1. On October 20, 2000, the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission” or “the
IACHR”) closed its 108th regular session. Commission
Chairman Dr. Hélio Bicudo, First Vice-Chairman Dean Claudio Grossman,
Second Vice-Chairman Dr. Juan E. Méndez, and Commissioners Dr. Marta
Altolaguirre, Prof. Robert K. Goldman, Dr. Peter Laurie, and Dr. Julio
Prado Vallejo participated in the sessions. The meetings were prepared and
coordinated by Executive Secretary Amb. Jorge E. Taiana and Assistant
Executive Secretary Dr. David J. Padilla. The Commission was honored to Prof. Emmanuel V.O. Dankwa,
President of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights present
at its sessions as an observer.
RECOMMENDATION ON ASYLUM AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMES
During the session, the Commission in plenary decided to issue a
recommendation pertaining to asylum and its relationship to international
crimes. The recommendation, the whole of which is attached as an annex,
expresses in pertinent part:
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the exercise of the power
conferred on it by Article 41(b) of the American Convention, hereby
recommends to the Member States of the OAS that they refrain from granting
asylum to any person alleged to be the material or intellectual author of
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
The Commission also approved the “Declaration of Principles on
Freedom of Expression,” with a view to the more effective protection of
this right, fundamental for the consolidation and development of
democracy. The Declaration,
which consists of thirteen principles, was prepared by IACHR Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Dr. Santiago Canton, and consulted
widely with sectors of civil society specialized in this area.
Freedom of expression is defined in that document as “an
indispensable requisite for the very existence of a democratic society.”
The full text of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of
Expression is available on the Commission’s web site: www.cidh.oas.org.
INDIVIDUAL PETITIONS AND CASES
The Commission continued with its study of numerous individual
communications alleging violations of human rights protected by the
American Convention and/or the American Declaration of the Rights and
Duties of Man, and it adopted a total of 50 reports regarding the
corresponding individual petitions and cases.
The 29 reports on cases and petitions in which the IACHR’s
decisions have been made public are listed below.
iii. Friendly Settlement
The IACHR also analyzed the merits of two cases in which it
established that there was no violation of the American Convention.
Accordingly, it decided to approve the reports and publish them:
Pursuant to Article 48 (1) (b) of the American Convention and
Article 35 (c) of the Commission’s Regulations, the IACHR examined
several files and decided to declare the following cases closed:
and Friendly Settlements
The Commission held 52 hearings on individual cases, the general
human rights situation in different countries of the hemisphere,
precautionary measures, follow-up on recommendations, and other issues
over which it has competence. The
follow-up hearings served to assess compliance with the recommendations
issued by the Commission in previous reports on individual cases.
The Commission has continued to promote and give priority to the
friendly settlement of cases through the mechanism established by Article 48
(1) (f) of the American Convention. Accordingly,
the Commission held a series of hearings and working meetings for this
purpose with petitioners and representatives from different OAS Member
ROMULO GALLEGOS LIBRARY
On October 18, 2000, the new “Rómulo Gallegos” Library of the
IACHR was inaugurated, with the presence of the Permanent Observer of
Spain to the OAS, Ambassador Eduardo Gutiérrez Sáenz de Buruaga.
The improvements made to the Commission Library were made possible
thanks to the generous financial cooperation of the Government of Spain,
initiated in 1999. The IACHR
values highly the contribution of that country, within a framework of
increasing support to activities of promotion and protection of human
rights and democratic development in the Americas.
RATIFICATION OF INTER-AMERICAN INSTRUMENTS
On October 5, 2000, Guatemala deposited the instrument of
ratification of the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on
Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“the
Protocol of San Salvador”) ”). This
important event was carried out during an official ceremony convened by
the Secretary General of the OAS, with the participation of
representatives of the State of Guatemala and the Inter-American
congratulates the State of Guatemala for this initiative and it encourages
all member States of the OAS to continue to ratify the instruments of the
inter-American system of human rights with a view to the full
incorporation of such States into the system.
PRECAUTIONARY AND PROVISIONAL MEASURES
October 3, 2000, the Commission filed a request before the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights for provisional measures under Article 63(2) of the
American Convention in Case 12.235. The
purpose of these measures is the protection of the life and physical
integrity of the members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó,
in Apartadó, Department of Antioquia, Colombia. Since
the Peace Community was founded in 1997, its members have been subjected
to grave and continuous acts of violence and harassment by paramilitary
groups that operate in that region. On
October 9, 2000, through a Resolution issued by its President, the
Inter-American Court granted the Commission’s request.
the sessions, the IACHR received information, according to which the
Executive Branch pardoned, for humanitarian reasons, two persons who are
alleged victims in cases pending before the Inter-American Commission:
Francisco Xavier Morales Zapata (Case 11.167) and Juan Francisco Tulich
Morales (Case 12.171). These
persons, both gravely ill, were imprisoned in Peruvian jails, and the
Commission had asked that State to adopt precautionary measures pertaining
to their medical care. The
Inter-American Commission considers that decision of the State of Peru to
REGULATIONS OF THE IACHR
Inter-American Commission has dedicated an important amount of time during
its sessions to the study of a set of draft reforms to its Regulations.
The reform process has been carried out in an open manner, and the
Commission has considered the commentaries, documents and observations
presented in a timely fashion by the OAS Member States and some two
hundred nongovernmental organizations. The
Commission considers that the reform of its Regulations is an essential
issue in the process of strengthening of the inter-American system for the
protection and promotion of human rights.
VIII. ON-SITE VISITS
the activities programmed for next year, the IACHR has been invited to
carry out on-site observations to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,
and the Republic of Panama, by the respective States.
Also, the Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the OAS, on
behalf of that State, has invited the Inter-American Commission to carry
out an on-site visit to observe the situation of migrant workers and their
families in the border region between that country and Mexico.
Commission initiated the preliminary consideration of the dates on which
those visits are to be undertaken, and it shall make them public once
coordination with the States is completed.
MEETING WITH CARICOM REPRESENTATIVES
At the request of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean
Community, the Secretary General of the OAS, Dr. César Gaviria, convened
a meeting between the Commission and representatives of CARICOM countries,
led by the Attorney-General of Jamaica, the Honorable Arnold Joseph
During the meeting there was an exchange of views on the procedures
and jurisprudence of the Commission in relation to the system of
petitions, as well as on ways of strengthening understanding and
cooperation between CARICOM Member States and the Commission.
The Commission offered to meet with the CARICOM Attorneys-General
at their convenience to further the dialogue.
The IACHR also informed the meeting that it was planning to hold
two seminars in the Caribbean in the near future with a view to further
enhancing the understanding and participation of the Caribbean in the
inter-American human rights system.
The President of the IACHR, Dr. Hélio Bicudo, participated in the
October 19, 2000 session of the OAS Committee on Juridical and Political
Affairs to continue the dialogue on the strengthening of the
inter-American system for the protection and promotion of human rights, at
the invitation of Ambassador Margarita Escobar, Permanent Representative
of El Salvador to the OAS and President of that Committee.
Likewise, Dr. Juan E. Méndez, Second Vice President and Rapporteur
for the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families participated in a
meeting of that Committee which pertained to this thematic area.
Ms. Soledad Alvear, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
Chile, invited the Inter-American Commission to carry out an extraordinary
session in that country next year. The
IACHR has accepted the invitation, and it shall determine the dates with
the Chilean State.
* * * * * *
The Commission will hold its next special session on December 4-8,
Washington, D.C., October 20, 2002