In its recent annual reports, the Commission has been submitting to the OAS General Assembly a number of topics that it felt were especially important regarding respect for and observance of human rights. The Commission has suggested taking specific steps to achieve greater observance of human rights under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights. The General Assembly has adopted resolutions recognizing each of the Commission’s recommendations.


          In its previous Annual Report, for 1983-84, the Commission pointed out the urgent need to continue work to achieve prompt adoption of an inter-American convention defining torture as an international crime. It commented extensively on the proposed Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights defining Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and urged the member states to include the human rights instruction material in its official curricula.


          Without precluding the possibility of reiterating all of these recommendations and urging at this time the adoption of an Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the adoption at the earliest date of a convention defining torture as an international crime, the Commission will also deal with the problem of displacement of people in the region and the protection of refugees, and the need to establish mechanisms to ensure independence and strengthening of the judiciary.





          In 1982, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States adopted Resolution AG/RES. 619 (XII-0/82) instructing the General Secretariat to prepare a preliminary draft Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights defining social, economic, and cultural rights. This begins a process that had remained in suspension after the decision of the Specialized Conference that adopted the American Convention on Human Rights not to include in it a precise definition of economic, social and cultural rights, but rather to refer to them in the context of the OAS Charter, which was reflected in the wording of Article 26 of the Convention.


          After drawing up the preliminary draft requested, the General Assembly adopted in 1983 Resolution AG/RES. 657 (XIII-0/83) requesting the Secretary General to submit the preliminary draft to the member states, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for them to make any comments or recommendations they regarded as pertinent, with a view to holding a meeting in which the member states to the Convention would review both the preliminary draft and the observations and recommendations on it.


          Finally, the General Assembly at its XIV session adopted Resolutions AG/RES. 742 /XIV-0/84), which in operative paragraph 12, invited the member states, and interested organs and agencies to make specific proposals about the rights to be included in the additional protocol and on the institutional mechanism that it should provide for. In response to that request, the Commission will make the following proposals on it.


          Regarding the rights to be included in the protocol, it should first of all be noted that existing international instruments—the Universal Declaration, the American Declaration, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the OAS Charter—have to do with a relatively similar set of rights. The same is true of the preliminary draft drawn up by the OAS General Secretariat.


          In fact, the instruments mentioned include a basic set of rights: the right to work, to education and to health. Added to them are other related rights that have aspects directly connected with them or with measures aimed at putting them into practice. It would therefore appear to be desirable to start with this trilogy of rights and group each of them with the other aspects or related rights.


          In addition, those instruments embody other general rights aimed at the protection of institutions or groups of persons because they are regarded as requiring special consideration. That is the case of protection of the family, set forth in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration, in Article VI of the American Declaration, in Article 10 of the International Covenant and in Article 10 of the Preliminary Draft Additional Protocol. That is also the case of protection of children and young people, contained in Article 25.2 of the Universal Declaration, Article VII of the American Declaration, Article 10 of the International Covenant, and Article 10 of the Preliminary Draft Additional Protocol.


          Regarding specific rights the right to work is considered in the instruments mentioned, together with the rights to fair remuneration, leisure time, hygienic conditions and unemployment insurance, and the rights to organize unions, which includes such important aspects as the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike. Closely connected with the right to work is the right to social security.


          The right to work and other related rights are included in Articles 23 and 24 of the Universal Declaration; in Articles XIV and XV of the American Declaration; in Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the International Covenant; in Articles 31g and 43b and c of the OAS Charter and finally in Article 9 of the Preliminary Draft Protocol. The right to social security is recognized in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration, in Article XVI of the American Declaration, in Article 9 of the International Covenant and in Article 7 of the Preliminary Draft Additional Protocol.


          It should also be pointed out that the American Convention on Human Rights deals with situations connected with the right to work, when it covers in Article 6 the question of forced labor and determines the situations in which work required by the authorities does not constitute forced labor. Since the right to work, in the terms considered in the proposed Additional Protocol, and forced labor, in the terms of Article 6 of the Convention are different aspects, special attention must be given to that difference when the final rules of the Additional Protocol are drawn up, in order to avoid wording that may give rise to conflicting interpretations. The observation made by the International Labour Organization on the formulation contained in Article 2 of the Preliminary Draft Additional Protocol referring to the character of right and of “duty” that labor should have ought to be kept in mind.


          It should be recognized that while the right to social security is closely connected with the right to work, and in many situations, covers the provisions granted to workers, it should also be considered that the right should cover persons who are not working. That is the case of including provisions on unemployment insurance, for example, and provisions on health benefits, which are connected with the consideration of this specific right. In this field of the right to social security, the task of preparing normative rules should take very mucho into consideration the experience of the International Labour Organization, which has conventions regulating that right—such as Convention 102—to which several OAS member countries are States’ parties. The comments on the Preliminary Draft Additional Protocol are also of great interest in this connection.


          The right to health should be accompanied by the right to enjoy other social conditions closely connected with a healthy life, such as decent housing and a pollution-free environment. Because of its special importance, the right to food should be added to these rights. The right to health, together with the right to food and the right to decent housing are considered in Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration, in Article XI of the American Declaration, in Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant, in Article 31 subparagraphs I, j and k of the OAS Charter and Article 11 of the Preliminary Additional Draft Protocol.


          In line with modern trends in the international field, special attention should be given when specific rules are drawn up to the experience of the World Health Organization in executing the guidelines issued by the International Conference on Primary Health Care, which was organized by WHO in conjunction with UNICEF, and was held in Alma-Ata in September 1978.


          Following the technique usually employed in international human rights instruments, the right to education should be accompanied by the right to participate in the cultural life and by the right to enjoy the results of artistic or intellectual creation. The right to education and the other rights connected with it are set forth in Articles 26 and 27 of the Universal Declaration, Articles XII and XIII of the American Declaration, Articles 13 and 15 of the International Covenant, Article 47 of the OAS Charter, and Articles 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the Preliminary Draft Additional Protocol.


          Regarding rights to protect institutions and groups such as the family, the Commission has also stated that in its view the Additional Protocol should cover the situation of certain special groups, such as the handicapped and old people in order to establish provisions to ensure effective enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by those groups. The grounds for this position are contained in the relevant section of the 1983-84 Annual Report, so that the Commission will not repeat its views on that subject here.


          The Commission wishes to cover another aspect connected with the rights to be included in the Additional Protocol, which is the inclusion in some of the present international instrument of political factors that are not human rights per se but are considered necessary to achieve the observance of the rights in question. International cooperation, increased per capita GNP, tax and land tenure systems, and industrialization, and promotion of exports and private investments are some of the factors instrumental in economic development.


          The Commission feels that this approach is not appropriate in defining basic human rights because what is really important for the purposes of an international instrument such as that proposed is the effective observance of rights and not the means through which they are attained, which involves the unpredictable field of politics. In addition, including in the human rights concept such diverse aspects as per capita income, industrialization of capital goods or private investment would be an inappropriate extension of it. That would involve the still unresolved controversy over the right to development, for example, whose inclusion in an instrument like the one proposed does not appear to be wise at this point.


          In short, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights feels that the rights that should be included in the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to define economic, social and cultural rights should be based on the traditional trilogy of the right to work, to education and to health, which should be supplemented with the other rights associated with their implementation that were mentioned above. In addition, the Commission feels that rules should be included to protect institutions and groups that, because of their special characteristics, require preferential consideration by the State in order to achieve effective exercise of economic, social and cultural rights. The Commission is referring here to rules on protection of the family, children, young people, the handicapped and old people.


          The Commission wishes to repeat the views it expressed in its Annual Report for 1983-84 that the control mechanisms to be used by the institution responsible for protecting and promoting economic, social and cultural rights should be appropriate to the characteristics of the right protected.


          For some rights, the existing civil and political rights system might be applicable. That would be the case when a violation occurred because of direct action by the government, that is when the violation might be imputed directly and immediately to the government, and changing the situation would depend on it.


          The nature of other economic, social and cultural rights would require as a control mechanism the use of periodic and obligatory reports submitted by these countries to the agency responsible for protecting and promoting those rights, so that they could be taken into consideration by that agency when it issued its opinion on the matter. This system is appropriate for those rights whose full effectiveness takes time and will make it possible to evaluate the progress achieved. Specific results would therefore be evaluated in relation to economic, social and cultural rights, thus avoiding having the institution responsible for their protection and promotion making determinations about development policies and models themselves.


          The Commission will continue to be concerned with studying this important matter and hopes to be in a position to submit to an early session of the General Assembly the text of a draft Additional Protocol. Moreover, it invites member countries and interested organizations and agencies to submit to it before June 30, 1986, specific proposals on the contents of the proposed Additional Protocol, especially with regard to economic, social and cultural rights, that should be protected and the institutional mechanisms that should be established so that the Commission can consider those proposals when it draws up the preliminary draft.




          According to the recommendations made by the Commission in its Annual Report of 1977,1 the General Assembly of the Organization approved Resolution AG/RES. 368 (VIII-0/78) requesting the Inter-American Juridical Committee to prepare, in cooperation with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a draft convention defining torture as an international crime.2


          The Inter-American Juridical Committee approved at its regular session of January-February 1980, the “Draft Convention Defining Torture as an International Crime,” together with a statement of reasons. The draft was forwarded to the General Assembly with a note of February 29, 1980.3


          It should be noted that in preparing the draft, the Committee made use of the “Draft Convention for the Prevention and Repression of Torture,”4 approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at its 48th session, in compliance with instructions to coordinate with the Juridical Committee in drafting the instrument requested in Resolution 368 of 1978.


          At its tenth regular session (November 1980), the General Assembly adopted Resolution AG/RES. 509 (X-0/80), in the operative part of which it expressed its appreciation to the Inter-American Juridical Committee and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for their work and forwarded the draft Convention, the statement of reasons and the explanations of votes of the Committee members5 to the governments of the member countries for them to make any comments or observations on the draft they deem appropriate and transmit them to the Permanent Council of the OAS so it can make appropriate changes and forward the draft to the eleventh session of the Assembly.


          The Permanent Council reviewed the CJI Draft Convention over the last four years, so the General Assembly through Resolutions AG/RES. 547 (XI-0/81); 624 (XII-0/82) and 664 (XIII-0/83) extended the deadline for reviewing the draft. During the time the Permanent Council conducted this careful review, the Commission has followed with interest in its annual reports6 this codification process that the Permanent Council has successfully accomplished until transmission of the draft to the General Assembly at the tenth regular session (Brasilia, November 1984.)7 That session approved Resolution AG/RES. 736 (XIV-0/84), which provided for the convening of a “Inter-American Specialized Conference to consider the Draft Convention Defining Torture as an International Crime,”8 to be held in 1985.


          The Commission regrets that, for budget reasons, the scheduled Inter-American Specialized Conference could not be held, and it hopes that at this special session of the Assembly, the decision will finally be made to consider and approve the pending draft so that the American States will have for ratification or accession an instrument that will help to eliminate the abominable practice of torture, or at least, to make it an international crime punishable with severe penalties under the domestic law of the states, and regarding which neither the benefits of asylum (diplomatic or territorial) nor of non extradition would be applicable.


          Finally, the Commission wishes to state with regard to the Draft Inter-American Convention Defining Torture as an International Crime, its position regarding approval by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Penalties,9 that the international treaty is in no way inconsistent with the inter-American draft, as shown by the comparative study prepared by the Secretariat of Legal Affairs of the General Secretariat in February 1985. Consequently, the OAS member states should proceed without delay to approve the draft. The Commission wishes to recommend strongly that the General Assembly approve it.




          Since 1980, the Commission has been covering in its Annual Reports the complex problem of refugees in the countries of the Americas, especially the mass displacement of persons who, because of widespread violence in their own countries, intimidation, direct persecution against them or their immediate families or will founded fears that their lives or liberty are in danger, flee to neighboring countries seeking refuge.10


          In those reports, the Commission pointed out “that the epidemic of violence which plagues the continent has also produced a secondary effect which, due to its magnitude, is alarming” and added the following: “the phenomenon of the massive displacement of persons has converted ten percent of the population of one country into refugees. In others, the lack of political participation has caused massive flight in boats and ships of thousands of persons (boat people). Such massive migrations are a challenge for the nations of the hemisphere, which are unprepared for the permanent integration of so many people into their countries.”11


          In its reports to the Assembly, the Commission has likewise referred to the fact that existing international instruments in the OAS framework on asylum and refuge, such as the Convention on Asylum (1928), the Convention on Political Asylum (1933), the Convention on Diplomatic Asylum (1954), and the Convention on Territorial Asylum (1954), are not adequate for the current conditions of this flow of displaced persons in the hemisphere, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean, for reasons that should be repeated, which in summary are as follows: i) political asylum now involves large masses of people where before it was granted only in cases of persecution against well known political leaders or a very small group of people; ii) political refugees are now usually persons without financial resources and are often persons that do not have higher education or job skills; iii) countries have no international obligation to grant asylum, and refusal to grant it may result in violent situations for persons or groups in urgent need of protection; iv) many governments in the region are not disposed to grant refugees asylum in their territories for ideological or political reasons, because they consider that their own national security might be endangered.


          The Commission is concerned at the fact that, with the situation mentioned and despite the urgent problem of asylum and refugees in the hemisphere, adequate means that are based on or organized according to the characteristics and peculiarities of the law of asylum in the Americas, both diplomatic and territorial, and that would provide effective help in seeking a solution to this problem are still lacking. It is clear that, as the Commission indicated in its Reports of 1982-83 and 1983-84, the Organization of American States “has an obligation to help solve the problems indicated, particularly in light of the new refugee situation in recent years.”


          It should also be recalled that not all OAS member countries are yet parties to the American Convention on Human Rights, which recognizes territorial asylum and the right not to be returned to a country (Article 22, 8) and therefore, the proper protection provided by this instrument is not uniform throughout the inter-American system for asylum and refuge; in addition, a number of American countries are not yet parties to the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees (1951) and its additional Protocol (1967) and therefore, such protective measures are not enforced throughout the Americas either.


          In order to fill these gaps, the Commission proposed that the General Assembly consider the possibility of establishing an inter-American authority to provide assistance and protection for refugees in the hemisphere, working “in close cooperation” with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. When it made that proposal, the Commission noted the institutional guidelines for the creation of such an authority, which would be established by the General Assembly through a resolution that the Inter-American Juridical Committee and the IAS might be assigned to draft, because the latter “would seem to be the natural body to become this authority.”12


          The above recommendations were repeated in the Annual Reports of 1982-1983 and 1983-1984, particularly with regard to the establishment of an inter-American authority to deal with the refugee problem, without establishing an organization parallel to that existing in the United Nations, that is, the UNHCR, “because that would duplicate efforts and fail to recognize the admirable work being performed in this field by the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.” On the contrary, what is being sought, as indicated in the reports mentioned, is the establishment of an authority in the OAS that would cooperate closely with the UNHCR in its efforts to achieve observance of the basic rights of refugees and displaced persons. The Commission’s experience in dealing with problems in this area lead it to believe that it would be the appropriate agency to serve as that inter-American authority: the problem of Cuban political refugees; the case of Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic who have been returned to that country; the Haitian refugees in the United States; the problem of Guatemalans in Mexico and Miskitos in Honduras; as well as the numerous complaints and individual cases considered by the Commission are grounds for affirming its view that establishing the authority mentioned is urgently necessary and such authority should devolve upon the Commission itself, which is the appropriate organization to assume the high responsibility involved in this matter. In particular, the Commission is greatly concerned that the problem of resettlement of refugees and displaced persons and the proper respect that the countries of origin as well as the countries of refuge should pay to the principle of nonreturn included in the right “not to be turned back at the borders.”


          On this important matter, the Commission wishes to point out that a “Colloquium on International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama: Legal and Humanitarian Problems,” took place in Cartagena, Colombia (November 19-22, 1984). The meeting was organized jointly with the Law School of the Universidad de Cartagena de Indias, the Regional Center for Third World Studies (COCSET) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, all under the generous auspices of the Colombian Government.


          That Colloquium, which was attended by the Chairman, two members and the Executive Secretary of the Commission, considered the most important aspects of the legal problems of refugees and displaced persons in Central America, such as general principles and specific measures for protection, particularly with regard to situations of mass flight, international instruments for protection and minimum standards for basic rights and basic living conditions in situations of mass flight, including the problem of freedom of movement of refugees and displaced persons, their physical security, removal of them from the borders and the other responsibilities of the state granting asylum, such as respect for the right to non-refoulement of refugees. In addition, the Colloquium dealt with important questions connected with the problem of integrating refugees or displaced persons or repatriating them, stressing that such repatriation must be entirely voluntary.


          As a result of its work, the Colloquium approved the “Declaration of Cartagena” on refugees, which takes note of the commitments on the refugee problem included in the Contadora Act of Peace and Cooperation in Central America, expressed its full agreement with them, then drew up a number of conclusions, that, because of their importance for any program the OAS might carry out in this field, the Commission considers important to reproduce in this chapter, particularly the fifteenth conclusion, which is closely related to the Commission’s goals expressed in previous reports to the General Assembly.


          The text of the conclusions of the Declaration of Cartagena is as follows:


         1. Promote in the countries of the region the adoption of internal laws to facilitate the application of the Convention and the Protocol, and, if necessary, to establish internal procedures and resources for the protection of refugees. In addition, endeavor to have any domestic laws be based on the principles and criteria of the Convention and the Protocol, thus assisting in the necessary process of systematic harmonization of national laws on refugees.


         2. Encourage any states that have not yet ratified or acceded to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol to do so without reservations limiting the scope of those instruments, and invite countries that have made reservations to consider withdrawing them as son as possible.


         3. Reiterate that, in view of the experience gained with the mass influx of refugees in the Central America area, a widespread refugee problem must be dealt with, taking into consideration, in the pertinent section, and in light of the characteristics of the existing situation in the region, the precedent of the OAU Convention (Article 1, paragraph 2) and the doctrines set forth in the reports of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Thus, the definition or concept of refugee recommended for use in the region might, in addition to containing elements from the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, also consider as refugees those persons that have fled from their countries because their life, safety or liberty have been threatened by widespread violence, foreign aggression, domestic conflict, massive violation of human rights or other situations that have seriously disturbed public order.


         4. Ratify the peaceful, apolitical and exclusively humanitarian nature of the granting of asylum or the recognition of the status of refugees and underscore the importance of the internationally accepted principle under which none of this shall be interpreted as an unfriendly act toward refugees’ country of origin.


         5. Reiterate the importance and significance of the principle of nonreturn (including the prohibition of rejection at the borders), as a cornerstone of the international protection of refugees. This operative principle concerning refugees should be recognized and respected in the present state of international law, as a principle of jus cogens.


         6. Reiterate to countries granting asylum that refugee camps or settlements in order areas should be installed in the interior of the country of asylum at a reasonable distance from the borders, with a view to improving the conditions of protection for refugees, to preserve their human rights and to implement projects aimed at their self-sufficiency and integration into the society that is accepting them.


         7. Express concern about the problem of military attacks on refugee camps and settlements that have occurred in several parts of the world and propose to the governments of the countries of Central America, Mexico and Panama that they support measures proposed by the High Commissioner to the Executive Committee of the UNHCR on this subject.


         8. Encourage the countries of the region to establish a system of minimum processing for refugees based on the provisions of the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, and the American Convention on Human Rights, taking into consideration also the conclusions of the UNHCR Executive Committee, particularly number 22 on protection of request for asylum in situations of large scale influx.


         9. Express concern at the situation of displaced persons in their own country. In this connection, the Colloquium urges national authorities and competent international agencies to provide protection and assistance to such persons and help alleviate the situation of anguish in which many of them find themselves.


         10. Urge the member states of the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969 to implement that instrument in their treatment of refugees seeking asylum in their territory.


         11. In countries of the are that have massive numbers of refugees, study the possibility of integrating the refugees into the country’s productive life, using international community resources channeled by the UNHCR to generate or create jobs, thus making it possible for the refugees to enjoy economic, social and cultural rights.


         12. Reiterate the voluntary and individual nature of repatriation of refugees and the need for it to take place under conditions of complete safety, preferably, to the refugee’s place of residence in his country of origin.


         13. Recognize that reunification of families is a basic principle in the refugee problem, which should give rise to a system of humanitarian treatment in the country of asylum and likewise the facilities provided in the cases of voluntary repatriation.


         14. Urge nongovernmental organizations, both international and national, to pursue their praiseworthy efforts to coordinate their activities with the UNHCR and with national authorities in the country of asylum, in accordance with the directives that such authorities indicate.


         15. Promote the most intensive use of the competent agencies of the inter-American system, and especially the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in order to supplement international protection of refugees seeking asylum. Of course, to perform these functions, the Colloquium considers that existing close coordination and cooperation between the Commission and the UNHCR should be strengthened.


         16. Place on record the importance of the OAS/UNHCR cooperation program and the activities that are being carried out, and propose that the first stage concentrate on the problems posed by the mass influx of refugees into Central America, Mexico and Panama.


         17. Encourage the Central American countries and the Contadora Group to disseminate at all levels the domestic and international rules on protection of refugees, and in general, on human rights. In particular, the Colloquium considers it of special importance for universities and centers of higher education to contribute their valuable assistance in such dissemination.


          The Commission fully shares these conclusions and urges member countries to give them their most vigorous support.




          The importance of this topic in connection with the observation and protection of human rights is obvious because an impartial judiciary composed of competent judges is the best guarantee of proper administration of justice, and in the final analysis, of defense of human rights.


          The Commission feels that the problem of strengthening the judiciary so it can properly carry out its duties should be given priority both domestically and by the international organizations concerned. Thus, it feels that first, member countries should take the necessary steps, allocate funds and establish programs for that purpose, and second, it is highly desirable for the OAS to promote by every means available to it and in cooperation and with the support of the governments and public and private agencies, the formulation of plans and programs for that purpose.


          The Commission believes that the time has come for all countries in the hemisphere to make a sustained and general effort to improve the conditions of the judiciary, which, in many cases suffers from breakdowns due to deficiencies in the laws in the area of public administration, to neglect by the highest authorities who have the duty to be concerned with the effectiveness, independence, and impartiality of those who represent and enforce the laws, and in not a few cases, to hostility and arbitrary interference in the exercise of high judicial functions, including the situation of public prosecutors.


          It is no exaggeration to say that in most of Latin America and the countries of the Caribbean the judiciary does not have the resources, either of trained professional personnel or of material elements, required in a period characterized by the growing increase of legal problems of all kinds, the need for making quick decisions, and the use of modern facilities to streamline the workings of justice.


          A judiciary that is respectable because of its independence and impartiality is one of the cornerstones of democracy, so that any initiative to support and consolidate democracy in the inter-American system must give particular consideration to improvement of the judiciary as an important feature of the democratic way of life.


          The Commission feels that the following measures to strengthen the judiciary in the American countries would be especially advantageous and urgent:


          a.          Establishment of national commissions to reform and strengthen the judiciary, where that is necessary.


          b.          Organization of specialized training courses for judiciary personnel, lawyers or nonprofessional persons that aspire to enter the judiciary, and for its auxiliary personnel; such courses might be given under the sponsorship of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIDH) or other university or technical centers that wish to provide assistance. In that regard, the IACHR itself, within the scope of its budget and of any additional funds that might be provided, might carry out programs to train judges and professionals in the law or auxiliary personnel, with the help of universities and inter-American institutes.


          It is also recommended that governments of member states establish or strengthen a career in the judiciary to ensure effective stability for its members, and proper training of public prosecutors, who, because of their impartiality, training, competence, and independence, constitute a guarantee of just enforcement of the law.


          Finally, the Commission also feels that it would be timely for this programming to deal with issues involving modernization of the judiciary, as indicated previously, such as the use of computer and word processors, modern information systems, central records and modern filing systems to protect documentary and other evidence, and speedy and reliable recording of judicial case law, decrees, laws and other documents that are important for dispensing justice and for the exercise of the profession of attorney.


          All of these initiatives, both nationally and inter-American, in which states that are permanent observers to the OAS might also take part if they wish, might help substantially to strengthen the judiciary in member countries of the Organization. The Commission hopes that, when the General Assembly accepts these initiatives, it adopt with high interest the concomitant provisions that will enable the IACHR to implement the concrete and specific programs connected with the above-mentioned goals.




          Based on the above information and considerations, the Commission request the General Assembly of the Organization of American States to adopt the following decisions at its fifteenth regular session:


          1.          Adopt as soon as possible, either at this session or a specialized conference to be convened at the earliest date, the proposed Inter-American Convention defining torture as an international crime.


          2.          Invite the governments of member countries and the organs and agencies that so desire to submit to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by June 30, 1986, specific proposals on the contents of an additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights on the subject of economic, social and cultural rights, especially with regard to defining rights to be protected and the institutional mechanisms that should be set up to attain adequate protection of those rights, so the Commission can submit to a forthcoming session of the General Assembly a preliminary draft Additional Protocol on this subject.


          3.          Urge member countries to support, and in accordance with their capabilities, carry out the conclusions and recommendations of the “Declaration of Cartagena on Refugees,” adopted on November 22, 1984, by the Colloquium on International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama.


          4.          Recommend that member countries take effective measures to ensure the strengthening and independence of the judiciary.


          5.          Again recommend to member countries the inclusion as classroom material in their primary and secondary official curricula the teaching of human rights, as defined in the respective constitutional provisions and in the corresponding international instruments.


[ Table of Contents | Previous ]

1            OEA/Ser.L/V/II.43, doc. 21, corr. 1, p. 27.

2            Proceedings: OEA/Ser.O/Viii-0.2, vol. I, p. 86.

3            Doc. CJI-42, pp. 43 to 97.

4            OEA/Ser.L/V/II.48, doc. 27 of December 14, 1979.

5            OEA/Ser.P/AG/doc. 1227/80.

6            a. Report 1982 (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.61, doc. 22, rev. 1, pp. 37 and 38; b. Idem, 1983-1984, pp. 135-36.

7            See Report of the Permanent Council: AG/doc.1812/84.

8            OEA/Ser.P/AG/doc.1902/84, rev. 1 p. 107.

9            Resolution 3946 (XXXIX) of December 10, 1984.

10            See Reports of 1980-81 (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.54, doc. 9, p. 127; 1981-82 (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.57, doc. 6 rev. 1, p. 134 et seq.; 1982-83 (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.63, doc. 10, p. 136 and 146.

11            Annual Report 1980-1982, p. 134.

12            Report 1981-82, op. cit. p. 142.