INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO VISIT HONDURAS AFTER COUP D’ETAT
Washington, D.C., August 5, 2009 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will conduct an on-site visit to Honduras from August 17 to 21, 2009.
The Inter-American Commission will travel to different regions of Honduras to gather information and receive petitions about human rights violations committed in the context of the coup d’etat of June 28, 2009. At the conclusion of its visit, the IACHR will inform the national and international community about the initial results of the visit.
Honduras ratified the American Convention on Human Rights in 1977. The suspension of Honduras’ right to participate in the OAS does not alter the country’s obligations as a signatory to the Convention and other Human Rights treaties ratified by the State. In addition, the resolution adopted on July 4, 2009, by an extraordinary session of the OAS General Assembly reaffirmed “that the Republic of Honduras must continue to fulfill its obligations as a member of the Organization, in particular with regard to human rights,” and urged the IACHR “to continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms in Honduras.”
The IACHR visit will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights and the Commission’s Rules of Procedure. These establish that the Commission must be given all the facilities necessary to carry out its mission and that no reprisals of any kind may be taken against individuals or entities that cooperate with the Commission by providing information or testimony. The IACHR Rules of Procedure also establish the following:
1. The Commission or any of its members shall be able to interview any persons, groups, entities, or institutions, freely and in private.
2. The necessary guarantees shall be provided to those who provide the Commission with information, testimony, or evidence of any kind.
3. Members of the Commission shall be able to travel freely throughout the country, and all the corresponding facilities, including any necessary documentation, shall be furnished.
4. The availability of local means of transportation shall be ensured.
5. Members of the Commission shall have access to jails and all other detention and interrogation sites, and shall be able to interview prisoners or detainees.
6. The Commission shall be provided with any document related to the observance of human rights that it considers necessary for the preparation of its report.
7. The Commission shall be able to use any method appropriate for filming, photographing, collecting, documenting, recording, or reproducing the information it considers useful.
8. The security measures necessary to protect the Commission shall be adopted.
9. The aforementioned guarantees and facilities shall be extended to the staff of the Executive Secretariat.
The Commission sent a letter to the State on August 5 informing them of these obligations.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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