Category Archives: Inter-American System

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

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

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

IACtHR Concludes 105th Ordinary Session, Orders Provisional Measures, Holds Public Hearing, and Delivers Judgments Involving Forced Disappearance, Indigenous Rights, and Arbitrary Killings

The Inter-American Court holds a hearing in Canales Huapaya et al. v. PeruCredit: IACtHR
The Inter-American Court holds a hearing in Canales Huapaya et al. v. PeruCredit: IACtHR

The Inter-American Court holds a hearing in Canales Huapaya et al. v. Peru
Credit: IACtHR

From October 8 to 17, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights held its 105th Regular Session at its headquarters in San José, Costa Rica. [IACtHR] During this session, the Court handed down three judgments, which will be publicized soon, concerning forced disappearance, indigenous land rights, and arbitrary killings. The Court also issued orders regarding provisional measures in three cases. On October 17, the Court held a public hearing on a pending case, Canales Huapaya et al. v. Peru, involving the right to a fair trial and judicial protection. [IACtHR Press Release (Spanish)] Read more

New Advisory Opinion and Country Visit by the Inter-American Human Rights Bodies Clarify the Rights of Migrant Children

IACHR visits the U.S. southern borderCredit: Daniel Cima / IACHR
IACHR visits the U.S. southern borderCredit: Daniel Cima / IACHR

IACHR visits the U.S. southern border
Credit: Daniel Cima / IACHR

Last month, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights released an Advisory Opinion defining the scope of States’ obligations to protect the rights of migrant children and families. See I/A Court H.R., Rights and Guarantees of Children in the Context of Migration and/or in Need of International Protection, Advisory Opinion OC-21/14, 19 August 2014. State Parties to the American Convention on Human Rights and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man must take this Advisory Opinion into consideration when “designing, adopting, implementing, and applying their immigration policies.” See id.at para. 50. Relatedly, from September 29 to October 2, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights conducted a country visit to the United States, examining the treatment of unaccompanied migrant children who had crossed the southern border into the United States. [IACHR Press Release] The Inter-American bodies’ focus on migrants’ rights comes at a point in time when the United States and Mexico, in particular, are facing scrutiny for their treatment of undocumented migrants – including an influx of children – from Central America. Read more

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