INTER-AMERICAN PROGRAM FOR THE PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
PROGRAM FOR THE PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
In 1997, the General Assembly, in its resolution "International
Promotion of Human Rights in the Inter-American System" (AG/RES. 1489 (XXVII-O/97)
of June 5, 1997), after
welcoming the conclusions of the Committee on Juridical and
Political Affairs (which is dealt with further on) resolved:
To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to prepare,
without reducing its protection activities and in collaboration and/or
consultation with other pertinent organs and entities, a draft inter-American
program for the international promotion of human rights, to be submitted to
the Permanent Council for consideration before the twenty-eight regular
session of the General Assembly, a task that should be carried out within the
allocated resources approved in the program-budget and other resources.
The Commission, in consultation and coordination with other organs and
entities, prepared the present draft program.
Taken into account for this purpose were the valuable contributions of
the governments of Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, made in response
to a request by the Commission inviting observations on the development of the
program. Also taken into
consideration were written remarks from the governments of Argentina, Canada,
United States, and Venezuela, provided
to the Permanent Council's Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (OEA/Ser.G.CP
doc. 2909/97), as well as remarks made during the deliberations of those
bodies on this matter. This draft
program was considered and approved by the Commission in its 98th session, to
be submitted to the Permanent Council, in accordance with the request by the
This program will use as guidelines the essential principles
established by the modern doctrine and practice of human rights, recognized by
international instruments and by the inter-American system; in particular, the
American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, and the American
Convention on Human Rights.
These program principles will guide the development of activities
already delineated, as well as the future incorporation of new activities in
the program. They will also provide the substantive framework for
evaluating the implementation of those activities, their substantive results,
and evaluation of the program's achievements. These
essential principles are:
everyone is born free and equal, in dignity and in rights, and, being endowed
by nature with reason and conscience, should conduct themselves fraternally
one to another. It is the duty of the individual so to conduct himself in
relation to others that each and every one may fully form and develop his
the essential human rights are not derived from the fact the individual is a
national of a certain state, but are based upon attributes of his human
juridical and political institutions, which regulate life in human society,
have as their principal aim the protection of the essential rights of man and
the creation of circumstances that will permit him or her to achieve spiritual
and material progress and attain happiness, without distinction as to race,
sex, language, or creed.
Priority shall be
given to the protection of human rights and development of members of the
weakest and more vulnerable groups in society. Extreme poverty and social
exclusion are a violation against human dignity.
human rights, economic, social, cultural, civil and political, are
universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. While
the significance of national and regional particularities and various
historical, cultural and
religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of the States,
regardless of their political, economic and
cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental
representative democracy is the sole political system which guarantees
respect for human rights and the rule of law ; it safeguards cultural
diversity, pluralism, respect for the rights of minorities, and peace within
and among nations.
the right to development is an integral part of fundamental human rights, and
should be fulfilled so as to meet equitably the developmental and
environmental needs of present and future generations.
While development facilitates the enjoyment of human rights, the lack
of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of
internationally recognized human rights.
the peoples and states of the Americas have the responsibility to end racism,
intolerance and xenophobia, and
discrimination for reasons of race or gender.
Indigenous and Afro-American peoples of the Americas constitute an organized,
distinctive and integral segment of their population and are entitled to be
part of the national identities of the countries,
and have a special role to play in strengthening the institutions of
the state and in establishing national unity based on democratic principles
and full respect to the human rights for all.
That violence against women is an offense against human dignity, a
violation of human rights and a manifestation of the historically unequal
power relations between women and men.
That the child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given
opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to
develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy
and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.
An independent, impartial and effective administration of justice is a
decisive part of full enjoyment of human rights, of democracy and of
The institutions of
the member States and their agents, are the first and
principal responsibles to respect, protect and defend human rights, and
to administer justice for their eventual violations. Transparency and
publicity of public actions are a requisite for a system respectful of human
rights and democratic.
international organs for promotion of the observance and defense of
human rights, and in particular the Inter-American Commission and Court of
Human Rights, act as mechanisms coadyuvant and complementary of the national
action, and the States have formally committed themselves to respect and to
support them in the fulfillment of their mandates.
Education shall strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms. Education in all its modalities shall include the subject of human
rights and should promote understanding, tolerance, peace and friendly
relations between the individuals, between the groups and between nations; as
well as teach for peaceful conflict resolution, and for understanding and
realization of the rights and duties of each person.
In order to fulfill the General Assembly's request it is necessary to
define the concept of the promotion of human rights, as well as the
institutional and functional framework of the Commission and other organs and
entities in regard to this issue. The
Charter of the OAS and the Convention, it establishes that the primary
function of the Commission is to "promote the observance and defense of
human rights." This is confirmed by its historical practice of 38 years.
That "promotion of observance and defense" can come about
through a) "protection",
i.e., in particular, through the system of dealing with
individual cases by the Commission and the Court, with its
determinations of State responsibilities, and recommendations for redress; b)
through the "establishing of international standards", via proposed
instruments, and the doctrine and jurisprudence of the system; c) the
investigation of general situations, and recommendations to States in this
regard; and d) activities involving education and dissemination of
"Protection" activities by means of the system of individual
cases, the establishing of international standards, and the investigation of
general situations and corresponding recommendations, are the Commission's
primary mandate. These are also
the most effective and practical ways for the Commission to fulfill its main
function of "promoting the observance and defense of human rights".
Additionally, the Commission is responsible for making every possible
effort to disseminate through other means (educational means such as seminars,
publications, etc.) information about the nature and operation of the
inter-American system of human rights. As
is described further on, the Commission has done and continues to do this with
Lastly, as this program has attempted to reflect, the Commission can
help to mobilize all of the resources and abilities of the various members,
organs and entities of OAS to collaborate in other ways and through other
means in the task of "fostering an awareness of human rights in the
peoples of the Americas".
Primary Functions of the Commission.
"Protection and defense"
The Convention and its rules of procedure establish the overriding
importance of the Commission's role in "promoting observance and
defense" in prescribing, as mechanisms of paramount importance in
carrying this out, the system of "protection", through the
processing of individual communications, the system for monitoring and
reporting on general situations, mechanisms for precautionary and
preventive measures, and recommendations and studies carried out by the
Organization and its members.
"Protection and defense" are vitally important functions in
the Convention and in the practical reality of the Americas and the
inter-American system. As a
matter of fact protection and defense have promoted human rights, as shown by
the thousands of cases submitted to the system by persons and institutions of
all levels and from every social and geographic sector.
This is demonstrated by the coverage given by the various media to
decisions and actions of the Commission and of the Court.
This is also proved by the impact and mobilizing of civil society and
state organs as a result of reports of the Commission and its on-site visits.
Establishing of international standards is central to promoting
protection of human rights
As is indicated by the Convention and by the practice of the system,
activities for "establishing standards of international human rights
law" are a principal function and primary form of promoting the
observance and protection of human rights.
The General Assembly has understood this in requesting that the
Commission and other organs of the OAS cooperate in preparing new conventions,
protocols, and declarations in the area of human rights, which have afterwards
been adopted and ratified, and which are fully a part of the human rights
which are in effect in the region --- in some cases carrying
juridical power, having been included as an integral part of the
constitutions of the countries, in others having force through international
By the same token, jurisprudence, doctrine, and the interpretation of
international instruments carried out by the Court and the Commission further
promote the observance and protection of human rights through the establishing
of "standards". The
best indicator of this is their growing inclusion in national jurisprudence
and their impact on national legislative activity.
Promotion of human rights in a broad sense also includes direct
"Promotion", considered in a broad sense, includes other
elements (basically, activities related to education, training, and
dissemination of information) which go beyond the concept of promotion in a
strict sense, brought about by protection and the establishing of
It is activities of this type, related to education and the
dissemination of information, that the Permanent Council and the Assembly were
referring to in speaking of "promoting human rights", arising from
the conclusions and recommendations of the Special Session of the Permanent
Council's Juridical and Political Committee in March of 1997 regarding Point
1, "International Promotion of Human Rights in the Inter-American
System", restated by the General Assembly in its resolution,
which can be summarized as follows:
That in the current context of representative democracy, regional
promotion should be stimulated, in order to foster a culture of tolerance,
peace and development; and that the ratification and success of inter-American
instruments and jurisdictions contribute to this.
That the promotion and protection of human rights interact and are
mutually reinforcing, that regional efforts and efforts carried out internally
are complementary, and that in terms of promotion the latter are of paramount
That the IACHR should seek a "more intense push for and proper
handling of" the job of promotion, without decreasing protection
That education, dissemination of information, the offering of grants,
internships, and exchange of experiences among the states are effective means
of promotion, using all possible technological mediums.
That in terms of content, all human rights, guarantees, and national
and international procedures, as well as IACHR
reports and jurisprudence of the Court, should be included.
That the priority should be the most vulnerable sectors of the public,
as well as law enforcement forces and public opinion leaders.
That according to the inter-American instruments, the IACHR has the
primary responsibility for the task of promoting observance and defense at a
regional level. That it will
carry out this mission in coordination with other competent OAS organs, and
with other organs of the inter-American system, governmental organs, and
others (for example, the IIHR).
In the opinion of the Commission, this draft should be viewed in
accordance with the conceptual explanation given above, in the sense that
protection is the primary function of the IACHR, as its mandate establishes,
and that it should deal with informational and educational promotion without
distracting resources or importance from its protection activities.
As a necessary corollary, and as the General Assembly resolution
indicates, other organs of the inter-American system, states organs, NGOs,
etc., should coordinate their action in this respect, as a premise of the
inter-American program to be prepared.
The Commission and other inter-American and national organs and
entities are already conducting activities for the educational
promotion of human rights
The countries and their public and private institutions, and the organs
of the inter-American system of protection, as well as other private
organizations and notably the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR),
are carrying out, and have increased in recent years, the job of promotion,
and especially of "education and dissemination of information",
as indicated in what follows.
Currently, valuable efforts in education and dissemination of
information on human rights are being developed in the countries and in
inter-American organizations of the region, covering various elements which
this program should address and, where appropriate, include and aim to expand
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,
within its limited resources, has also increasingly expanded its activities in
"education and dissemination of information" aimed at making known,
in a technical way, the nature, mechanisms and jurisprudence of the
To summarize, in the biennium 1996-1997, for example, the Commission
has carried out:
National seminars on the inter-American system (in Brazil,
February of 1997; in Paraguay, also in 1997) with the assistance of several
hundred professionals and officials of those countries and of countries that
were invited to attend.
The Commissioners meet
regularly with the highest-level judicial and government authorities, in
relation to inter-American human rights guidelines and their incorporation in
The Commissioners, representing the Commission, and officials and
attorneys of the Executive Secretariat participated as speakers in numerous technical
and academic meetings, taught university courses, and
training seminars and courses of various sorts.
The Secretariat continued the "Rσmulo Gallegos"
fellowships program (with four grants in 1995-96 and six in 96-97, all for
young attorneys in the region).
In 1996-97 the Commission carried out activities for educational
promotion and dissemination of information related to the preparation of
the "Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples",
fostering meetings for consultation and dissemination of information in
fifteen countries in the region, and three regional meetings.
For this, it coordinated with other systems and inter-American organs (UPD,
III, IDB, Indigenous Fund, and the IIHR, among others) as well as state and
The Commission's publications are without doubt a tool for
education and dissemination of information.
In the last biennium, the Commission published its Annual Reports in
four languages, as well as the Special Reports on Brazil, Ecuador, and Haiti;
this last one was also published in Creole.
It also published the Basic Documents in the four languages; a
pamphlet on "How to submit formal complaints to the inter-American
system", and several reference posters.
With outside cooperation, the Commission supports the publication of
the Inter-American Human Rights Yearbook, based on an arrangement with
Nijhoff Publishers, Holland.
Both the Commissioners and the members of the Executive Secretariat
published numerous articles on technical subjects and dissemination of
information regarding human rights.
The Commission also uses electronic media for publishing and
disseminating its public documents. All
of the Annual Reports, other public documents and reports of the Commission
are in the process of being placed electronically on a "site" which
the Commission itself has on the Internet, accessible directly or through
OAS's "home page".
The Secretariat is continually carrying out working meetings with
delegations of the member countries wishing to familiarize themselves with
the system and its procedures. In
this period, delegations of (among others)
judges and judicial and police officials from Guatemala and Brazil, as
well as from other countries, have been received; also, numerous delegations
of indigenous leaders from several countries, and international experts.
The Commission collaborates with American Human Rights Competition
(Moot Court) begun in 1996, organized by the Washington College of Law,
American University, in which nearly fifty teams from universities throughout
the continent participate. Providing,
in addition, assistance to other universities of the region wishing to
replicate this activity in their countries.
The Inter-American Institute of Human Rights
(headquartered in San Josι, Costa Rica) has a mandate based on teaching,
research, and promotion of human rights and all related disciplines, with a
multi-disciplinary emphasis that should take into account the needs and
problems of Latin America.
To achieve these ends, the Institute has conducted, is carrying out,
and has planned, activities such as:
conferences, colloquia, courses, round tables, and seminars.
research programs in human rights, both at the institutional level as
well as with the cooperation of national or international institutions.
Periodic publications in print and electronic (CD-ROM) form.
shares responsibility for the Library jointly with the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights.
promotes and reports on human rights progress in Latin America through
its Documentation Center.
Advises governmental and civil entities on creating national programs
to promote human rights.
In the biennium 96-97 the IIHR has carried out numerous projects
through its different areas (education, public institutions, CAPEL for
electoral development and observation, and civil society).
Other OAS organs, in particular the Inter-American Commission of
Women (CIM), and the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD), have
carried out, in this biennium, activities to promote human rights, within
their specific programs. By way
of example, CIM conducted seminars in Guatemala in August of 1997 on
"Women and the Culture of Peace"; in Caracas in September on
"Violence Against Women and the Family".
Many current programs of the Unit for Promotion of Democracy
serve to promote and strengthen respect for human rights and humanitarian
Monitoring elections and technical assistance: The OAS has monitored
some 40 elections since 1989, and provides technical assistance to improve
electoral administration and civic participation.
Strengthening democratic institutions: The UPD supports efforts to
strengthen legislative bodies, to teach democratic values and practices in
schools, and to further develop municipal government and citizen participation
at the local level. The UPD also supported a "human rights and
democracy" course for Peruvian military and civilians.
Peace building and national reconciliation activities: In Nicaragua,
participated in the supervision of the demobilization of former combatants and
supported their social reintegration . At the Special Mission to Suriname
(1992 to 2000) monitored the peace process, the demobilization of combatants
and demining. In Haiti, participated in the establishment of a human rights
observation mission in 1992,
later developed into the OAS/UN
International Civilian Mission, still active in Haiti today. The UPD
assistance to the Guatemalan peace process includes support for the
reincorporation of former combatants into society; an innovative conflict
prevention and resolution initiative; and legislative and electoral reform
programs related to the implementation of the peace accords.
Removing land mines: Since
1995, the UPD and the Inter-American Defense Board have been undertaking a
major regional program to assist Central American countries in eliminating
land mines in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Publications and information exchange:
Along with Georgetown University and other partners, supports the
Political Database of the Americas, a comprehensive compilation of the
constitutions, electoral laws and other legislation of the Americas at the
Internet. In collaboration with
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, organized
two Democratic Fora, one in "Celebration of International Human
Rights Day" (1995), and the other on "Democracy and Indigenous
Rights" (1996). The IACHR
and the UPD also collaborated in the organization of two regional meetings of
the "Consultation on the draft American Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples," held Guatemala and Ecuador in 1996. The UPD
regularly publishes reports from its electoral missions, Democratic Forums and
a quarterly newsletter.
The guidelines established for member countries, for the Inter-American
Council for Integral Development (CIDI), have not included
especifically the subject of "Human Rights" in its Strategic Plan
now in effect. Nevertheless, in
its activities related to the promotion of democracy in the educational and
cultural spheres, activities connected with the practice of human rights is
naturally included. Along these
lines, CIDI has indicated that if countries have interest and are in
agreement, and following its normal systems for decision-making and
implementation, it will set up activities on this subject, relying on special
or regular funding, as the case may be.
Bearing in mind the importance of recognizing human rights in reference
to indigenous peoples, this program should also consider, in its development
process, coordination with the activities planned by the Inter-American
Indian Institute in its Inter-American Indigenous Cooperation Program,
which was formed in response to the demand by these peoples, communities, and
organizations, activities whose content is the defense of human rights.
Included in these activities planned for the coming years, and which
could be incorporated in this
program, are the following:
Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples within OAS (The
"Human Rights" issue is a fundamental part of the forums planned for
the period 1998-2001).
Forum of Indigenous Women of the Americas
Indigenous Communication Network of the Americas
"Manuel Gamio" Information and Documentation Center
for Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.
Graduate and postgraduate training Grants for strengthening
Among other advances, national public institutions have
introduced cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of human rights as
part of the curricula at many levels of formal education, though this is still
a new area. There already exist in the region, and in the world, training
programs, materials, and manuals which can be used to advantage.
The armed forces and security forces are introducing those elements as
part of their training and practice. Preparation
of the National Human Rights Plans by countries has also provided an
opportunity to carry out numerous activities to promote thought and education
on the subject.
Many civil society initiatives--especially those in the most
vulnerable sectors--are also designed to provide training in an awareness and
the defense of human rights.
THE FUNCTION OF PROTECTION AND DEFENSE, BY DISSEMINATING INFORMATION ABOUT THE
NORMS AND PROCEDURES OF THE INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM
As indicated in the Charter of the OAS and in the American Convention
on Human Rights, "promoting observance and defense" constitute the
Commission's primary function. Consequently,
it will focus its participation strictly on this objective of the
Inter-American Program for the Promotion of Human Rights, disseminating and
conducting training and analysis activities on inter-American norms and on the
OF NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS RESPONSIBLE
FOR PROTECTING AND PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS
The program should provide the means for national institutions
responsible for protecting and promoting human rights to improve their
capabilities for action and protection. This
second objective includes educating state institutions and their members
act with strict respect for human rights.
THE ENTIRE POPULATION AND, IN PARTICULAR, VULNERABLE GROUPS IN THE HEMISPHERE,
ON HUMAN RIGHTS
The program should look to reinforcing the task carried out by
international and national organizations to create an awareness and knowledge
of human rights and on a culture of tolerance in different sectors of the
population and, above all, those most vulnerable and the new generations.
Executing agencies of this program will be the IACHR and other
inter-American and national organs, both public and private.
The inclusion in this program of an institution as the executor of or
collaborator in an activity, whether that activity is currently in execution
or is proposed for the future, will be done with full respect for, and with
the understanding that that inclusion shall not infringe in any way on the
autonomy and decision-making mechanisms of the various institutions mentioned,
including the Commission. In that
same sense, the activities conducted within the framework of this program
therefore shall be planned, negotiated, implemented, and evaluated according
to the normal procedures dictated by the legal instruments and practices of
the institutions involved. This
includes both international and national, as well as governmental and state
and nongovernmental institutions and entities.
Nature of the activities of the program's various executing agencies
With regard to the IACHR
In terms of content, the IACHR will focus its activities in this
program on promoting the inter-American system, its instruments, procedures,
and jurisprudence. In relation to
those receiving the benefits of the program, the IACHR understands that
its efforts should be directed, in the state sector, toward the areas most
directly connected with its activity (officials dealing with provincial
government, domestic and foreign relations; members of the judicial branch;
ombudsmen); and in civil society, toward officials of nongovernmental
organizations and those who defend human rights in general.
In terms of the methodology to be used in the program's
activities, that which the IACHR develops should be in the direction of
technical education; i.e., it should center on the training of human resources
in understanding and implementation of the inter-American instruments, and on
the preparation of materials for disseminating information on the system's
regulations and standards.
Both in content and in the defining of techniques and strategies for
activities within its purview, the IACHR should act with the same autonomy
given to it and required of it by the Charter of the OAS, its Statute and the
American Convention, and in such a way that the activities which may be
carried out within this program complement and promote its central activities,
in other words, "without diminishing protection activities".
Coordination with other agencies and entities
The General Assembly resolution requests that the inter-American
program be developed in coordination with other competent OAS bodies and in
cooperation with the agencies and entities of the inter-American system as
well as the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and other governmental
and nongovernmental organizations and institutions. (AG/RES.
1489 (XXVII/O-97 par. 2.11).
As mentioned earlier, these
entities, and in particular the IIHR, the III, CIM, the UPD, and numerous
national entities, are already carrying out programs and activities clearly
aimed at the objectives of this program.
Their participation shall be in accordance with their rules, their
abilities, resources, priorities and their own characteristics.
In line with the objectives mentioned previously, the program will be
subdivided in three broad areas which, in turn, will comprise sub-programs and
specific activities. These three areas will be:
1) an area designed for
activities aimed strictly at disseminating information on inter-American norms
and the system's mechanisms, as well as training in these topics; 2)
an area designed to strengthen national institutions, both state and
private, concerned with respect for and defense of human rights; 3)
an area dealing with education, spreading and disseminating information
on the human rights subject and its practices.
The Commission will focus its action in the first of these areas, as
well as elements of the second area, to the extent that they have a direct
relation to the norms and mechanisms of the system; in both cases, according
to its resources and without diminishing its protection activity.
Other national and inter-American agencies and entities, as each case
warrants, will primarily have a role in the second and third areas,
participating also in the activities of dissemination and training on
regulations and mechanisms of the inter-American system (1st area).
General Objective of the Area:
Provide information and training on the norms and mechanisms of the
inter-American system, in particular its system of claims and individual
cases, procedures of the Commission and of the Inter-American Court, its
jurisprudence and decision-making process; the content and nature of its
recommendations and decisions; the roles and powers of the system's various
participants; its actions in developing new international standards; and
analysis of its capabilities and limitations. The
public receiving the benefits of this program will be those in both the public
sector and civil society who, because of their job or their situation, have
the greatest need for dealing with the system or applying its standards and
seminar on the inter-American human rights system
Executing organ: IACHR
Objective: To train state
officials with responsibilities in this area, as well as defenders of human
rights from nongovernmental organizations, on the nature and operation of the
system, and familiarize them with its basic jurisprudence.
advanced seminar for judges and attorneys.
Duration 2 to 3 days. The
different powers of the Commission are analyzed, and in particular the system
of individual cases, their handling before the Commission and before the
inter-American Court. Already
carried out in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
Funding: Relying on
resources from its regular budget, the Commission provides for the holding of
the seminar twice per year, covering the costs of travel and lodging for
teachers and support personnel. The
country acting as headquarters, where the seminar takes place, must cover
IACHR course on the inter-American system
Executing organ: IACHR
Objective: To improve
jurists, judges, and state officials in the management And jurisprudence of
the organs of the inter-American system, and serve as a seminar for reflection
on legal and substantive issues of the inter-American system's regulations,
and on the practices of its protective organs.
In a way similar to the seminar (see 1.a) the course would be aimed at
professionals and state officials, and would include a more in-depth analysis.
It would be conducted in Washington, D.C., for a period of one week,
once per year. The course would
be restricted to 30 to 50 participants.
The participants will be selected by IACHR, with 50% reserved for
candidates submitted by the states, and the remainder chosen from among
candidates whose application is submitted directly.
Estimated Cost: $200,000.
(Requires additional funding)
IACHR conference with high-level judicial magistrates of the Americas
Executing organ: IACHR
with support from the supreme court or judicial organ of the country where the
conference is headquartered.
Objective: Bring together
once per year for two days members of the Commission and high-level judicial
magistrates (including supreme court, constitutional courts, appeals courts,
military judges, defenders of the people) to analyze the juridical and
practical framework for applying the inter-American human rights instruments
in domestic jurisprudential practice.
travel expenses the responsibility of the regular
IACHR budget. Remaining
expenses that of the judicial agency of each and/or the host country.
seminar to familiarize ombudsmen of the English-
speaking Caribbean with the inter-American system.
Executing organ: IACHR
with the cooperation of CARICOM
Objectives: As became
evident in the meeting of ombudsmen of the English- speaking Caribbean
(Antigua, March of 1998), there is an interest, on the part of the public
defenders of human rights referred to, in gaining a knowledge of the system's
norms and mechanisms, an interest that this proposed seminar of a day and a
half would attempt to fulfill. An
additional objective is to facilitate reciprocal communication on
jurisprudence and situations in the Caribbean for increasing people's
knowledge about the Commission.
Funding: The IACHR could
cover with the regular budget the participation of commissioners and
specialists, and the host country or organization would cover remaining costs.
on the Future of the Inter-American System for the Protection of
Executing organ: IIHR
constructive dialogue in different inter-American
forums on proposed revision and reform of the operation of the
Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights.
course aimed at different people acting within various work areas related to
the inter-American system. This
will be conducted in October of 1998.
Funding: IIHR's regular
involving regional or subregional workshops on the inter-American
Executing organ: IIHR
Objective: Familiarize the
community of attorneys and magistrates of the countries with the
inter-American system, so that they gain a better knowledge of it and debate
its future, as well as incorporating decisions and sentences made by organs of
Funding: IIHR's regular
budget and special contributions.
"Rσmulo Gallegos" fellowship program
Executing organ: IACHR
with the administrative cooperation of OAS's Department of Fellowships.
Objectives: It has
offered, since 1991, the opportunity for new attorneys from the OAS member
states to gain familiarity with the activities of the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights.
of internships of ten months at the headquarters of the Executive Secretariat,
for young lawyers, selected by the Commission in an open competition.
The work program includes: a)
acting as intern in the tasks of the Commission's Executive
Secretariat, under the supervision of its specialists during the period of the
grant; b) requires commitment to
giving a course on the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human
Rights in the year following the end of the grant at an institution in the
grantee's country. Affiliation
with the bar association or relevant authority.
The grantee shall submit a report at the end of the grant period.
must be a graduate in law at an officially accredited university; b)
must be registered as an attorney with the courts or the appropriate
bar association; c) must have
demonstrated professional interest in the legal area of human rights; d)
must be bilingual in English and Spanish; e) must have received his or her diploma not more than five
years prior to the grant; f) must
be a citizen of an OAS member state; g) must
submit a written essay on a human rights topic.
Benefits: The IACHR
provides a total of US$18,000 to each fellow for the period covered by the
internship grant; round-trip ticket from the country of origin, and health
Funding: The IACHR offers
three grants and obtains external funding for additional grantees.
In 1997-98, five grants were given, three using regular IACHR funds and
the other two using funding from other institutions.
Executing organ: IACHR,
within the Internship Program of OAS.
Program objectives: Familiarize
young postgraduate students of universities in the region with the theory and
practice of human rights and of the Commission, as well as with the general
operation of OAS.
Characteristics: This is a
program which has been carried out over the last decade, comprising short
internships for postgraduate students with degrees in law to be carried out at
the Commission's Executive Secretariat, working under the direct supervision
of specialists. They also
participate in the OAS internship program's general activities.
The interns do not receive any funding from the Organization, although
they may be supported by outside institutions.
Duration: two to four
three times per year. Number
of internships: varying between 3
and 5 quarterly.
Funding: No special
Program of publications and dissemination of information on the
inter-American human rights system
publications of the IACHR
Executing organ: IACHR
Objective: To record and
publicly disseminate the decisions and reports of the Commission.
Currently, the Commission distributes its publications to hundreds of
state entities, universities, NGOs, and experts through the mail.
Systematic development of a program for sending material
electronically, via e-mail, is also being proposed, in order to make
distribution less expensive, faster, and more extensive.
Characteristics: The IACHR
currently publishes and regularly distributes documents which include its
reports and basic documents. These
documents include the Annual Report, the Special Reports on the human rights
situation in given countries, the updated basic documents of the
Inter-American Human Rights System, and on special occasions, studies,
research, and special reports. It
will also include, starting in 1998-1999, the "Annual Report on Freedom
of Expression in the Americas". These
are published in the four working languages and are distributed to a mailing
list of more than a thousand recipients (universities, governmental and
judicial organs, associations, experts, human rights organizations, and the
press). In special cases, these are also published in the traditional
language of the population to which the report refers (in Creole for Haiti; in
Miskito for the Nicaraguan people, for example).
translation, publication and distribution of these documents are carried out
with funds from the regular budget for the publication of decisions and
documents of the IACHR through a)
Annual Reports; b) special
reports; c) updated basic
Human Rights Yearbook
Executing organ: IACHR,
with Nijhoff Publishers, Holland.
Published currently, it includes a summary of all of the system's
decisions and documents.
Funding: The publisher is
in charge of publication, with contributing funds from the regular budget of
IACHR in exchange for issues of the publication.
for journalists specializing in the handling of news on cases and proceedings
of the inter-American system
Executing organ: IACHR
Objective: This program
would be conducted with the aim of achieving greater journalistic accuracy and
clarity on activities of the inter-American system.
In principle, it would consist of a small manual for journalists to
facilitate their work and avoid their being used as a vehicle for erroneous
news which could affect the prestige of their medium and of the system.
It will be supplemented, in the future, by a specialized course.
additional funding. Estimate of
cost: performance contract for the preparation of the manual and
its publication in four languages: $40,000.
for public electronic access to the document base of the IACHR
Executive organ: CIDH
Objective: Make accessible
via the Internet the reports and other public documents of the Commission and
facilitate the search for jurisprudence in the system.
site for the Commission on the Internet where all the documents published by
the Commission can be consulted. It
is already in operation, containing the annual reports since 1990, and the
special reports published in that period, to which new documents are being
added as they are published. The
document base will be supplemented in 1998-99 with documents prior to 1990,
and will be connected with supplementary data bases of the Washington School
of Law, American University, and the Inter-American Court.
The IACHR site also has the ability to allow keyword searches, as well
as direct correspondence with the Commission; it also provides links to other
selected sites, in particular the OAS home page, where the system's legal
instruments, among others, are included.
A direct link with the site for the Court and with IIHR are also
for electronic access and for a guide to procedures to follow in dealing with
the inter-American human rights system, containing its jurisprudence and basic
doctrine, as well as those of the European and United Nations systems.
(Proposal for new activity)
Executing organ: IIHR
Objective: Make available
to potential claimants and officials a tool that will serve as a practical
guide for participation before the enforcement organs, and to facilitate their
professional job at the domestic headquarters.
and updated information on the instruments and mechanisms for the protection
of human rights, which will be included in IIHR's electronic site.
Also, the updating of a compact disk which contains, in addition,
information on the domestic law of the American countries, and other
Funding: Regular budget of
for disseminating the IIHR book, "The Future of the Inter-American
System for the Protection of Human Rights"
Executing organ: IIHR
Objective: To distribute
this book, which was published in March of 1998 by the IIHR with contributions
from the main experts (including present and former members and officials of
IIHR), among users of the system, diplomats, officials of organizations, etc.,
as a contribution to the debate on possible reform of the system.
Funding: Regular budget of
g. IIHR Magazine (Nos. 27 and 28)
Executing organ: IIHR
information on the work of institutions connected with the inter-American
human rights system, such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Disseminate information about the doctrine and mechanisms of the
inter-American human rights system.
Characteristics: These are
regular publications, published every six months.
Funding: IIHR's regular