Category Archives: regional human rights protection

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Issues Judgment in Killing of Investigative Journalist

African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in sessionCredit: AfCHPR
African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in sessionCredit: AfCHPR

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in session
Credit: AfCHPR

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights recently delivered four judgments, including a noteworthy decision in the case of the Beneficiaries of the Late Norbert Zongo and others v. Burkina Faso. [AfCHPR] The Court rendered its decisions during its 32nd Ordinary Session, held in from March 10 to 28 at the Court’s seat in Arusha, Tanzania. Read more

IACtHR Hears Cases involving Forced Disappearance, Indigenous Land Rights, Torture, and Violence Against Women in its 50th Special Session

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in sessionCredit: IACtHR
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in sessionCredit: IACtHR

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in session
Credit: IACtHR

From March 31 to April 4, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights celebrated its 50th Special Session at its headquarters in San José, Costa Rica. The Court held public hearings on three pending cases concerning forced disappearance, indigenous land rights, and torture in arbitrary detention. The Court also  conducted private deliberations to prepare its judgment in a case concerning the alleged failure to properly investigate a woman’s disappearance and death. [IACtHR Press Release (Spanish)] Video recordings from the public hearings are archived in the Court’s Multimedia Gallery. Read more

New Educational Videos and Handbooks on the Inter-American Human Rights System

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IJRC is pleased to share some new informational tools for advocates and individual complainants in the Americas, which can now be found in the Online Resource Hub. Our popular animated video and legal handbook on the Inter-American human rights system have been revised to reflect important changes in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Rules of Procedure and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ jurisdiction. In addition the updated English and Spanish versions, new Portuguese and Haitian Creole versions of both of these resources are tailored to assist advocates in Brazil and Haiti.

IJRC is grateful to the International Bar Association Foundation for its invaluable support of this project.

The videos’ 4 animated chapters address the following topics:

1. What is the Inter-American System?

2. What Rights Are Protected by the Inter-American System?

3. How to Present a Petition or Request for Precautionary Measures

4. How the Commission Processes Petitions and Requests

The fifth chapter of each video features interviews with experienced practitioners who share insights into effective advocacy before the Inter-American Commission and Court. To view the five chapters separately, visit IJRC’s Vimeo page.


The legal handbook provides more detailed explanations and sources on the Inter-American System, its history, components, mandate, and jurisprudence. The manual includes specific guidance on preparing petitions, and what petitioners can expect throughout the decision-making process. Other chapters provide more general advice and tips on researching international human rights law and documenting human rights abuses. Readers will find all of the treaties and other instruments applied by the Inter-American Commission and Court, along with those bodies’ governing documents, in the manual annexes.

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For more information, visit IJRC’s webpage on the Inter-American Human Rights System.

International Human Rights Bodies Condemn Violence, Gov’t Responses to Protests in Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela



Tensions have escalated in Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela in recent weeks as political protests have given rise to violent clashes and political upheaval. The United Nations and international human rights bodies have called upon each government to engage in meaningful dialogue to address these conflicts and develop solutions. [OHCHR; COE; UN News Centre] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized that “there should be no place for violence by any side in resolving political differences and disputes.” [UNRead more

IACtHR to Hear Cases Involving Extrajudicial Killings in Peru, Guatemala, and Venezuela during 102nd Regular Session

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hear expert and witness testimony in three pending cases concerning extrajudicial executions, convene two private hearings on States’ compliance with prior decisions, and deliberate on the merits of two cases concerning alleged criminal due process violations during its ongoing 102nd Regular Session, being held from January 27 through February 7 at its headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica. [IACtHR Press Release (Spanish)] Read more

ECtHR Finds Granting Civil Immunity for Torture to Foreign State Officials Does Not Violate European Convention on Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights Credit: ECHR

European Court of Human Rights
Credit: ECHR

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued a judgment last week upholding a British court’s grant of immunity to Saudi Arabia and Saudi officials who allegedly tortured British citizens. See ECtHR, Jones and Others v. United Kingdom, nos. 34356/06 and 40528/06, ECHR 2014, Judgment of 14 January 2014. The UK House of Lords had blocked the plaintiffs’ civil suits on the grounds that Saudi Arabia and its officials were entitled to immunity, a decision the European Court found did not contravene Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to a fair trial. See id.; Jones v. Ministry of Interior for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Others [2006] UKHL 26 (14 June 2006). The decision has been met with a fair amount of criticism. [Opinio Juris; EJIL: Talk!

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ECtHR Finds Mandatory Transmission of Father’s Surname to Child is Discriminatory

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights released a decision in favor of Italian parents whose attempts to give their child her mother’s surname were frustrated by the State’s adherence to traditional naming practices.  ECtHR, Cusan and Fazzo v. Italy, no. 77/07, Judgment of 7 January 2014 (French only).  The Court found the State’s refusal to allow a mother to pass her surname to her children violated the prohibition against discrimination, taken together with the right to respect for private and family life as set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights. [ECtHR]

ECtHR (COE) Read more

European Court of Human Rights to Begin Implementing Stricter Requirements for Individual Applications in 2014

ECtHR (COE)Beginning January 1, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will apply several major changes to its consideration of individual complaints, pursuant to the entry into force of the new Rule 47 of its Rules of Court. [ECtHR Press Release]  The changes to Rule 47 concern the form and content of initial applications themselves, and enforcement of the “six-month rule.” By implementing more stringent requirements, the ECtHR continues to institute reforms aimed at reducing its heavy caseload.  The amendments to Rule 47 are also designed to accelerate the ECtHR’s initial determination as to whether an application is allocated to a judicial formation or is rejected without consideration by the court.

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European Court of Human Rights Hears Extraordinary Rendition Cases, as "War on Terror" Controversies Continue

Hassan v UK

Hearing in Hassan v. UK

Over the past week, the European Court of Human Rights has held hearings in several cases relating to the “war on terror,” at the same time as the United States has forcibly repatriated two Guantanamo Bay detainees, despite their fears of persecution. The following post summarizes these developments and – in follow-up to this previous post - also surveys recent advances in other cases concerning extraordinary rendition, torture, and secret detention sites that have been brought before regional and international human rights bodies.

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