Archive for the 'IACHR' Category

Inter-American Commission and Oxfam sign cooperation agreement on human rights in Latin America

March 5, 2019

On 4 March 2019 it was announced that Oxfam and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) signed a cooperation agreement on February 25, 2019 to promote and protect human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, with special emphasis on economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and on the crucial role of human rights defenders. The agreement is for five years, to implement a plan including projects on research and the exchange of information linked to the situation of human rights in the region, the protection of human rights defenders and the provision of joint training processes targeting civil society organizations.

Cooperating with the IACHR offers Oxfam a great opportunity to strengthen democracy in our countries and to weakening the current pattern of closing spaces for civil society,” said Simon Ticehurst, Oxfam’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

We are very excited about signing this agreement. The excellent work Oxfam does to find lasting solutions to poverty is extremely interesting for the IACHR and for its Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights. Based on that, we will be developing high-impact joint projects to fight that scourge,” said IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão.

Over the past year, the IACHR has expressed its concern about the lack of guarantees for the exercise of human rights in several countries in the region. The Commission has also held hearings on issues like Central American migrant caravans, legal proceedings on the murder of human rights defender Berta Cáceres in Honduras, and the growing safety problems faced by defenders in Latin America.

In the context of this new deal, Oxfam will join forces with the IACHR to ensure the exercise of human rights.

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Inter-American Commission on role of Human Rights Defenders in Trinidad & Tobago case

May 15, 2014

It is not often that we can write about Trinidad and Tobago but when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights [IACHR] calls on Trinidad and Tobago “to fully investigate and prosecute” those responsible for the murder of prominent Senior Counsel, Dana Seetahal, there is a good reason. The former state prosecutor and magistrate, was shot and killed on 4 May. This is reinforced by the legal reasoning of the IACHR which recalls “”.  ….in this sense, acts of violence and other attacks perpetrated against human rights defenders not only affect the guarantees that every human being must enjoy, but also seek to undermine the fundamental role that human rights defenders play in society and leave all those for whom they fight defenseless. “The work of human rights defenders is essential to building a solid and enduring democratic society, as they play a leading role in the pursuit of the full attainment of the rule of law and the strengthening of democracy.

via Inter-American body calls for full probe into her murder | Trinidad Express Newspaper | News.

Lolita Chávez about land and life in peril in Guatemala

January 29, 2014

This time just a short presentation of Guatemalan human rights defender Lolita Chávez who spoke in Ottawa, Canada, for a group of supporters some time ago (March 2013): Lolita Chávez says it is love of life that motivates her to risk her own as an outspoken Maya Kiche activist against racism, mining, and hydroelectric project developments in the highlands of Guatemala. As a result of her leadership in Guatemala’s Indigenous movement, she is a frequent target of threats, accusations and attempts to label her as working against the national interest, as some sort of enemy of the state. Read the rest of this entry »

UN experts and Inter-American Commission issue joint call to protect HRDs in Mexico

May 15, 2012

On 14 May 2012 an exceptional group of international experts urged the Government of Mexico to protect better Human Rights Defenders and journalists.  “The killings and threats repeatedly suffered by rights defenders and journalists in Mexico must stop immediately,” urged a group of four experts from the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, calling on the Government to move ahead with the swift promulgation and effective implementation of the ‘Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists’.

Highlighting the immediacy of the threats facing defenders and journalists, the experts also urged the Government to implement existing protection mechanisms as a matter of urgency, in order to avoid further attacks and loss of life and to complement the new provisions when they come into effect.The Bill, which has been approved by both chambers of the Federal Congress, seeks to guarantee and safeguard the life, integrity and security of human rights defenders and journalists by creating a mechanism with the authority to implement measures to protect those at risk, as well as at preventing such risks from arising in the future.

“Human rights defenders in Mexico desperately need the State’s effective protection now,” said Margaret Sekaggya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. “They continue to suffer killings, attacks, harassment, threats, stigmatization and other serious human rights violations.”  “The State has to implement, as a matter of priority, a global protection policy for human rights defenders. The lack of appropriate and effective systems for implementing specialized protection measures are related to the situation of defenselessness in which many human rights defenders find themselves, which has caused the death of many of them in recent years,” stressed Santiago A. Canton, the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the Rapporteurship of Human Rights Defenders*.

“We have to break the cycle of impunity in Mexico, which is becoming an increasingly violent place for journalists,” said Frank La Rue, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. “The recent killing of four press workers in Veracruz underscores the dire need for concrete steps to be taken to guarantee the safety of journalists and put an end to impunity.”

Catalina Botero, Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, stressed that “safeguarding journalists and human rights defenders is not only compatible with the fight against crime, it is an essential element of this struggle. The Mexican authorities should take immediate measures to protect those journalists and human rights defenders that are being threatened, as well as to make definitive advances in the struggle against impunity for the crimes that have been committed against them.”

The four experts commended the Federal Congress for approving the Bill, pointing out that it would provide added impetus and sustainability to existing protection frameworks, while also strengthening these frameworks.The Bill was drafted in consultation with civil society organizations, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico provided technical advice throughout the drafting process.

The human rights experts praised the consultative process which allowed multiple stakeholders to play an important role in the drafting of the Bill, and called for the same participatory approach throughout the implementation process. However, they emphasized the urgency of providing effective protection to those at risk and ensuring that human rights violations against journalists and human rights defenders do not go unpunished. 

For more information:
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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights creates Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders

April 13, 2011

In my post of 5 april I referred to the report of a large group of NGOs denouncing thousands of violations of rights of Human Rights Defenders. On 7 April the  Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), reported the establishment of an Office of the Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. The first Rapporteur will be Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez. The Office of the Rapporteur has to foster greater support and visibility to the contribution of human rights defenders and justice operators – who are also included in the mandate – in constructing a democratic society. The Observatory welcomed the IACHR decision and expressed the hope that it will contribute to encourage states to take action for guaranteeing the safety of human rights defenders according to international law and through effective measures of prevention, protection, and investigation, in order to improve the conditions in which human rights defenders in Latin America have to carry out their work. For further information, you could contact: in OMCT: Eric Sottas, Andrea Meraz: + 41 22 809 49 39, or in FIDH: Karine Appy, Arthur Manet: + 33 1 43 55 25 18

23 NGOs denounce over 2000 violations re Human Rights Defenders in the Americas

April 5, 2011

Most of us think that the situation of human rights defenders in the Americas has at least slightly improved over the last years. NGO reports seem to debunk this. The 2010 report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur points out that between 2004 and 2009, over 146 complaints of threats against human rights defenders were filed in the Americas (mostly Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, and Peru). Now, on 29 March 2011, a group of 23 NGOs from 11 countries has concluded that the situation is even worse with over 2000 cases since 2002. According to their research, in Colombia more than 1000 human rights defenders were victims of aggression including murder, threats, arbitrary detention, and torture; in Guatemala, 1072 acts of aggression were recorded, and at least 50 human rights defenders have been murdered in Honduras since the coup d’état. At the meeting of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR), where this information was made public, NGOs placed special emphasis on the increase in illegitimate state intelligence activities against human rights defenders.

The organizations called on the IACHR to create a specific office or rapporteurship for the protection of human rights defenders.  They also asked the IACHR to demand that states adopt effective protection measures and improve public policies that guarantee the work of defenders. States were also urged to investigate the acts of violence and threats carried out against people who put their lives at risk to denounce situations of social injustice.

For further information contact: Milli Legrain of CEJIL, Tel +1.202 319 3000,