CEJIL y otras organizaciones

Paraguayan peasants expose high levels of violence and impunity at the Inter-American Commission

Cases of violence against peasants in Uruguay were presented at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) addressed the distinct expressions of this violence, which affects the right to life, personal integrity and access to justice on behalf of peasants, as a result of their fight for access and tenancy of land in Paraguay.

Tue, 11/04/2014

Washington D.C., October 31, 2014. – Cases of violence against peasants in Uruguay were presented at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) addressed the distinct expressions of this violence, which affects the right to life, personal integrity and access to justice on behalf of peasants, as a result of their fight for access and tenancy of land in Paraguay.

Martina González Paredes testified directly to the fact that at least 110 cases of executions and disappearances of leaders and members of pro-peasant organizations have taken place between February 3,, 1989 and August 15, 2013. Of the 91 open cases, only 8 cases have advanced to partial convictions, without the clarification of facts or punishment for those responsible for the alleged crimes.

After thanking Martina for her testimony, James L. Cavallaro, Rapporteur of Persons Deprived of Right to Liberty asked the representatives of the State of Paraguay if they could not investigate the 115 unpunished murders,  and commented “it is important to put a face to the facts.”

On his part, the Rapporteur for Social and Economic Rights, Paulo Vannuchi, has underlined that in the circumstances that peasants live in, “many times the fight for land represents the fight for food for their children.”

The lack of adequate and diligent investigation by the State, in order to identify and convict those responsible of these violations of human rights, was also denounced during the hearing.

The hearing was part of the joint work of civil society organizations and peasant groups in Paraguay, denouncing the violence and impunity for violations of human rights in the country.

International Human Rights Commission Conducts Hearing on Unaccompanied Minors

Washington, DC, October 27, 2014.- At a hearing held before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) lawyers, activists, and members of civil society made recommendations to the U.S. government on the humanitarian crisis faced by unaccompanied children arriving at the United States’ southern border.

“We call on the United States to provide real protection to these unaccompanied children reaching the southern border,” said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). “First and foremost, they are children. At all times, the State must honor the guarantee against the return to danger. The U.S. must protect their best interests, rather than placing them in harm’s way or in punitive detention.”

Mon, 10/27/2014

Audiencia CIDH 153 POSWashington, DC, October 27, 2014.- At a hearing held before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) lawyers, activists, and members of civil society made recommendations to the U.S. government on the humanitarian crisis faced by unaccompanied children arriving at the United States’ southern border.

“We call on the United States to provide real protection to these unaccompanied children reaching the southern border,” said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). “First and foremost, they are children. At all times, the State must honor the guarantee against the return to danger. The U.S. must protect their best interests, rather than placing them in harm’s way or in punitive detention.”

At the hearing, the petitioners called on the United States to adequately screen and protect all unaccompanied children, to create independent mechanisms to monitor due process and detention outcomes, to guarantee all children’s right to legal representation, and to honor the right to seek affirmative asylum by ending its support for interdiction units and militarization of borders. The petitioners also requested that the US government participate in a joint working group to follow up on the Commission’s recommendations, and to make any responses to the IACHR publicly available.

The Commission was particularly influential in bringing about the closure of T. Don Hutto, the last existing family detention center, in 2009. But during the past year, the United States has opened three new family detention centers, where documented abuses have occurred, and the number of detained families has increased from 90 to approximately 4,000.

Commissioner Felipe González pointed to the United States need to justify this practice as a deterrent measure by stating that detention does not stop migration and, more fundamentally, punitive detention of children and families is contrary to international law.

The Inter-American Commission recently completed a crucial on-site visit to monitor the human rights situation of migrant and refugee children and families in Texas from September 29 to October 2, 2014.

“An increase in the number of children seeking protection should be met with more and better protection. Instead of this, the State has shown that it is taking unfortunate steps backward,” said Viviana Krsticevic. “We hope the information and analysis we provided today will aid the Commission to once again guarantee that all children are protected.”

 

Grave situation of repression of social protests in Peru exposed

CEJIL, the National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH, as it is known in Spanish) and the Ecumenical Foundation for Development and Peace (FEDEPAZ) denounced the grave situation of repression faced by social protests in Peru on March 17, 2015.

Tue, 03/17/2015

CEJIL, the National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH, as it is known in Spanish) and the Ecumenical Foundation for Development and Peace (FEDEPAZ) denounced the grave situation of repression faced by social protests in Peru on March 17, 2015.

The participating organizations highlighted the abusive use of force  and criminal prosecution used against those who participate in demonstrations, and the stigmatization of social and human rights leaders and groups that have supported protesters.

According to the petitioners, in Peru there have been 136 extrajudicial killings of protesters from 2003 to date. Since 2011, 40 civilians have died at the hands of law enforcement officers, in situations of social protest. Although the majority of the victims have been adult males, there are also women (8%) and children (10%) among those killed.

In addition to the fatalities, at least 652 civilians have been injured. In many cases, the law enforcement agents left people severely disabled for life. According to the petitioners, there is absolute impunity in cases of abusive use of force since 2003, as there have been no convictions of the persons responsible for these acts.

In Peru, the abusive use of the force is highly discriminatory since the violence used to suppress protests is much greater in rural and indigenous areas of the country. Additionally, there is an excessive use of police forces associated with the Division of Special Operations in social protest situations. These personnel are trained to use extreme force and are intended for controlling drug trafficking and combating terrorism.

One example that demonstrates the situation is the behavior of the Ministry of the Interior, headed by retired General Daniel Urresti Elera, during the demonstrations carried out at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 to protest Law number 30288 which dealt with youth’s access to the Labor Market and Social Protection. This regulation was widely rejected by young people since it established a labor system with significant cuts in rights related to general working conditions. For this reason, five demonstrations were organized in Lima, during which the CNDDHH document actions of abuse of force, arbitrary arrests, torture and attacks on journalists. As a result, the Ministry of the Interior carried out intimidation tactics against 20 leaders and advocates who supported the demonstrations, including a preemptive accusation (for crimes that might be perpetrated in the future), which involved the Executive Secretary of CNDDHH, Rocío Silva Santisteban.

At the end of the hearing, the participating organizations asked the Commission to request that the Peruvian Government: establish a regulation of procedures for the use of force in situations of social protest; eliminate provision of service agreements between private companies and public security officers; publish information about the number of civilians killed by public officers during protests; and ensure access to justice and redress for persons affected by abusive use of force, among other issues. They also asked the Commission to monitor the situation of repression of social protest throughout the hemisphere and to follow-up on cases that have been presented in different reports on freedom of expression and defense of human rights.

Venezuela: Stop Harassing Human Rights Defenders

Venezuela is intimidating and harassing human rights defenders, and making unsubstantiated allegations that they are seeking to undermine Venezuelan democracy, 28 international and Latin American human rights organizations said today. The authorities’ allegations concern the groups’ legitimate functions of documenting abuses and representing victims before international human rights bodies.

Tue, 04/07/2015


Panama City, April 7, 2015. –
Venezuela is intimidating and harassing human rights defenders, and making unsubstantiated allegations that they are seeking to undermine Venezuelan democracy, 28 international and Latin American human rights organizations said today. The authorities’ allegations concern the groups’ legitimate functions of documenting abuses and representing victims before international human rights bodies.

Venezuelan authorities should cease this tactic immediately, the groups said. Governments participating in the Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 10-11, 2015, should press the administration of Nicolás Maduro to ensure that human rights defenders can do their job without fear of reprisals, the organizations said.

The government harassment is clearly intended to discredit and intimidate groups that document human rights violations, the groups said.

On February 12, Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly and member of the governing party, stated on the website of his weekly TV show, Con el Mazo Dando, aired on the state-run Venezolana de Televisión, that “NGO representatives from the Venezuelan extreme right” would participate in hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in March. Cabello had previously criticized Venezuelan human rights defenders who participated in the country’s review by the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva, or traveled abroad to conduct advocacy meetings.

On March 18, during his show, Cabello read a list of names of individuals and organizations who had traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in the IACHR hearings. The list included leading human rights groups such as Provea, Espacio Público (Public Space), Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons), Transparencia Venezuela (Transparency Venezuela), Cofavic, Codevida, and Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social (Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflicts). Cabello accused them of receiving instructions from the US Embassy in Caracas before traveling to the hearings.

Cabello contends that the information presented on the show had been provided by anonymous “patriotic informants” (patriotas cooperantes).

Twelve human rights defenders who arrived in Caracas on various flights between March 20 and 22 have said that they were followed by unidentified men from when they landed until they left the airport, were filmed or photographed, and/or that officials irregularly searched their bags.

On March 23, María Alejandra Díaz, a lawyer who represented the government at the IACHR hearings, said on Venezolana de Televisión that “The issue of human rights is just a façade” and that nongovernmental groups that participated in the hearings “say they are Venezuelan” but “play the imperialist game” and “lie in front of the IACHR to make Venezuela look like the devil.”

An article published on April 3 in the official newspaper Correo del Orinoco accused two well-respected human rights defenders of being part of the US Central Intelligence Agency’s “Venezuelan delegation” at the Summit of the Americas. Their objective is to “legitimize destabilization actions” in Venezuela, the article says.

Under international law, governments must ensure that human rights defenders are allowed to pursue their legitimiate activities without reprisals, threats, intimidation, harassment, discrimination, or unnecessary legal obstacles. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights held in 2003 that “[r]espect for human rights in a democratic state depends largely on human rights defenders enjoying effective and adequate guarantees so as to freely go about their activities.”

The rights to freedom of expression and association may be subject to limitations, but the limitations must adhere to strict standards so that they do not improperly impede the exercise of those rights. Any restrictions should be prescribed by law, be necessary in a democratic society, and proportionate to the aim pursued.

In 2012, the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association called on countries to ensure that these rights “are enjoyed by everyone and any registered or unregistered entities” and that no one is subject to “harassment, persecution, intimidation or reprisals” for exercising them.

Signatories
Amnesty International
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) (Peru)
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) (Argentina)

Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (Mexico)
Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, A.C. (Centro Prodh) (Mexico)
Centro de Estudios de Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad (Dejusticia) (Colombia)
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) 
CIVICUS
Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos, A.C. (CADHAC) (Mexico)
Comisión Colombiana de Juristas (Colombia)
Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU) (Ecuador)
Corporación Humanas (Chile)
Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (Peru)
Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF)
Instituto de Estudios Legales y Sociales del Uruguay (IELSUR) (Uruguay)
Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL) (Peru)
Instituto de Desenvolvimento e Direitos Humanos (Brazil)
International Commission of Jurists
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Frontline Defenders
Fundación Myrna Mack (Guatemala)
Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos (INREDH) (Ecuador)
Human Rights Watch
Observatorio Ciudadano (Chile)
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights
Transparency International
World Organization Against Torture

Statelessness in the Dominican Republic The Constitutional Court Ruling & Beyond

Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) are co-hosting a panel on the recent Constitutional Court ruling in the Dominican Republic which retroactively strips three generations of Dominicans of their nationality.

 

Thu, 10/31/2013 - 12:00 - 13:30
The George Washington Law School 2000 H Street NW
Washington DC
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