Nº 9/07




Washington, D.C., February 26, 2007 - The President of the Inter-American Commission on Human rights (IACHR), Florentín Meléndez; the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza; and the President of the Permanent Council of the OAS, Ambassador Maria Luján Flores, inaugurated today the 127th period of sessions of the IACHR emphasizing the important role of the Commission in the protection and promotion of human rights in the region.


The Secretary General of the OAS emphasized the “invaluable contributions” from the IACHR “in the consolidation of the rule of law in the Americas and in the development of international standards for the protection of human rights.”   The President of the Permanent Council, in turn, said that the “visible increase of activity” of the IACHR is evidence of the “well earned prestige” and “of the positive estimation of its performance.”


The President of the IACHR mentioned “important advances” in the situation of the human rights in the continent but emphasized that the Commission continues to be concerned over the “alarming situations that affect the full guarantee of human rights in the region.” In this sense, Commissioner Meléndez stated that the Commission observes “with deep concern that union leaders, witnesses and victims of human rights violations continue to be murdered throughout the region with the intention of silencing their demands for social vindication, justice and reparation through the use of the existing legal mechanisms to achieve this purpose.”


The President of the CIDH highlighted the “worsening situation of overcrowding and violence that characterizes the great majority of the penitentiary systems in the region,” a problem that “the authorities have not addressed with due diligence.” In this sense, he announced that the Commission will emit a Declaration of Principles on the Protection of Persons Deprived of Liberty in order to assist States in formulating adequate public policies on this matter.


Likewise, he announced that during the period of sessions that commenced today, the IACHR will initiate a study on the relationship between human rights and public policies on public security. “The inhabitants of the region continue to face threats to their safety from terrorism, drugs, the trafficking of persons, gang violence and common crimes. When responding to these threats, States must adopt public policies in accordance with their obligation to respect and guarantee human rights,” said the President of the IACHR. During the 127th period of sessions several public hearings on this subject will be held.


Commissioner Meléndez was elected President of the IACHR in the election held today, during which Paolo Carozza was elected First Vice-president and Victor Abramovich Second Vice-president. The IACHR also comprises the following Commissioners Clare K. Roberts, Evelio Fernandez Arévalos, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and Freddy Gutiérrez. The Executive Secretary of the IACHR is Dr. Santiago A. Canton. During the 127th period of sessions, which be held until March 9th, the IACHR will consider petitions, cases, precautionary measures, and thematic and general reports on human rights.



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Press contact: Maria-Isabel Rivero,