comment 14 (1984), both of which are general comments on Article 6. The new general comment will be drafted in light of information obtained since the drafting of those two general comments including information gained through the Committee’s review of States’ reports and communications, as well as through the adoption of recent general comments on related issues. See, Draft General Comment No. 36: Article 6 (Right to Life), 1 April 2015. The purpose of the new general comment is to guide States and other actors in adopting measures that will enable them to fully comply with the rights enumerated in Article 6. [OHCHR]
Article 6 of the ICCPR states:
- Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
- In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court.
- When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide, it is understood that nothing in this article shall authorize any State Party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way from any obligation assumed under the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
- Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all cases.
- Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.
- Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State Party to the present Covenant.
Human Rights Committee Discussion
On April 1, 2015, in advance of the discussion on the general comment, the Committee adopted a note identifying issues that Mr. Yuval Shany and Sir Nigel Rodley, both members of the Human Rights Committee and Rapporteurs on the general comment, considered should be addressed in the general comment. See Draft General Comment No. 36: Article 6 (Right to Life), 1 April 2015.
The note highlighted issues that should be focused upon for each subparagraph of Article 6. For example, with respect to Article 6(1), the following issues are relevant: how Article 6 protections relate to other ICCPR provisions protecting the right to life, including Article 7 (prohibition against torture and cruel/inhumane treatment), Article 9 (right to liberty and security of person), and Article 20 (prohibition against incitement to discrimination, hostility, and violence) as well as to Article 12 (right to health) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and to the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); how this provision applies to the unborn, frozen embryos, and clones; the relationship between the right to life and the right to die, for example in the form of euthanasia; how this provision relates to other sources of international law, including humanitarian law, refugee law, environmental law, and criminal law; the regulation of practices such as gun control and drug and alcohol use that could be life-harming; and possible exceptions to the duty to protect life, for example suicide and abortion.
With respect to Article 6(2), the note discusses various issues that could arise with respect to the death penalty including the definition of different terms within subparagraph 2 and the relationship between this article and other ICCPR provisions as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG).
Issues most relevant to subparagraph three include its relationship to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Issues to be taken into account regarding subparagraph four include clarifying the meaning of different terms such as pardon, commutation, and amnesty. Regarding Article 6(5), the note discusses the importance of examining whether this provision might be extended to persons with mental disabilities, lactating mothers, and older persons. On Article 6(6), the note discusses its relationship to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, as well as to Article 7 on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Finally, some cross-cutting issues for possible discussion include: the relationship between Article 6 and other ICCPR provisions; derogability of the right to life during times of emergency (allowing States to adjust their obligations under the treaty temporarily in exceptional circumstances, such as armed conflicts or civil unrest); whether reservations (a declaration made by a State which allows it to exclude or alter the legal effect of certain provisions of a treaty) are allowable; the extraterritorial application of this provision (whether a State’s obligation extends to persons or situations outside of its territory); the application of this provision in situations of international and non-international armed conflict, forced disappearances, to non-State and multi-national actors; best practices concerning the implementation of Article 6; and procedural safeguards.
Other issues for consideration included: remedies for Article 6 violations, including the duty to investigate, prosecute, and provide reparations; special protection for detainees, minorities, women, children, older persons, migrants, and persons with disabilities; and the discriminatory application of the right to life.
Written Submissions from NHRIs, Civil Society Organizations, and Academia
The Committee received 115 written submissions from NHRIs, civil society organizations, and members of academia for the discussion concerning draft General Comment 36 on the Right to Life. These contributors included: family rights groups (e.g., The Center for Family and Human Rights and Family Watch International); international organizations (e.g., Amnesty International, Avocats Sans Frontières, and Human Rights Watch); penal reform institutions (e.g., Penal Reform International and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty); regional human rights commissions (e.g., the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission); reproductive rights organizations (e.g., Center for Reproductive Rights, the Danish Family Planning Association, and the Information Group on Reproductive Choice); right to health organizations (e.g., Center for Health and Gender Equity, The Program on Global Health and Human Rights at the University of Southern California Institute for Global Health, and People’s Health Movement); and women’s rights groups (e.g., the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women, Women and Media Collective in Sri Lanka, and Women Deliver).
The submissions addressed a number of issues with respect to the right to life including: euthanasia and assisted suicide; whether Article 6 contains an implicit right to abortion; guaranteeing the right to safe abortions; protecting the rights of the unborn; and overlap between the right to life and the right to health, for example with respect to access to and use of sexual and reproductive services. See submissions by Equality Now and Women and Media Collective in Sri Lanka.
Other contributions addressed criminal justice and due process issues such as the following: pre-trial detention and detainees’ rights; extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions; drones and targeted killings; and protecting refugees during rescue operations at sea. See submissions by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Additionally, some organizations focused on gender and child-related issues such as: the need to prevent gender-based and sexual orientation-based violence, decrease maternal mortality and morbidity, and prohibit child and forced marriages. See submission by Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women.
With respect to the death penalty, submissions highlighted that the death penalty, if not abolished, should only be “imposed when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts.” See submission by Penal Reform International
Submissions also noted that the right to life encompasses the right to food, sanitation, and water, as well as protection for indigenous populations from forced evictions. See Submissions by Minority Rights Group International and Sanitation and Water for All.
Outcome of the Discussion and Next Steps
After the discussion the Rapporteurs will produce a draft of the general comment which will be presented to the Human Rights Committee for a first reading during a closed session. The text resulting from the first reading will be available to the public on the Human Rights Committee’s webpage and open for comments from interested parties until the second reading. [OHCHR]
The Human Rights Committee is one of ten committees of experts established to assess States’ implementation of specific UN human rights treaties. To learn more about the Human Rights Committee and the other human rights treaty bodies, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
On July 1, 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Council met in Geneva and adopted a landmark resolution urging States to monitor and regulate private education providers. The resolution aims to address the emergence of large-scale for-profit “low cost” private school chains that target poor families in developing countries and compromise the right to education. See UN Human Rights Council, Resolution 29/L.14/Rev.1, Resolution on the Right to Education, UN Doc. A/HRC/29/L.14/Rev.1, July 1, 2015. This resolution, which was adopted during the 29th regular session, marks the first time that the Human Rights Council has responded to the growing phenomenon of the privatization and commercialization of education. [Right to Education Project] The resolution addresses the issue of the increasing number of educational establishments that are unregistered, unregulated, and funded and managed by individuals or enterprises (including non-State actors that are not religious institutions, NGOs, community-based groups, foundations, or trusts). This has negatively impacted the right to education and undermined the concept of education as a public good. See UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Kishore Singh, UN Doc. A/HRC/29/30, June 10, 2015, 3..
On June 4, 2015, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (Commission) issued a report containing findings of “systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations” that might rise to the level of crimes against humanity committed by the State of Eritrea. [OHCHR Press Release: UN Inquiry] See UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Eritrea, A/HRC/29/43 (2015). The report, which was presented to the Human Rights Council at its 29th Session in Geneva, documents a myriad of violations including pervasive surveillance, extrajudicial killings, restrictions on the freedom of expression, a “completely deficient” justice system, prolonged and arbitrary detention, widespread use of torture, forced labor, and sexual violence, which result in a climate in which “it is not law that rules Eritreans – but fear.” [OHCHR Press Release: UN Inquiry]
Following the release of the report, on July 2, 2015, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution extending the mandate of the Commission as well as of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for one year. See UN Human Rights Council, Resolution on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention, A/HRC/29/L.23 (2015).
Commission Mandate and Commissioners
The Commission, which was established through a resolution in July 2014, was mandated to investigate the human rights violations that the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea had addressed in her previous reports on Eritrea. See UN Human Rights Council Resolution 26/24, Situation of human rights in Eritrea, A/HRC/RES/26/24, 14 July 2014. The Commission focused on the time period from Eritrean independence in 1993 until the present. It was made up of three members: Victor Dankwa (Ghana), Sheila B. Keetharuth (Mauritius), the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, and Mike Smith (Australia), the chairperson of the Commission.
The Human Rights Council had requested that the Eritrean government cooperate with the Commission, including by providing unrestricted access to visits and by providing information. However, the government did not respond to this request. The Commission therefore conducted its work by interviewing more than 550 witnesses (100 of whom were women) living outside of Eritrea (in, for example, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Germany, Sweden, and the United States); reviewing 160 written testimonies; and holding meetings with UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations. The Commission noted that one of its key challenges was that witnesses were afraid to provide testimony because they believed they were being monitored by authorities in Eritrea and that they or their family members would be targeted and endangered. The Commission therefore put into place measures to protect witnesses. See UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Eritrea, A/HRC/29/43 (2015), at 3-4.
The Commission testified before the Human Rights Council at its 29th Session in Geneva. The Commission found that Eritrea has violated rights in the following areas:
- Privacy: the Eritrean government uses various tools, including harassment and intimidation, to spy on and engage in surveillance activities. These practices extend beyond national security or crime prevention needs. As a result, Eritreans self-censor, out of fear that any information that is collected could result in arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, disappearance, or death. The report includes the experience of one witness who says: “When I am in Eritrea, I feel that I cannot even think because I am afraid that people can read my thoughts and I am scared.” See id. at 6.
- Freedom of movement: the State also inhibits free movement, both for those traveling within the country and those attempting to leave (approximately 5,000 people flee Eritrea each month). Those who are forced to return to Eritrea after leaving are often arrested and detained, and subjected to ill-treatment and torture. See id. at 6-7.
- Freedom of expression: the State severely curtails freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association, and religion. In 2001, following a crackdown that took the form of the killing or disappearance of members of the G-15 reform group, the government has continued to severely punish individuals who express opinions about or ask questions regarding a wide array of topics. Also in 2001, the government closed down independent newspapers and silenced journalists by detaining, torturing, and disappearing them. Since that time, the government continues to control the press and to restrict access to information. Additionally, Eritreans cannot exercise the freedom to assemble and associate; attempts to do so have resulted in arrests, detentions, and extrajudicial executions. See id. at 7-8.
- Freedom of religion: the Eritrean government also inhibits and controls religious freedom through restrictions and attacks on religious communities; prohibitions on any religious gatherings aside from the four authorized religious denominations; and arrests, ill-treatment, arbitrary deprivation of citizenship, torture, disappearances, and killings of those attempting to practice their religions. See id. at 8.
- Administration of justice: as a result of the fact that Eritrea’s 1997 Constitution was not implemented, that parliament has not met, and that the courts are controlled by the executive, the Commission found that the rule of law effectively does not exist in Eritrea. Common violations with respect to the administration of justice include violations of the right to fair trial and due process. For example, court judgments are usually not made public, and sometimes accused individuals are not even aware that they have been tried or of the length of their sentences. See id. at 8-9.
- Arbitrary arrest and detention: the State uses information collected through spying to arbitrarily arrest and detain individuals. These arrests and detentions are made in the absence of formal charges and they cannot be reviewed to determine whether they are lawful. The Commission described the arrests as: “unjust, unpredictable, unreasonable and disproportionate.” Groups that tend to be particularly targeted for arrest include political opponents, journalists, and members of religious communities. See id. at 9.
- Enforced disappearances: those individuals who are arrested and detained are victims of the widespread and systematic practice of enforced disappearance, which also entails the violation of the right to life, the right to not be subject to torture, and the right to liberty, among other rights. The Commission found that statistics on the number of enforced disappearances were unavailable, but that the government has been especially likely to target the following groups: political dissidents, journalists, religious leaders, and leaders and members of the Afar ethnic group. See id. at 9.
- Arbitrary deprivation of life: the government’s shoot-to-kill policy in border areas is used to prevent individuals from leaving Eritrea. While this policy might have been revised in recent years, the Commission found that people were still being shot in late 2014. Additional examples of the arbitrary deprivation of life include mass killings of members of ethnic groups and extrajudicial executions of ordinary citizens. See id. at 10-11.
- Detention: detention in Eritrea is characterized by the absence of judicial review; being held in secret and unofficial facilities, including underground metal containers and caves; incommunicado detention; and harsh conditions, including having to sleep in human waste and solitary confinement. Women in detention face the risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Children have also been detained, and are sometimes kept in the same inhumane conditions as the adults. See id. at 11.
- Torture: the ill-treatment that is used against detainees, including in the form of extreme restraint, beatings, and rape, intended to inflict harm, to extract confessions, and to punish and intimidate, constitutes a “deliberate policy” of torture. Furthermore, the Commission found that perpetrators of torture enjoy impunity. See id. at 12.
- Right to property: the State’s land reforms disproportionately affect women, as well as the Afar and Kunama minorities, who have been dispossessed of their lands, livelihoods, and culture. Additionally, because the State exclusively owns Eritrea’s land and natural resources, it uses its ownership of lands and resources to punish perceived enemies. See id. at 12.
- National service: forcible recruitment of children; sexual violence and torture committed against women and girls in military training camps; and indefinite national service in conditions characterized by arbitrary detention, torture, and forced labor are common practices. See id. at 12-13.
- Forced labor: military conscripts are subjected to torture and forced labor that rises to the level of slavery. See id. at 13-14.
The Commission made numerous recommendations to the government of Eritrea regarding the human rights violations it found. These include:
- General: implement the Constitution of 1997 and ensure that any amendments are made in a transparent and participatory manner and are consistent with the State’s international human rights obligations; address and ensure accountability for past human rights violations including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, unlawful detention, sexual violence, and forced labor; and put into place an independent and impartial mechanism to investigate these violations and their perpetrators and to provide redress to victims.
- Governance and administration of justice: hold free, fair, and transparent elections; ensure that court processes are transparent; and create an independent national human rights institution to monitor and investigate human rights violations.
- Enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest, and detention: end the practice of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, including the shoot-to-kill policy in border areas; release all individuals who are unlawfully and arbitrarily detained; put into place a mechanism to determine the whereabouts of the disappeared; and end the practice of incommunicado detention and close unofficial and secret detention facilities.
- Detention conditions: ensure that detention conditions and treatment of prisoners are aligned with international standards, use solitary confinement only in exceptional circumstances, put into place methods to independently oversee detention centers, and allow international monitoring of detention facilities.
- Torture and ill-treatment: put an end to the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, put into place complaints mechanisms, and investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
- Public freedoms: allow freedom of movement both within the country and for those seeking to leave the country, allow for independent media, protect journalists from arbitrary arrest, and end persecution on the basis of religion.
- Property: ensure that evictions are only conducted in conformity with international human rights law, stop forcible evictions, and terminate the practice of taking land away from minority ethnic groups without providing compensation.
- National service: limit the national service requirement to 18 months; allow for conscientious objection as well as other exceptions, such as on the basis of physical or mental health issues; put into place a military code that prohibits and punishes ill-treatment and harassment of conscripts; create a complaints mechanism where conscripts can bring their allegations of ill-treatment and be provided with redress; and end forced recruitment of children.
- Gender equality: strengthen legislation that protects and promotes gender equality; ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; allow for civil society organizations that work to promote gender equality; investigate and sexual and gender-based violence; and address all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, as well as sexual and gender-based violence, whether committed by State or non-State actors.
The Commission made numerous recommendations to the international community, including: establish long-term solutions to assist Eritrean refugees and promote regular paths of migration from Eritrea; criminalize human trafficking and smuggling; and prioritize human rights considerations when negotiating with Eritrean officials. See id. at para. 96.
Additional recommendations to the Eritrean government include the following:
- Consult with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for technical assistance on implementing all the recommendations.
- Collaborate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, and allow her to visit the country.
- Cooperate with other international human rights mechanisms. For example, follow-up on the Universal Periodic Review, implement recommendations made by UN treaty bodies, and submit overdue reports. See id. at 21-23.
Extension of Mandate of Commission and Special Rapporteur
In light of the Commission’s report, the Human Rights Council, on July 2, 2015, passed a resolution extending the mandate of the Commission as well as of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for one year. See UN Human Rights Council, Resolution on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention, A/HRC/29/L.23 (2015). The resolution also strongly condemned the human rights violations in Eritrea and reiterated many of the Commission’s recommendations to the Eritrean government. See id. at para. 6.
The Commission’s mandate is to continue investigating the “systematic, widespread, and gross” human rights violations in Eritrea, including whether or not these violations amount to crimes against humanity, with the goal of ensuring full accountability for these violations. In its resolution, the Human Rights Council requested that the Commission present an oral update to the General Assembly at its 71st session, and submit a written report to the Council at its 32nd session. The Council also urged the Eritrean government and the international community to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and the Commission. See id. at 4.
Eritrea responded to the new resolution by stating that it “rejected politically motivated mechanisms and prescriptive reports and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry and the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea.” Eritrea also emphasized its sovereignty and accused the authors of the draft resolution of trying to violate that sovereignty. [OHCHR Press Release: Human Rights Council Extension of Mandate]
For more information on the UN Human Rights Council’s special procedures, including on the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea, please visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) is currently holding its 61st session from July 6 to July 24, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. During the session, the CEDAW Committee has been reviewing State reports submitted by Bolivia, Croatia, Gambia, Namibia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Spain, and Vietnam, on their implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). During the session, representatives from each State engage in a dialogue with CEDAW Committee members based on each State’s national report and responses to the list of issues, which consists of those topics the Committee had previously asked each State to address. The Committee will also review reports submitted by civil society organizations concerning the States’ implementation of the Convention. At the conclusion of the review process, the Committee will issue concluding observations for each State, containing its concerns and recommendations on each State’s implementation of the Convention.
The European Committee of Social Rights held its 279th Session from June 30 to July 3, 2015 in Strasbourg, France. The Committee, which is made up of 15 independent experts, is charged with overseeing State compliance with the European Social Charter, which protects economic and social rights. The agenda for this session included reviewing 20 collective complaints, examining national reports, discussing Charter provisions that have not been accepted by all States, reviewing internal working methods, and following up on the Turin process. Specifically, the Committee made progress in its decisions on three complaints, and reviewed national reports from Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, and Serbia concerning their compliance with Charter provisions relating to children, families, and migrants.
IACtHR 109th Ordinary Session Addresses Custodial Death in Guatemala, Abuses of Colombian Human Rights Defenders
The 109th Ordinary Session of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) began on June 18 and concluded on July 1, 2015, in San Jose, Costa Rica. During this session, the Court publicly heard two cases, Chinchilla Sandoval and Others v. Guatemala and Yarce and Others v. Colombia. The first case concerned the ill-treatment, followed by the death, of a diabetic woman incarcerated in Guatemala, the second case concerned the situation of five Colombian human rights defenders. The Court was also scheduled to: hold a public hearing regarding Panama’s request for an advisory opinion; analyze the possibility of issuing judgments for three cases, hold a private hearing on compliance with two Barbados judgments, and celebrate the 21st Annual Meeting of Presidents and Judges of Tribunals, Courts, and Constitutional Chambers of Latin America. [IACtHR Press Release (Spanish only)]
Videos of the public hearings and events are available on the Court’s Vimeo page.
Recent Human Rights Decisions Address Disability Discrimination, Non-Refoulement, and Juvenile Life Without Parole Sentences
During the fall of 2014, at each of their respective sessions, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee), and the Committee Against Torture (CAT) adopted key decisions on topics including the definition of disability; enforced disappearances; freedom of religion; freedom of expression; juvenile life imprisonment; gender-based violence, including in situations of domestic violence; and risk of torture upon return to Algeria, Iran, Kosovo, and Yemen.
This week, the Human Rights Committee will commence its 114th session in Geneva, Switzerland. The session will take place from June 29 to July 24, during which time the Committee will review the State reports of Canada, France, Macedonia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela. The Committee will also review reports submitted by civil society organizations and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) concerning the States’ implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). At the conclusion of the review process, the Committee will issue concluding observations for each State, containing its concerns and recommendations on each State’s implementation of the Covenant. All States are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee within one year of accepting the Covenant and thereafter whenever the Committee requests.
On June 16, 2015, at the 45th Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C., Member States elected four commissioners to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and four judges to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). [IACHR Press Release] These eight positions comprise more than half of the total seats on the Commission and the Court and the outcome of the elections is expected to “affect both the composition and identity of the Commission and the Court for years to come.” [Open Society Foundations Press Release] Only one seat was filled by an incumbent candidate, although several current members were eligible for reelection.