Nº 16/00

1.       On October 20, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission” or “the IACHR”) closed its 108th regular session.  Commission Chairman Dr. Hélio Bicudo, First Vice-Chairman Dean Claudio Grossman, Second Vice-Chairman Dr. Juan E. Méndez, and Commissioners Dr. Marta Altolaguirre, Prof. Robert K. Goldman, Dr. Peter Laurie, and Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo participated in the sessions. The meetings were prepared and coordinated by Executive Secretary Amb. Jorge E. Taiana and Assistant Executive Secretary Dr. David J. Padilla.  The Commission was honored to Prof. Emmanuel V.O. Dankwa, President of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights present at its sessions as an observer. 


2.       During the session, the Commission in plenary decided to issue a recommendation pertaining to asylum and its relationship to international crimes. The recommendation, the whole of which is attached as an annex, expresses in pertinent part: 

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the exercise of the power conferred on it by Article 41(b) of the American Convention, hereby recommends to the Member States of the OAS that they refrain from granting asylum to any person alleged to be the material or intellectual author of international crimes. 


          3.       The Commission also approved the “Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression,” with a view to the more effective protection of this right, fundamental for the consolidation and development of democracy.  The Declaration, which consists of thirteen principles, was prepared by IACHR Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Dr. Santiago Canton, and consulted widely with sectors of civil society specialized in this area.  Freedom of expression is defined in that document as “an indispensable requisite for the very existence of a democratic society.”  The full text of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression is available on the Commission’s web site:


          4.       The Commission continued with its study of numerous individual communications alleging violations of human rights protected by the American Convention and/or the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and it adopted a total of 50 reports regarding the corresponding individual petitions and cases.  The 29 reports on cases and petitions in which the IACHR’s decisions have been made public are listed below. 

          A.  Decisions  

          i. Inadmissibility         

  • Fernando Ribadeneira, Case 12.267 – Report 67/00, Ecuador;

  • Rosa Margarita Araúz Molina, Case 11.630 – Report 101/00, Nicaragua;

  • Salomón Homsani Abadí y otros, Case 11.799 – Report 102/00, Panama;

  • Aldemaro Romero and other, Case 11.720 – Report 68/00, Venezuela;

  • Braulio Jatar Alonso, Case 11.724 – Report 69/00, Venezuela;

  • Gladis Cardozo Andrade, Case 11.797 – Report 70/00, Venezuela.

ii. Admissibility 

  • Juan José López, Case 11.395 – Report 56/00, Argentina;

  • Mario Gómez Yardez, Case 11.796 – Report 91/00, Argentina;

  • Maya indigenous communities, Case 12.053 – Report 78/00, Belize;

  • Gilson Nogueira Carvalho, Case 12.058 – Report 61/00, Brazil;

  • Norberto Javier Restrepo, Case 11.726 – Report 84/00, Colombia;

  • Hernando Osorio Correa, Case 11.727 – Report 62/00, Colombia;

  • La Granja, Ituango, Case 12.050 – Report 57/00, Colombia;

  • Juan Ramón Chamorro Quiroz, Case 11.495 – Report 89/00, Costa Rica;

  • Alejandra Matus Acuña, Case 12.142 – Report 55/00, Chile;

  • Daniel David Tibi, Case 12.124 – Report 90/00, Ecuador;

  • Ernst Otto Stalinski, Case 11.887 – Report 63/00, Honduras;

  • Leoncio Florian López y otros, Case 11.849 – Report 65/00, Peru;

  • María Mamérita Maestranza Chávez, Case 12.191 – Report 66/00, Peru.

          iii.      Friendly Settlement  

  • Edison Patricio Quishpe Alcívar, Case 11.421 – Report 93/00, Ecuador;

  • Byron Roberto Cañaveral, Case 11.439 – Report 94/00, Ecuador;

  • Angela Javier Ruales Paredes, Case  11.445 – Report 95/00, Ecuador;

  • Manuel Inocencio Lalvay Guaman, Case 11.466 – Report 96/00, Ecuador;

  • Carlos Juela Molina, Case  11.584 – Report 97/00, Ecuador;

  • Marcia Irene Clavijo Tapia, Case 11.783 – Report 98/00, Ecuador;

  • Carlos Santiago y Pedro Andrés Restrepo, Case  11.868 – Report 99/00, Ecuador;

  • Kelvin Vicente Torres Cueva, Case  11.991 – Report 100/00, Ecuador;

iv.      Merits 

5.       The IACHR also analyzed the merits of two cases in which it established that there was no violation of the American Convention.  Accordingly, it decided to approve the reports and publish them: 

  • X and Z, Case 11.676 – Report 71/00, Argentina;

  • Marcelino Hanríquez and others, Case 11.784 – Report 73/00, Argentina.

          B.       Cases closed 

          6.       Pursuant to Article 48 (1) (b) of the American Convention and Article 35 (c) of the Commission’s Regulations, the IACHR examined several files and decided to declare the following cases closed: 

  • Horacio Héctor Guerrero and another, Case 11.781, Argentina;

  • Susana y Alberto Eguez, Case 12.184, Argentina;

  • Jorgina María Freitas Fernandes, Case 11.600, Brazil

  • De Marchi, Case 12.001, Brazil;

  • Reza Eghdam, Case 11.318, Canada;

  • Tamara Minakina, Case 11.839, Canada;

  • María Joyce Francis, Case 11.844, Canada;

  • Juan Velásquez Méndez y otros, Case 11.047, Guatemala;

  • Rodolfo Asmitia Jiménez, Case 11.146, Guatemala;

  • Noel de Jesús Beteta y otros, Case 11.211, Guatemala;

  • Brenda Lisette Mérida, Case 11.408, Guatemala;

  • José Aristides Sánchez Herdocia, Case 10.739, Nicaragua;

  • Blanca Rojas, Case 10.842, Nicaragua;

  • Silvio René Vega Zúñiga y otros, Case 10.950, Nicaragua;

  • Luis Pérez Calero, Case 10.998, Nicaragua;

  • Adalberto Treminio Amador, Case 11.018, Nicaragua

  • Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo, Case 11.281, Nicaragua;

  • Ramiro Herdocia Castellón, Case 11.398, Nicaragua;

  • Pedro Antonio Mora Rico, Case 10.597, Venezuela;

  • Amílcar Rodríguez Macías, Case 10.637, Venezuela;

  • Asunción Fajardo y otros, Case 10.641, Venezuela;

  • Fidel José Jiménez Fuentes, Case 10.914, Venezuela.

          C.      Hearings and Friendly Settlements 

7.       The Commission held 52 hearings on individual cases, the general human rights situation in different countries of the hemisphere, precautionary measures, follow-up on recommendations, and other issues over which it has competence.  The follow-up hearings served to assess compliance with the recommendations issued by the Commission in previous reports on individual cases. 

8.       The Commission has continued to promote and give priority to the friendly settlement of cases through the mechanism established by Article 48 (1) (f) of the American Convention.  Accordingly, the Commission held a series of hearings and working meetings for this purpose with petitioners and representatives from different OAS Member States. 


9.       On October 18, 2000, the new “Rómulo Gallegos” Library of the IACHR was inaugurated, with the presence of the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Ambassador Eduardo Gutiérrez Sáenz de Buruaga.  The improvements made to the Commission Library were made possible thanks to the generous financial cooperation of the Government of Spain, initiated in 1999.  The IACHR values highly the contribution of that country, within a framework of increasing support to activities of promotion and protection of human rights and democratic development in the Americas. 


10.     On October 5, 2000, Guatemala deposited the instrument of ratification of the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“the Protocol of San Salvador”) ”).  This important event was carried out during an official ceremony convened by the Secretary General of the OAS, with the participation of representatives of the State of Guatemala and the Inter-American Commission. 

11.     The IACHR congratulates the State of Guatemala for this initiative and it encourages all member States of the OAS to continue to ratify the instruments of the inter-American system of human rights with a view to the full incorporation of such States into the system. 


          12.     On October 3, 2000, the Commission filed a request before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for provisional measures under Article 63(2) of the American Convention in Case 12.235.  The purpose of these measures is the protection of the life and physical integrity of the members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, in Apartadó, Department of Antioquia, Colombia.  Since the Peace Community was founded in 1997, its members have been subjected to grave and continuous acts of violence and harassment by paramilitary groups that operate in that region.  On October 9, 2000, through a Resolution issued by its President, the Inter-American Court granted the Commission’s request. 

          13.     During the sessions, the IACHR received information, according to which the Executive Branch pardoned, for humanitarian reasons, two persons who are alleged victims in cases pending before the Inter-American Commission: Francisco Xavier Morales Zapata (Case 11.167) and Juan Francisco Tulich Morales (Case 12.171).  These persons, both gravely ill, were imprisoned in Peruvian jails, and the Commission had asked that State to adopt precautionary measures pertaining to their medical care.  The Inter-American Commission considers that decision of the State of Peru to be positive. 

          VII.     REGULATIONS OF THE IACHR      

          14.     The Inter-American Commission has dedicated an important amount of time during its sessions to the study of a set of draft reforms to its Regulations.  The reform process has been carried out in an open manner, and the Commission has considered the commentaries, documents and observations presented in a timely fashion by the OAS Member States and some two hundred nongovernmental organizations.  The Commission considers that the reform of its Regulations is an essential issue in the process of strengthening of the inter-American system for the protection and promotion of human rights. 

          VIII.    ON-SITE VISITS 

          15.     Among the activities programmed for next year, the IACHR has been invited to carry out on-site observations to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and the Republic of Panama, by the respective States.  Also, the Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the OAS, on behalf of that State, has invited the Inter-American Commission to carry out an on-site visit to observe the situation of migrant workers and their families in the border region between that country and Mexico.

           16.     The Commission initiated the preliminary consideration of the dates on which those visits are to be undertaken, and it shall make them public once coordination with the States is completed. 


17.     At the request of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, the Secretary General of the OAS, Dr. César Gaviria, convened a meeting between the Commission and representatives of CARICOM countries, led by the Attorney-General of Jamaica, the Honorable Arnold Joseph Nicholson. 

18.     During the meeting there was an exchange of views on the procedures and jurisprudence of the Commission in relation to the system of petitions, as well as on ways of strengthening understanding and cooperation between CARICOM Member States and the Commission.   

19.     The Commission offered to meet with the CARICOM Attorneys-General at their convenience to further the dialogue.  The IACHR also informed the meeting that it was planning to hold two seminars in the Caribbean in the near future with a view to further enhancing the understanding and participation of the Caribbean in the inter-American human rights system.


20.     The President of the IACHR, Dr. Hélio Bicudo, participated in the October 19, 2000 session of the OAS Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs to continue the dialogue on the strengthening of the inter-American system for the protection and promotion of human rights, at the invitation of Ambassador Margarita Escobar, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the OAS and President of that Committee.  Likewise, Dr. Juan E. Méndez, Second Vice President and Rapporteur for the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families participated in a meeting of that Committee which pertained to this thematic area. 

21.     Ms. Soledad Alvear, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chile, invited the Inter-American Commission to carry out an extraordinary session in that country next year.  The IACHR has accepted the invitation, and it shall determine the dates with the Chilean State.  

* * * * * * * 

22.     The Commission will hold its next special session on December 4-8, 2000.


Washington, D.C., October 20, 2002