Category Archives: regional human rights protection

IACHR to Assist Mexico in Investigating 43 Students’ Disappearance

IACHR Mexico MOU
IACHR Mexico MOU

The IACHR, Mexico, and families’ representatives sign the agreement.
Credit: IACHR

In response to the disappearance of 43 student protesters in the Mexican state of Guerrero, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has signed a tripartite agreement with the government of Mexico and a group of nongovernmental organizations representing the student victims and their families to provide technical assistance with the search for the students, the investigation and subsequent actions regarding their disappearance, and support for the families of the victims. [IACHR: Official Agreement] The students have been missing since September 26 after a shooting incident with police that left six people dead and 17 injured. Although the students are believed to be dead, their whereabouts are yet to be discovered, fueling complaints of gang-related violence, impunity, and State corruption in the country. [Al Jazeera: Protests rage]

IACHR Chair, Tracy Robinson, stated:

For the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this historic agreement is of fundamental importance in the sense that it represents a key opportunity to advance in solving a structural issue that Mexico has been experi[enc]ing for years: forced disappearances … The main objective is to solve the underlying structural problems to these disappearances, not only the cases involving the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, but other cases, which unfortunately are many.

[IACHR: Official Agreement] Read more

IACHR Releases Report on Friendly Settlement Procedure

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 5.55.22 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 5.55.41 PMOn October 30, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released its report, Impact of the Friendly Settlement Procedure, elucidating the history, mechanics, and emblematic results of the friendly settlement mechanism, which allows petitioners and States to resolve disputes concerning human rights violations without obtaining a decision or judgment from an Inter-American human rights body. See IACHR, Impact of the Friendly Settlement Procedure (2013).

The Commission prepared this report after studying 106 friendly settlement reports approved between 1985 and 2012; establishing a working group on human rights and alternative dispute resolution; and issuing a special questionnaire requesting feedback from States, civil society organizations, and experts on alternative dispute resolution. See id. at paras. 11–15. The report is intended to strengthen the friendly settlement mechanism by increasing understanding of how the mechanism works and serving as a guide for how to use the procedure effectively. See id. The first section of the report discusses the evolution of the procedure, and the second section covers the impacts of friendly settlement agreements’ implementation. [IACHR Press Release] Read more

International Day Recognizes Rising Violence against Journalists

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.59.31 AM
Credit: UNESCO

Credit: UNESCO

November 2, 2014 marked the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, established by the United Nations General Assembly to draw attention to “attacks and violence against journalists,” which it unequivocally condemned. See UN General Assembly, Resolution 68/163, The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, UN Doc. A/RES/68/163, 18 December 2013, para. 2. The General Assembly also called on States to “do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists” and urged governments to “ensure accountability” by investigating and punishing those responsible for such violence. See UN General Assembly, Resolution 68/163, paras. 5, 6.

The date of November 2nd was selected for this new International Day in remembrance of two French journalists killed in Mali in 2013. See UNESCO, International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Several events were held on November 3 and 4 in honor of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. On November 3, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ) held a high-level panel discussion on “Ending Impunity: Upholding the Rule of Law.” On November 4, the third UN Inter-agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity convened in Strasbourg, France. Read more

IACtHR: Guatemala Failed to Investigate Human Rights Defender’s Killing, Protect Family

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in the Gudiel Ramos case.Credit: IACtHR
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in the Gudiel Ramos case.Credit: IACtHR

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights hears the Gudiel Ramos case.
Credit: IACtHR

Last week, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights handed down its judgment in Case of Human Rights Defender et al. v. Guatemala, concerning the State’s failure to adequately investigate and address the 2004 killing of human rights defender Florentín Gudiel Ramos. See I/A Court H.R., Case of Human Rights Defender et al. v. Guatemala. Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgment of August 28, 2014. Series C No. 283, para. 288 (Spanish only).

The Court held Guatemala internationally responsible for violations of the rights to: humane treatment, freedom of movement and residence, participate in government (as applied to Mr. Gudiel’s daughter), judicial protection, judicial guarantees, and the rights of the child (with regard to the children in the family), as set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights. See id. at para. 288. The Court held, by three votes to two, that the petitioners did not sufficiently establish violations of Mr. Gudiel’s right to life or right to participate in government. See id. at paras. 144, 149, 189. Human rights defenders in Guatemala continue to face threats and violence, in a prevailing climate of impunity. See generally, Front Line Defenders, Guatemala. Read more

ECtHR: Ukrainian Opposition Supporter’s Detention for Symbolic Act of Protest Violated Rights

ECtHR 2
ECtHR 2

European Court of Human Rights
Credit: ECtHR

In a judgment released last week, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously held that Ukraine violated the rights to freedom of expression and an appeal in criminal matters when, in 2011, it detained Ms. Galyna Shvydka for ten days under the charge of petty hooliganism due to her act of political protest in support of the opposition party. See ECtHR, Shvydka v. Ukraine, no. 17888/12, Judgment of 30 October 2014, paras. 42, 55. The Court found that the State had violated Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights because her removal of a ribbon from a wreath during an Independence Day ceremony was an act of political expression, and her detention for ten days was excessive and penalized her for her political views. [ECtHR Press Release] The Court also found that the State violated Article 2 of Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention (right of appeal in criminal matters) because Ms. Shvydka’s appeal was examined after she had already served her sentence, thereby impairing the effectiveness of her appeal. [ECtHR Press Release] The Court ordered the State to pay Ms. Shvydka 5,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages. See ECtHR, Shvydka v. Ukraine, no. 17888/12, Judgment of 30 October 2014, para. 59. Read more

In the Case of Dominican and Haitian People Expelled v. the Dominican Republic, IACtHR Finds Multitude of Human Rights Violations

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in the case during its 48th Extraordinary Session.Credit: IACtHR

Last week, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights released its opinion in Case of Dominican and Haitian People Expelled v. the Dominican Republic, where it held that the State’s discrimination, detention, and mass expulsion of individuals of Haitian descent violated the rights to: juridical personality, nationality, a name, personal liberty, privacy, fair trial, judicial protection, equal protection before the law, freedom of movement and residence, rights of the family, rights of the child, and the guarantee of non-discrimination, as set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights. See I/A Court H.R., Case of Dominican and Haitian People Expelled v. the Dominican Republic. Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgment of August 28, 2014. Series C No. 282, para. 512 (Spanish only).

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in the case during its 48th Extraordinary Session.Credit: IACtHR

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights holds a hearing in the case during its 48th Extraordinary Session.
Credit: IACtHR

The Inter-American Court has previously condemned the Dominican Republic’s treatment of persons of Haitian descent and its counterpart, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, has urged the State to modify its immigration laws and practices to comply with regional human rights standards, including by averting the implementation of a 2013 Constitutional Court judgment that directed authorities to strip possibly thousands of their citizenship. [IACHR Press Release] Now, in a binding judgment, the Inter-American Court has echoed these findings and directed the State to take specific action. Read more

UN Human Rights Bodies Urge Venezuela to Release Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez, Ensure Protesters Are Not Arbitrarily Detained or Prosecuted

students
Students from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello protesting in 2009<br />  Credit: René Reinsberg

Students from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello protesting in 2009
Credit: René Reinsberg

On Monday, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein voiced concern over the detention of a Venezuelan opposition leader, Leopoldo López, and more than 69 others who were involved in months-long public protests that began in February 2014 in response to the country’s ailing economy, high rate of violence, and sharp political divisions. “The prolonged and arbitrary detention of political opponents and protesters in Venezuela is causing more and more concern internationally … It is only exacerbating the tensions in the country,” High Commissioner Al Hussein stated. [OHCHR Press Release] Read more

« Older Entries