No.  30/03





1.       On October 24, 2003 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded its 118th regular session. At the outset, following the resignations, for reasons of incompatibility, of Marta Altolaguirre and Juan E. Méndez, the IACHR elected a new board of officers: José Zalaquett, President; Clare K. Roberts, First Vice-President; and Susana Villarán, Second Vice-President.  The other members of the IACHR are Commissioners Robert K. Goldman and Julio Prado Vallejo.  The Executive Secretary of the Commission is Santiago A. Canton.


2.       During the session, the Inter-American Commission adopted 80 reports on individual cases and petitions, 10 reports on friendly settlement, and several specific resolutions. During the week of October 14-20, the Commission held 50 hearings on individual cases and petitions, precautionary measures, and on general and specific situations relating to human rights.


3.       The IACHR expresses its concern over the problems that several petitioners, victims, witnesses and experts encountered in obtaining visas, which forced the cancellation of some hearings. The Commission has made, and will continue to make, representations to the United States government to avoid the repetition of such problems, which have a serious effect on efforts to protect the human rights of users of the system.


4.       The Inter-American Commission received general information on Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Venezuela. It also received a report on the right to freedom of expression, the rights of children, the rights of indigenous peoples, the rights of women, sexual and reproductive rights, the rights of refugees, and the rights of the victims of death squads.


5.       The IACHR also received reports on the promotion of racial equality in Brazil, on the situation of Afro-Colombian communities in Buenaventura, Colombia, on racial discrimination in the United States, on affirmative action in the Americas, and on the situation of persons deprived of their liberty in the hemisphere.


6.       As part of its mandate, the Inter-American Commission issued a resolution on the prosecution of international crimes (Resolution No. 1/03). It also received information on the status of freedom of expression in Mexico and Honduras from the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, who reported on visits to those countries.


7.       The IACHR once again expresses its gratitude to those who attended its hearings, either in their personal capacity or as petitioners, and to the representatives of member States of the OAS who, by their presence, have supported the work of protecting human rights in the hemisphere. The Commission notes in particular the presence of senior governmental authorities, including Ministers and Undersecretaries of State, Prosecutors and Attorneys General of several countries, who demonstrated the willingness of their respective States to engage in dialogue.


8.       The Inter-American Commission yesterday received Ambassador Eduardo Gutiérrez, Permanent Observer of the Kingdom of Spain to the OAS, who announced a generous financial contribution from the Spanish International Cooperation Agency.


9.       During this session, the IACHR continued to analyze trends affecting the stability of democratic institutions in the hemisphere, finding examples both of progress and of inadequacies. Among the former, the IACHR notes the existence of freer and more open societies, with a multiplicity of private players and organizations that have established international linkages, thereby strengthening the legitimacy of democracy and human rights. Nevertheless, some serious problems persist: underdeveloped institutions (as is the case with the judiciary in several countries) and poorly trained security forces (which have been unable to articulate properly the inherent relationship between respect for human rights and public security). The Commission is seriously concerned with problems of discrimination and violence that affect the majority of women in the hemisphere. Indigenous people, communities of African descent, children and persons with disabilities have still not achieved de facto equality in terms of their full and free development, and in some countries they do not even have legal equality. As well, the Commission notes with concerned that our region is the most unequal in the world in economic and social terms. The recognition of economic, social and cultural rights remains a distant goal for broad sectors of our society.


10.     The Inter-American Commission declares its special concern for the situation of human rights defenders in the hemisphere. Since its last regular session, many such defenders have been assassinated, while others have been subject to constant threats of harassment in the conduct of their work. The Commission calls upon States to guarantee their full protection.


11.     The Commission has repeatedly declared that democracy and the rule of law are necessary conditions for the enjoyment and respect of human rights in any society. This point was recognized by member States in the recently adopted Inter-American Democratic Charter. In this context, the Commission has been closely following the situation in several countries.


12.     With respect to Colombia, there are public reports to indicate that security has improved in some of the country's urban areas. Yet the situation of violence (in particular against vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples and communities of African descent) in the context of the ongoing armed conflict remains very grave. These human rights violations are primarily attributable to paramilitary groups that operate in vast regions of the country, frequently with the acquiescence of State agents. As well, dissident armed groups have been responsible for bombings, assassinations and kidnappings of defenseless civilians, acts that have been publicly denounced by the Inter-American Commission. The Commission is also concerned by reports of violence and harassment against human rights defenders, labor unionists, social leaders and journalists working in Colombia. On this point, the IACHR had to seek clarification of recent statements by the highest State authorities questioning the work of human rights organizations and putting their members' lives at risk. The IACHR welcomes the statement made before the Commission by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, reaffirming the policy of supporting the work of these organizations.


13.     With respect to Guatemala, the IACHR received reports on the continuing deterioration of the situation of human rights defenders and journalists, who are under constant threat from illegal armed groups, and on the impunity that surrounds those responsible for massive violations of the right to life and other human rights, violations that amounted to genocide against the Mayan people during the domestic armed conflict, as well as the still unresolved situation of thousands of children who disappeared during that conflict.


14.     During the last year the Inter-American Commission has noted a steady deterioration in the rule of law in Guatemala. Impunity, corruption, organized crime, intolerance and political violence, as well as the social exclusion of various groups, constitute a serious threat of backsliding in the effective enforcement of the rule of law, and an obstacle to the full enjoyment of the human rights that the American Convention recognizes for all persons. The situation is becoming even worse as Guatemalan citizens prepare to vote for their future leaders.


15.     Since its visit to Haiti in August 2003, the IACHR has continued to be alarmed by the spread of politicized violence, to which the response of the authorities has been inadequate or insufficient, in light of their obligation to guarantee the full right to freedom of expression and to maintain public security using necessary and proportionate means.


16.     The Inter-American Commission also reiterates its concern over the lack of progress in the administration of justice, specifically with respect to the independence of the judiciary, which is an essential element for ensuring the right to judicial protection and for ending impunity and ensuring the rule of law in Haiti.


17.     In pursuit of its mandate to stimulate the conscience of the peoples of the hemisphere, the IACHR has alerted the authorities, Venezuelan society and the international community to the progressive worsening of the human rights situation in Venezuela, and the collapse of the rule of law in that country. In this respect, the Commission has used the various mechanisms provided in the American Convention for the protection of human rights, such as the case system, the adoption of precautionary measures, the request for provisional measures from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, on-site visits and press releases.


18.     The Inter-American Commission expresses its serious concern over the fact that the Venezuelan State has fallen far short in complying with the precautionary measures, provisional measures and resolutions of the Commission and the decisions of the Court. The Commission reiterates its determination, in keeping with its mandate, to continue monitoring the respect for human rights in Venezuela.


19.     Finally, the IACHR declares its concern over the human rights situation in Cuba, the only country of the Americas that does not have a democratic form of government. The Commission notes that the Cuban State continues to pursue a repressive policy, particularly against groups or individuals seeking to exercise their political rights.


20. The Inter-American Commission was prompt to condemn the execution by the Cuban State of Lorenzo Enrique Castillo, Bárbaro Leodán Sevilla García and Jorge Luis Martínez Isaac, who were accused and convicted of commandeering a yacht in Havana harbor, taking the passengers as hostages. Those executions took place in the early morning of April 11. In the Commission's view, the summary nature of their trial, which resulted in the imposition of the death penalty, failed completely to respect due process. The execution therefore amounts to arbitrary deprivation of life. The Inter-American Commission also declares its concern over the arrest of more than 70 individuals including independent journalists, members of human rights groups, and political activists.


21.     During the sessions concluding today, the Inter-American Commission followed closely the unfolding of the serious events that have shaken Bolivia, and that have resulted in the loss of many lives. The Commission stresses the need and urgency of a thorough, impartial and objective investigation of the crimes that were committed, and prosecution and punishment of those responsible. In particular, there must be investigation of the responsibility of those who ordered, encouraged or tolerated the presence of armed groups and individuals in the midst of a civic march. All the victims must be allowed access to justice through the prevailing procedural mechanisms. It is the duty of the authorities who hold public power in Bolivia to see that justice is done, not only to honor those victims, but also to demonstrate the State's commitment to the eventual restoration of democratic institutions and the rule of law.


22.     The Inter-American Commission reiterates that the institutions of a constitutional state are inseparable from the concept of democracy, which is the fundamental basis for the enjoyment and protection of human rights in our hemisphere. In this respect, the Commission calls upon States of the region to continue their efforts to deepen and strengthen democratic institutions, and it reiterates their obligation to find adequate responses to the challenges inherent in this task, within the national and international mechanisms for the protection of human rights.


Washington DC, October 24, 2003.










1.       The IACHR pursued its study of numerous individual petitions and cases alleging violations of the human rights protected by the American Convention, the American Declaration and other inter-American instruments, and it adopted reports on more than 80 individual cases and petitions.


2.       The reports approved by the Inter-American Commission reflect some of the structural problems that still persist in the region relating to human rights, such as respect for the guarantees of due process and judicial protection, the rights of children, indigenous peoples and women, and economic, social and cultural rights.


3.       The IACHR is pleased to report that it approved 10 friendly settlement reports, and it encourages States and victims' representatives to continue their efforts to seek friendly settlement in the more than 90 cases and petitions where such procedures are underway.


4.       The Inter-American Commission approved reports on the merits of 18 cases. Those reports were transmitted to the respective member States, pursuant to article 50 of the Convention or article 43 of the IACHR's rules of procedure, as appropriate. A list of the reports on merits, where the Commission's decision has been made public, is included with this report.




          A.      ADMISSIBILITY


-          Christian D. Domínguez Domenichetti – P11.819, Report 51/03, Argentina

-          Gabriel Egisto Santillán – P12.159, Report 72/03, Argentina

-          Aristeu Guida Da Silva – P12.213, Report 73/03, Brazil

-          Gran Jefe Michael Mitchell – P790/01, Report 74/03, Canada

-          José Milton Cañas Cano and others - P042/02, Report 75/03, Colombia

-          Marcela Andrea Valdés Díaz - P12.337, Report 57/03, Chile

-          Víctor Améstica Moreno and others – P12.233, Report 58/03, Chile

-          Sonia Arce Esparza – P071/01, Report 59/03, Chile

-          Marcel Claude Reyes and others – P12.108, Report 60/03, Chile

-          María and Guillermo Salvador Chiriboga - P12.054, Report 76/03, Ecuador

-          Juan Chaparro – P12.091 and Freddy Lapo – P172/99,  Report 77/03, Ecuador

-          Roberto Moreno Ramos – P4446/02, Report 61/03, United States

-          Former justice workers – P453/00, Report 78/03, Guatemala

-          Guy André François – P139/02, Report 79/03, Haiti

-          Cruz Ávila Mondragón – P12.287, Report 80/03, Mexico

-          Juan García Cruz and Santiago Sánchez Silvestre – P12.288, Report 81/03,

-          Marcelino Gómez Paredes and Cristián A. Núñez – P12.330, Report 82/03,

-          Octavio Rubén González Acosta – P12.358, Report 83/03, Paraguay

-          Carlos A. Mojoli Vargas – P379/01, Report 84/03, Paraguay

-          Monsi Lilia Velarde Retamozo – P12.165, Report 85/03, Peru




-          Oscar Cedeño González - P 166/01, Report 86/03, Costa Rica

-          Kenneth Walker – P12.049, Report 62/03, United States

-          Oscar Siri Zúñiga – P12.006, Report 87/03, Honduras

-          Parque Natural Metropolitano – P11.553, Report 88/03, Panama

-          Mariblanca Staff Wilson and others – P12.303, Report 89/03, Panama

-          Gustavo Trujillo Gonzáles – P581/99, Report 90/03, Peru

-          Elías Santana and others – P453/01, Report 92/03, Venezuela



-          Juan Ángel Greco – P11.804, Report 91/03, Argentina

-          Bolívar Franco Camacho Arboleda – P11.515, Report 63/03, Ecuador

-          Joffre José Valencia Mero and others – P12.188, Report 64/03, Ecuador

-          Joaquín Hernández Alvarado and others -  P12.394, Report 65/03, Ecuador

-          Emilio Tec Pop – P11.312, Report 66/03, Guatemala

-          Irma Flaquer – P11.766, Report 67/03, Guatemala

-          Comunidad San Vicente de los Cimientos – P11.197, Report 68/03, Guatemala

-          José Alberto Guadarrama García – P11.807, Report 69/03, Mexico

-          Augusto Alejandro Zúñiga Paz – P11.149, Report 70/03, Peru

-          María Mamérita Mestanza Chávez – P12.191, Report 71/03, Peru


D.      MERITS


-          Parque São Lucas – Case 10.301, Report 40/03, Brazil




-          Sonia Holder and children - P12.220, Canada

-          Juan Medina Yamunaque – P11.457, Ecuador

-          Cooperativa de Vivienda Comité del Pueblo – P11.493, Ecuador

-          Salvatore Lamincia Penco – P11.818, Ecuador

-          Douglas Boanerges Parada Lorenzana – P10.844, Guatemala

-          Lidia Elizabeth Ramírez – P10.867, Guatemala

-          Celia Lourdes Rosales – P10.868, Guatemala

-          William Amílcar Alarcón and others – P10.902, Guatemala

-          Ricardo Ortiz Jacinto – P10.933, Guatemala

-          Comunidad de Rubelhu and Ramiro Chox – P11.536, Guatemala

-          Jean Philippe Bernard – P11.555, Guatemala

-          Evaristo and Blas Dorado Almanza – Case 11.479, Mexico

-          Carlos Enrique Gual Gamboa – P11.633, Mexico

-          Sebastián Sánchez López and others – Case 11.810, Mexico

-          Michel Henri Jean Chanteau – P11.886, Mexico

-          Enrique Cerda Ramírez – P10.898, Nicaragua

-          Edmundo Barquero Silva – P10.982, Nicaragua

-          Roberto Solórzano Chacón – P11.313, Nicaragua

-          Víctor Jorge Reichert – P12.375, Paraguay

-          Diversas víctimas – P147/01, Paraguay

-          David Aljure Barjun – P11.394, Dominican Republic




5.       During its session, the Inter-American Commission approved publication of a special report on the situation of human rights in the Challapalca Prison, Department of Tacna, Peru.




6.       During the week of October 14-20, 2003, the Inter-American Commission held 50 hearings on individual cases and petitions, precautionary measures and general and specific situations relating to human rights. A complete list of the hearings is attached to this report.


7.       In exercise of its functions, the IACHR also held various working meetings relating to individual cases, petitions and precautionary measures. The Commissioners held working meetings in the presence of the parties, relating to more than 50 petitions and cases from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru. Those working sessions discussed specific aspects of progress on matters at various stages of processing in the inter-American system. In particular, the meetings examined progress in implementing recommendations and precautionary measures, as well as in promoting and finalizing friendly settlements. The IACHR also held meetings with representatives of States and intergovernmental organizations and agencies, to exchange experience and to reinforce coordination of efforts to protect human rights for inhabitants of the hemisphere.


8.       The hearings on individual cases and petitions dealt with questions of admissibility, merits, friendly settlement and follow-up. With respect to precautionary measures, the IACHR received information on their implementation and on the persistence of conditions of gravity and urgency. Following is a list of the hearings held during the 118th regular session, in order of occurrence:



-        Information on summary, extrajudicial or arbitrary executions in Brazil

-        Case 11.994 - Wagner Dos Santos, Brazil

-        Case 12.310 -  Sebastião  Camargo Filho, Brazil

-        Human rights situation in Brazil

-        Promotion of racial equality in Brazil

-        Information on human rights violations committed by State agents in the areas of justice, public security and the system of detention for youths and adults in São Paulo, Brazil

-        Human rights situation in Colombia (first during)

-        Human rights situation in Colombia (second hearing)

-        Human rights situation in Arauca, Colombia

-        Situation of labor union leaders in Colombia

-        Situation of defense lawyers in local Courts, Colombia

-        Comuna 13 of Medellín, Colombia

-        Precautionary measures: Embera Katío del Alto Sinú, Colombia

-        Displaced persons in Cacarica -precautionary measures, Colombia

-        Workers of ECOPETROL – USO, Colombia

-        Situation of Afro-Colombian communities in Buenaventura, Colombia

-        Case 12.009 - Leidy Dayan Sánchez, Colombia

-        Situation of women in Colombia

-        Situation of prisoners in the hemisphere

-        General situation of human rights in Peru

-        Situation of children's rights in Honduras

-        Information on racial discrimination in the United States

-        Information on affirmative action in the Americas

-        General situation of human rights in Venezuela

-        Information on para-police groups in Venezuela

-        Situation of refugees in Venezuela

-        Situation of freedom of expression in Venezuela

-        Precautionary measures for the Comunidad Sarayacu, Ecuador

-        General situation of human rights in El Salvador

-        Situation of human rights and freedom of expression in Guatemala

-        Information on the effects of the domestic armed conflict on the indigenous peoples of Guatemala

-        Situation of women's rights in Guatemala

-        Information on children missing in the domestic armed conflict in Guatemala

-        Implementation of precautionary measures in Guatemala

-        General situation of human rights in Paraguay

-        Case 12.221 - Jorge Omar Gutiérrez, Argentina

-        Follow-up two Report 28/92, Argentina

-        Case 11.856 - Aucan Huilcaman and others, Chile

-        Precautionary measures for persons living with HIV/AIDS, Dominican Republic

-        P 12.229 - Digna Ochoa and others, Mexico

-        Follow-up to the IACHR report on the situation of violence and discrimination against women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

-        Forced disappearances during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Mexico

-        Follow-up to Report 50/99 (Case 11.739 – Héctor Félix Miranda) and Report 130/99 (Case 11.740 – Víctor Manuel Oropeza), Mexico

-        Precautionary measures for prisoners in Guantánamo, United States

-        P 3885/02 – James Rexford Powell, United States

-        Case 12.360 – Santander Tristán Donoso, Panama

-        Information on sexual and reproduction rights in the Americas

-        General situation of human rights in Bolivia

-        General situation of human rights in Cuba

-        General situation of human rights in Barbados


9.       As part of its work program for the session, and with a view to strengthening dialogue with member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the board of officers of the IACHR met with representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Surinam. On these occasions the IACHR received information on specific concerns relating to the protection and promotion of human rights in the region.


10.     The Commissioners also met with representatives of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).


11.     The Inter-American Commission received information on the situation of freedom of expression in Mexico and Honduras from the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, who reported on visits to those countries.


12.     As usual, the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission and the professional staff of the Executive Secretariat met with human rights defenders to receive information and to hear their opinions and specific concerns, and respond to their queries. The IACHR values this opportunity for dialogue with human rights defenders in the region, and will continue to strengthen that dialogue.




13.     Between its 117 and 118th regular sessions, the IACHR presented 13 new cases to the contentious jurisdiction of the Court. This makes for a total of 15 cases submitted to the Court so far in the course of 2003, a number equal to all the cases submitted in the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 combined. The significant increase in the number of cases that the IACHR is pursuing before the Inter-American Court (64 complaints in total) has involved a heavy workload on the Eexecutive Secretariat. During this period the Inter-American Commission submitted three applications for provisional measures for the protection of various persons, and a request to expand measures already ordered by the Court. Below is a brief summary of the 12 cases submitted to the Court since March 2003, which have been notified to the respective States, as well as the provisional measures processed during that period.




14.     Case 12.147, Winston Caesar versus Trinidad and Tobago, was submitted to the contentious jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court on February 26, 2003. On January 10, 1992, the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago convicted Winston Caesar of the crime of attempted rape and sentenced him to 20 years' imprisonment with hard labor, and 15 strokes of the lash (the “cat o’nine tails”), in accordance with the Corporal Punishment Act which permits the imposition of corporal punishment on persons over 16 years of age in Trinidad and Tobago. The Court of Appeals of Trinidad And Tobago confirmed the conviction and the sentence in a ruling of February 28, 1996. The IACHR considered in its complaint that the State imposed this punishment on Mr. Caesar in a manner that violated his right not to be subjected to torture or to other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, which violation was aggravated by the fact that the punishment was imposed after a trial that was marked by undue delay and conditions of detention that fell short of the minimum standards of decency. The complaint was presented with the object of having the Inter-American Court declare violation of articles 5.1, 5.2, 8.1 and 25, in conjunction with failure to observe articles 1.1 and 2 of the American Convention.


15.     On March 17, 2003, the IACHR submitted to the Inter-American Court case 12.313, the Yakye Axa Indigenous Community Versus Paraguay. The facts of the complaint relate to the right to ancestral property of that indigenous community of the Enxet-language people and its members. The Yakye Axa indigenous community's territorial claims have been under litigation since 1993, with no resolution to date, meaning that it has been impossible for the community and its members to assert ownership and possession of their territory. As a result of the situation, the community has been kept in a situation of nutritional, medical and sanitary deprivation that poses a constant threat to the survival of its members and the integrity of the community. The object of the complaint is to have the Inter-American Court establish the violations committed by the State to the prejudice of the indigenous community and its members, with relation to articles 21, 4, 8 and 25, taken together with articles 1.1 and 2 of the American Convention.


16.     Case 12.138, Maria Teresa de la Cruz versus Peru, was submitted to the Inter-American Court by the IACHR on June 11, 2003. Mrs. De la Cruz Flores was arrested by the police on charges of terrorism, and was tried by a "faceless tribunal" which sentenced her to 20 years' imprisonment (decree 25475), and the sentence was subsequently confirmed. The Constitutional Tribunal of Peru, on January 3, 2003, declared certain rules pertaining to that case unconstitutional. In the wake of that ruling, the Peruvian government ordered the National Terrorism Chamber to annul the sentence and the conviction, ex officio and progressively, within 60 days, unless the defendant objected. It also asked that court to declare, if appropriate, that it was improper to prosecute charges of terrorism in secret trials. Nevertheless, Maria Teresa de la Cruz Flores continues to be held on conviction of terrorism. The IACHR asked the Inter-American Court to determine violation of articles 7, 8, 9 and 24 of the American Convention, in conjunction with articles 1.1 and 2 of that instrument.


17.     Case 11.333, Jorge Carpio Nicolle and others versus Guatemala, was submitted to the Inter-American Court on June 13, 2003. The complaint relates to the arbitrary execution of Jorge Carpio Nicolle, a recognized Guatemalan journalist and political figure, Juan Vicente Villacorda, Alejandro Avila Guzmán and Rigoberto Rivas González. It also alleges inhumane treatment of the minor Sidney Shaw. These persons were traveling in a convoy of vehicles when it was surrounded by more than 15 armed men on July 3, 1993, in the Department of Quiche, Guatemala: after identifying the passengers, those men fired point-blank at the boy and his companions. More than 10 years after the extrajudicial execution of Jorge Carpio and his companions, the case remains unresolved, and the IACHR asked the Court to find that the State of Guatemala had violated the human rights protected by articles 4, 5, 8, 13, 19 and 25 of the American Convention, in relation with article 1.1 of that instrument.


18.     On June 14, 2003, the Inter-American Commission submitted a complaint under case 12.132, Ernestina and Erlinda Serrano Cruz versus El Salvador, the first case against that State in the Inter-American Court. The Serrano Cruz girls were seized on June 2, 1982, by soldiers of the “Atlacatl” Battalion of the Salvadoran army during an operation in the municipio of San Antonio de la Cruz, Department of Chalatenango. Ernestina and Erlinda were last seen as they were being transported in a helicopter of the Salvadoran armed forces. Since that time, despite all the representations of their relatives before the Salvadoran authorities to determine their whereabouts, the Serrano Cruz sisters have remained missing. The IACHR asked the Court to find the Salvadoran State internationally responsible for violating articles 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 18, 19 and 25 of the American Convention, in connection with article 1.1 of that instrument.


19.     The complaint in case 12.388, Yatama versus Nicaragua, was presented to the Inter-American Court on June 16, 2003. It referred to the violation by that State of articles 23, 8, 25, 2 and 1.1 of the American Convention to the prejudice of the candidates for mayor, deputy mayor and counselor put forward by the indigenous regional political party Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Asla Takanka (Yatama) for the municipal elections of November 5, 2000, in the Autonomous Region of Atlántico Norte and the Autonomous Region of. Atlántico Sur. The violations consist of the failure to provide recourse to sustain the right of candidates to participate and be elected in the municipal elections of November 5, 2000. The IACHR also asked the Inter-American Court to find the Nicaraguan State responsible for not adopting legislative or other measures necessary to give effect to the rights established in the American Convention, and in particular, for not providing rules in its electoral legislation to facilitate the political participation of indigenous organizations in elections of the Autonomous Region of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, in keeping with customary law and the values and customs of the indigenous peoples of that region.


20.     On June 25, 2003, the Commission submitted to the Inter-American Court a complaint in the case 12.084 Julio Acevedo Jaramillo and others, members of the Municipal Workers’ Union of Lima (SITRAMUN), against the Republic of Peru. The case refers to the failure to enforce domestic court rulings in favor of the members of SITRAMUN. The IACHR asked the Court to find the Peruvian State responsible for failing to fulfill its international obligations as established in article 25 of the American Convention, in connection with article 1.1 of that instrument, because since 1997 it has not given effect to the judicial rulings issued by the Courts of Lima, the Supreme Court Justice of that city in second instance, and the Constitutional Tribunal of Peru, through action for constitutional protection. Those rulings had recognized the rights of the workers of the municipality of Lima belonging to SITRAMUN.


21.     Case 11.620, Rigoberto Acosta Calderón versus Ecuador, was submitted to the Inter-American Court on June 25, 2003. The IACHR requested the Court to establish the international responsibility of the Republic of Ecuador for violation of the American Convention with respect to the prosecution of Rigoberto Acosta Calderón, a Colombian national, who was arrested on November 15, 1989, by the military customs police on suspicion of drug trafficking. While in detention, Mr. Acosta was denied access to a lawyer during the preliminary investigation by the military police, and the court heard his testimony only two years after his arrest. He was never notified of his right to consular assistance, and at no time during his trial for drug trafficking were any narcotics presented in evidence. In particular, the Commission maintained in its complaint that the State is responsible for violating articles 7.3 and 7.5, 8.1, 8.2, 8.2 (d and e), 24 and 25 of the Convention, in conjunction with the obligations of articles 1.1 and 2 of the Convention.


22.     Case 12.124, Daniel David Tibi versus Ecuador, was also presented on June 25, 2003. The purpose of this complaint was to have the Inter-American Court declare the violation of articles 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5, 5.2, 8.2(g) and 8.3, 8.1, 8.2, 8.2(b), 8.2(d and e), 21.1 and 21.2, and 25 of the American Convention, in conjunction with the obligations of articles 1.1 and 2 of the American Convention. Mr. Tibi was arrested on September 27, 1995, without a court warrant, by police officers of the City of Quito, and he was then taken in an airplane to Guayaquil, where he was held illegally in a prison cell for 28 months. The victim declares that he was totally innocent of the charges against him, and that he was tortured on several occasions -- beaten, burned and asphyxiated -- to extract from him a confession of involvement in a narcotics case. Mr. Tibi was a dealer in precious stones and at the time of his arrest property belonging to him was seized in the value of 1 million French francs, which property was not returned to him when he was released on January 2, 1998.


23.     Case 12.101, Marco Antonio Molina Theissen versus Guatemala, was presented to the Inter-American Court on July 3, 2003. The complaint relates to the forced disappearance of Marco Antonio Molina, a boy of 14 years of age who was forcibly abducted from his parents’ home by members of the Guatemalan army on October 6, 1981. This deed was perpetrated in reprisal for the flight of his sister Emma Guadalupe Molina, who the previous day had escaped from a military barracks where she had been arbitrarily detained and tortured. Marco Antonio remains missing since that date. The victim's relatives brought successive actions for habeas corpus, which were completely ineffective. None of the persons who were involved in the arrest and subsequent disappearance of Marco Antonio Molina was ever tried or punished. The object of the complaint is to have the Inter-American Court declare the violation of the human rights enshrined in articles4, 5, 7, 8, 19 and 25 of the American Convention, in relation with article 1.1 of that instrument.


24.     On July 7, 2003, the IACHR presented a complaint in case 12.387, Alfredo Lopez Alvarez versus Honduras. The complaint refers to the arbitrary detention of Mr. Alfredo Lopez Alvarez, a Honduran Garifuna, beginning on April 27, 1997, as the result of trumped-up charges inspired by his role as a social activist, and intended to prevent him from acting as leader of the Garifuna community. The IACHR asked the Inter-American Court to establish the international responsibility of the Honduran State for violation of articles 5, 7, 8, 24 and 25 of the American Convention, in relation with the obligations established in articles 2 and 1.1 of that instrument.


25.     Case 12.189, Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico versus Dominican Republic, is the first case against that country to be brought before the Inter-American Court. The Inter-American Commission submitted the complaint on July 11, 2003, asking the Court to find the Dominican State internationally responsible for the fact that the authorities of the country refused to grant Dominican nationality to the girls Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico, although they were born in the Dominican Republic, and the Constitution establishes the principle of jus soli. By reason of the foregoing, the IACHR asked the Inter-American Court to declare violation of the rights to recognition of juridical personality, judicial guarantees, the rights of the child, and the rights to nationality, to equality before the law and to judicial protection established, respectively, in articles 3, 8, 19, 20, 24 and 25 of the American Convention, in connection with articles 1 and 2 of that instrument.




26.     In the period elapsing between its 117th and 118th regular sessions, the Commission requested the Court to grant three new provisional measures and to expand others previously ordered by the Court.


27.     In the case of the Community Council of Jiguamiando and the families of Curburado (Colombia), the IACHR requested provisional measures ordering the Republic of Colombia to protect the life, personal integrity and right to collective territory of members of the Community Council of Jiguamiando and the families of Curburado (an Afro-Colombian Community) in the Municipality of Carmen del Darien, Department of Choco, in response to a petition submitted by the Interchurch Commission on Justice and Peace. In this case, the IACHR had ordered precautionary measures on November 7, 2000. Nevertheless, violence and harassment against members of this Afro-Colombian community continued and posed a severe and continuous threat to their right to life and personal integrity, as well as their right to remain in the territory to which they were collectively entitled. The Court granted the requested provisional measures in full on March 6, 2003.


28.     In the case of Lysias Fleury (Haiti), the IACHR asked the Court to grant provisional measures to protect the life and personal integrity of Mr. Fleury, a Haitian human rights defender working with the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, who alleged that he had been arrested without a court warrant and had then being detained and severely beaten by police officers and civilians, and that he continues to be threatened by individuals who have mistreated him for his work as a human rights defender. The President of the Court ordered urgent measures to protect the life and personal integrity of Mr. Fleury on March 18, 2003, and the Court granted the provisional measures on June 7, declaring that the State had not effectively fulfilled the urgent measures ordered by the President of the Court.


29.     In the case of Marta Colomina and Liliana Velasquez (Venezuela), the Commission requested provisional measures whereby the Court would ordered the State to protect the life, personal integrity and freedom of expression of the journalists Marta Colomina and Liliana Velasquez, who had suffered an attempt on their lives on the morning of June 27, 2003, when they were on their way to the TV station TELEVEN to present their daily interview program “La Entrevista”. The President of the Court granted urgent measures in the terms requested on July 30, 2003, and the Court ratified its decision by ordering provisional measures on September 8, 2003.


30.     The IACHR also requested the Court to expand the provisional measures granted by the Court in a resolution of November 27, 2002, and reiterated on February 20, 2003, in favor of Luisiana Rios and others (Venezuela), in order to protect the life, personal integrity and freedom of expression of Noé Pernia, a reporter for Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), Carlos Colmenares, a cameraman for RCTV, and Pedro Nikken, a reporter for RCTV. The precautionary measures adopted by the IACHR had produced no practical effect in terms of rectifying the attacks on freedom of expression, or the threats and attempts against the life and personal integrity of the social communication workers of RCTV covered by those measures. Indeed, according to information provided to the Commission, the three journalists continued to suffer physical attacks while they were performing their functions. The measures in question were granted by the President of the Court on October 2, 2003.




31.     The Inter-American Commission continued with the examination and consideration of its Annual Report for 2003, which will be presented to the OAS General Assembly in Quito, Ecuador, in June 2004.




32.     On October 23, 2003, Argentina deposited with the OAS General Secretariat its instrument of ratification of the Additional Protocol to the American Convention in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ("Protocol of San Salvador"). The ceremony was held in the Hall of Heroes of the Main Building of the OAS, in the presence of the Secretary of External Relations of Argentina, Ambassador Jorge E. Taiana, the Secretary General of the OAS, César Gaviria, the President of the Permanent Council of the Organization, Ambassador Salvador Rodezno Fuentes, and the Board of Officers of the Inter-American Commission and its Executive Secretary.


33.     The Inter-American Commission again calls on all member States of the OAS to continue the process of ratifying the inter-American instruments in order to make the system universal and to extend the international protection of fundamental rights to all inhabitants of the Americas.