Empowering human rights defenders

CEJIL will Represent Victims of Human Rights Violations before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

CEJIL, along with partner organizations, will represent victims from across the region before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) during its 107th period of regular sessions.Activities will include two public hearings, two private hearings to monitor judgment and provisional measure compliance, and a public hearing on provisional measures.

Mon, 01/26/2015

 

San Jose, January 26th 2015.-The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), along with partner organizations, will represent victims from various parts of the continent before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) during its 107th period of regular session.

Public Hearings

Caso Comunidad Campesina Santa Bárbara vs. Perú:
Monday, January 26th 3:00pm-7:00pm and Tuesday, January 27th 9:00am-1:00pm
(Local time: Costa Rica)

On July 4th, 1991, members of the Peruvian military advanced an operation within two sectors of the rural, quecha-speaking community of Santa Bárbara, which is nestled in Andean mountains that trace the department of Huancavelica in the south-central area of the country.

This case is related to the forced disappearance of 15 people (93% of which were women and children) by members of the Peruvian military and demonstrates the systematic practice by the military of carrying out abductions and other heinous human rights violations against subversive groups.

Two decades later, the Peruvian state continues to deny the force disappearance. Represented by the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and Asociación Paz y Esperanza the families of the victims hope the hearing before the Inter-American Human Rights Court (I/A Court)) represents a step towards truth and justice.

Caso López Lone y otros vs. Honduras:

Monday, February 2nd 10:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, and 7:00pm; Tuesday, February 3rd 9:00am-1:00pm (Local Time: Costa Rica)

This case refers to the arbitrary and illegal dismissal of four judges during the 2009 Honduran coup. The victims of the case, Judges Adán Guillermo López, Luis Alonso Chévez de la Rocha, and Ramón Barrios Maldonado, and Tirza Flores Lanza will be represented by the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

This is the first known case linked to the 2009 Honduran coup that will be presented before the I/A Court. It also presents a transcendental opportunity for Honduras to take actions that strengthen the institution of Judicial Power and to ensure that Honduran citizens can count of independent judges.

Private Hearings on Compliance with Sentences and Interim Measures


Veléz Loor vs. Panamá:

Thursday, February 5th 4:45pm-6:45pm  (Local Time: Costa Rica)

The sentence from the Veléz Loor vs. Panamá case was issued on November 23rd, 2010 by the I/A Court and became a historic landmark by being the first sentence issued in the americas involving immigrants. This sentence determined the responsibility of the Panamanian government on the cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of Ecuadorian citizen Jesús Veléz Loor, who was detained for being a migrant, arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for almost a year, and tortured in various different ways while in detention.

The Panamanian government has yet to investigate the torturous acts, has not trained the Panamanian agents in the area of human rights, and has not bettered the conditions under which immigrants are detained.

Familia Barrios vs Venezuela:
Thursday, February 5th 3:00pm-4:30pm  (Local Time: Costa Rica)

The sentence from the Familia Barrios vs. Venezuela case was issued on November 24th, 2011 by the I/A Court. This case is concerned with the extrajudicial executions of 10 members of the Barrios family in the Aragua region of Venezuela between 1998 and 2013.

The goal of the hearing will be to receive updated and detailed information from the Venezuelan government about the fulfillment of the reparations ordered by the sentences, which is still pending compliance, and to listen to the observations of the Committee and the representatives of the victims.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Committee on Families of Victims of the Events of February and March of 1989 (COFAVIC), and the Committee of Justice and Peace of Aragua will participate in the hearing.

Public Hearings on Interim Measures
Friday, February 6th 9:00am-11:30am  (Local Time: Costa Rica)

Following an application from the Venezuelan Government, the Court summoned a public hearing concerning the interim measures ordered for the issues from certain penitentiaries in Venezuela.

The goal is to receive updated and detailed information from the Venezuelan government about the fulfillment of the interim measures and to listen to the observations of the Inter-American Committee and the representatives of the beneficiaries.

Pardon issued for one of El Salvador's 17 women serving prison time for miscarriage

Carmen Guadalupe, one of 17 women unjustly imprisoned in El Salvador for not carrying her pregnancy to full term due to medical complications, received a pardon from the Legislative Assembly today.

The pardon is a step forward in guaranteeing that the State will comply with its obligations of respecting and guaranteeing women’s rights.After being behind bars for over six years, Carmen Guadalupe must be freed immediately.

Thu, 01/22/2015

San José, Costa Rica 21 de enero del 2015.- Carmen Guadalupe, one of 17 women unjustly imprisoned in El Salvador for not carrying her pregnancy to full term due to medical complications, received a pardon from the Legislative Assembly today. After being behind bars for over six years, Carmen Guadalupe must be freed immediately.

At the age of 18, Carmen Guadalupe became pregnant as a result of rape. Due to medical complications, she was not able to carry the pregnancy to full term. She was then taken to the National Hospital in San Bartolo where medical staff reported her to authorities for having an abortion.  During the course of her hospital stay, Carmen Guadalupe was interrogated without any legal representation present. Although no evidence or proof ever showed that Carmen caused the death of her child and an autopsy later established that the cause of death was undetermined, she was condemned to serve 30 years in prison. Today, Carmen Guadalupe is 23 years old and has been in jail since 2007.

Carmen Guadalupe is part of a group of 17 women who are serving prison time in El Salvador due to miscarriages caused by medical complications. Currently, El Salvador is one of seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where abortion is absolutely prohibited by law, even when the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the product of rape or incest.

This type of legislation is contrary to the State’s obligation to respect and guarantee women’s right to health, life and a life free of violence and discrimination. Additionally, the sentence imposed on Carmen Guadalupe and the remaining 16 violated their rights to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Throughout the course of their trials, the defense appeared apathetic and disconnected, barely remembering the names of those they were defending.

However, the pardon represents an important opportunity for victims unjustly imprisoned for miscarrying. According to the National Criminological Council, only four of the 17 have been considered for a pardon because the children survived the medical complications experienced during the course of their pregnancy. The remaining 12—whose children died—were considered at a high risk of reoccurrence due to their educational levels and their socioeconomic status.

“The pardon is a step forward in guaranteeing that the State will comply with its obligations of respecting and guaranteeing women’s rights. However, there is still much work ahead of us. Women who are victims of miscarriages caused by medical problems do not deserve being interrogated, handcuffed, and arrested,” said Marcia Aguiluz, CEJIL’s Program Director for Central America and Mexico, “No woman deserves to be re-victimized and stigmatized for her socioeconomic background. We demand that the rest of the victims be freed immediately.”

CEJIL and WOLA condemn the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior's harrasment against the National Coordinator for Human Rights and other social justice, student, and workers groups.

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) condemn the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior and Minister Daniel Urresti’s recent acts of harassment and intimidation against Rocío Silva Santisteban, Executive Director for the National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH), and other social justice, student and union leaders for their participation in a protest on December 29th, 2014 in Lima.

Mon, 01/12/2015

Washington D.C., 7 de enero de 2015- The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) condemn the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior and Minister Daniel Urresti’s recent acts of harassment and intimidation against Rocío Silva Santisteban, Executive Director for the National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH), and other social justice, student and union leaders for their participation in a protest on December 29th, 2014 in Lima.

On December 26, 2014 the Ministry of the Interior’s office of the prosecutor preemptively charged 20 individuals for coordinating the December 29th rally against the recently approved “Law for the promotion of increased access to the workforce and social protections for youth (“Ley Pulpín”).” Among those charged were the Executive Director for the National Coordinator for Human Rights and leaders from other social justice, student and workers’ rights groups.

The charge aimed to serve as a preventive measure in which those who were accused could be held responsible for crimes committed during the protest.

Although the December 29th rally was peaceful, we the undersigned organizations would like to voice our concern over the use of preventive measures or charges. Said measures could deter and limit social protest and dissent, affecting the fundamental rights of members of a democratic society to freely and peacefully voice their agreement or disagreement with the decisions made by their governments.

"In addition, the charge is an illegitimate use of the justice system to criminalize and stigmatize activities carried out by leaders of social justice movements and organizations, as well as human rights defenders,” said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL.

The charge is part of a broader pattern. On December 26th, 2014 Radio Programas del Peru broadcast derogatory remarks made by Minister Urresti in reference to the CNDDHH and an art exhibit titled "In your name." The Minister accused the organization of being "an obstacle to eradicating terrorism" and accused the Executive Secretary for failing to properly account for the organization’s funding sources.

The undersigned denounce these comments as they mean to discredit an organization that has worked fervently to defend human rights in Peru for over 30 years.

"It is unacceptable that such comments can be wielded with impunity by a senior representative of the government, especially considering that the CNDDHH and organizations of national and international civil society have repeatedly requested the resignation of Minister Urresti who— as author of the murder of journalist Hugo Bustío—is currently being prosecuted for offenses against humanity "said Jo-Marie Burt, Senior Fellow for WOLA.

These episodes represent a disturbing interference by the Peruvian State upon social protest and the work and human rights defenders. WOLA and CEJIL would like to call attention to Peru on their duty to prevent slander and the illegitimate use of criminal charges against human rights defenders, as these can lead to stigmatization and limitations on defender’s ability to fight for the guarantee of human rights.

CEJIL condemns 13 years of Guantánamo Bay

With only two days left before the 13th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) once again urges the U.S. government to shut down one of the darkest holdovers from the War on Terror; to put an end to arbitrary detentions and guarantee due process to those who have been charged with a crime and remain in detention. The government must ensure detainees’ right to not be returned to countries where they will face persecution, torture or ill-treatment. Finally, we call on the U.S. to comply with its obligations to pursue truth and justice over all denunciations made by Guantánamo inmates of torture and ill-treatment.

Fri, 01/09/2015

Washington, D.C.  Friday, January 9th 2015- With only two days left before the 13th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) urges the U.S. government to   immediately shut down the detention center in accordance with its international human rights obligations.

Of the 127 men who are currently detained, 59 have been cleared of all charges by intelligence and security agencies yet continue to await their liberation. The remaining 68 are classified as “indefinite detainees,” a category used for individuals considered by state agents as ineligible for trial or for transfer to a third country. These men will face Periodic Review Board hearings, an incipient interagency process that will assess whether an inmate poses a threat to the United States or is eligible for transfer. However, this procedure lacks guarantees to due process and could possibly prolong situations of arbitrary detention.

“The recent transfers of 13 inmates to Uruguay, Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan are a step towards finally shutting down Guantánamo,” said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director for CEJIL, “However, the revelations made by the Senate report on the CIA’s use of torture highlights the urgency with which the government needs to act. This report underscored the administration’s repeated failure to close Guantánamo, despite promises made six years ago. It is unacceptable that many detainees have not been tried by a competent tribunal, or that instances of torture and ill-treatment have not been tried and sanctioned.”

It is highly concerning that the U.S. government is trying to overturn a ruling issued by a judge in December 2014 which asked for the publication of over 30 tapes documenting the force feeding of hunger striking Guantánamo detainees. Among these detainees was Abu Wa’el Dhiab—one of the six men recently sent to Uruguay.

It is also concerning that the U.S. continues to ignore requests made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) within resolutions made in 2006 and 2011. Said resolutions determined that the State caused irreparable damage to detainees and that Guantánamo must be shut down immediately. Additionally, in a joint declaration issued last year by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, several other UN agencies, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the United States was urged to “adopt all legislative, administrative, judicial, and any other types of measures necessary to prosecute, with full respect for the right to due process, the individuals being held at Guantanamo Naval Base or, where applicable, to provide for their immediate release or transfer to a third country.”

Thirteen years after Guantánamo opened, CEJIL once again demands for the U.S. government to shut down one of the darkest holdovers from the War on Terror; to put an end to arbitrary detentions and guarantee due process to those who have been charged with a crime and remain in detention. The government ensure detainees’ right to not be returned to countries where they will face persecution, torture or ill-treatment. Finally, we call on the U.S. to comply with its obligations to pursue truth and justice over all denunciations made by Guantánamo inmates on torture and ill-treatment.

APRODEH & CEJIL: Judgment made by IACHR in Gladys Carol case is a milestone in for victims of gender-based sexual violence in Peru

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) issued a verdict declaring Peru responsible for committing multiple human rights violations against Gladys Carol Espinoza Gonzáles.

The verdict will also play a key role for establishing investigation rules and protocols based on international standards for all victims of sexual violence in Peru.

Mon, 12/22/2014

Washington, D.C. December 20th 2014- Yesterday, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) issued a verdict declaring Peru responsible for committing multiple human rights violations—which have remained unpunished for over 20 years—against Gladys Carol Espinoza Gonzáles.

The verdict will also play a key role for establishing investigation rules and protocols based on international standards for all victims of sexual violence in Peru.

In its ruling, the court declared that Peru is responsible for committing acts of torture and sexual violence against Gladys Carol, and establishes that the State must “…develop investigation protocols so that cases of torture, rape, and other forms of sexual violence, are duly investigated and judged based on standards established in the ruling; ... incorporate standards outlined in the ruling in programs and education and training courses aimed at those who are responsible for investigating and prosecuting gender-based crimes; …implement a mechanism whereby all female victims of widespread practices of rape and other forms of sexual violence during Peru’s armed conflict have free access to specialized medical rehabilitation—including psychological and/or psychiatric—aimed at repairing such violations."

In April 1993, Gladys Carol was illegally detained under anti-terrorism laws and subjected to brutal acts of torture and sexual violence by members of Peruvian law enforcement.  Although multiple complaints were filed since 1993 and sufficient medical reports confirmed the victim’s health, no investigation took place until 2012. Based on these facts, the ruling issued by the IACHR establishes responsibility by the Peruvian State for the violation of Gladys Carol’s guarantee to judicial guarantees and protections.

Additionally, the IACHR found that the lack of investigation behind the denunciations of torture and sexual violence was part of a widespread pattern of gender discrimination found within the judicial system that manifested itself in the form of gender stereotypes used to discredit Gladys Carols and other’s accusations. According to the court “…guaranteeing access to justice for female victims of sexual violence must be ensured through the provision rules that assess the evidence avoiding assertions, insinuations and stereotypical references.”

Finally, the Court ordered the State to diligently ensure the investigation and punishment of human rights violations committed against Gladys Carol.
Sexual Violence: A systematic practice conducted by counterrevolutionary operatives.

Through its judgment, the IACHR found that sexual violence and torture against women were systematic and generalized practices used by Peruvian state agents in their fight against revolutionary forces.

“This case is representative of an existing practice in Peru that took place during the armed conflict that—up to this date—has remained unpunished: the use of torture, violence, and rape by state agents,” said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). “This ruling is an opportunity for Peru to take critical steps to overcome one of the most painful chapters of its recent history where thousands of women were disproportionately affected and their cases remain open.”

According to Gloria Cano, Executive Director of APRODEH “This case underscores the need for justice operators to receive human rights and gender sensitivity training. As we can see, the use of gender stereotypes was widespread throughout this case and prevented the victim from receiving justice, even though she filed complaints since 1993.”

Through this ruling, the Court also highlighted the cruel, degrading and inhuman conditions of Ms. Espinoza’s detention conditions at the Yanamayo Maximum Security Facility, where she was held from 1996 to 2001 without any medical attention despite showing signs of progressive medical deterioration. The IACHR declared that the use of force against Gladys Carol during a prison riot in 1999 constituted torture, providing an opportunity for the review of prison authorities in their treatment of inmates.

APRODEH and CEJIL reaffirm their commitment to continue supporting the victim and her family members by ensuring the effective and expedient compliance with the sentence issued by the IACHR.

Inter-American Court issues verdict on emblematic Palace of Justice case.

Colombia has been found responsible for serious violations of human rights committed during the siege and capture of the Palace of  Justice – headquarters for Colombia’s Supreme Court and Council of State -, on November 6 and 7, 1985.

Due to the fact that the State has only managed to identify one of the disappeared victims, the Court required the State to conduct all actions necessary to locate the remains of the victims immediately.

Thu, 12/11/2014

Washington D.C., 11 de December, 2014.- Colombia has been found responsible for serious violations of human rights committed during the siege and capture of the Palace of  Justice – headquarters for Colombia’s Supreme Court and Council of State -, on November 6 and 7, 1985.

In a ruling made public yesterday, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (Inter-American Court), stated that the event constituted a "pre-announced siege" and that the Army had prior intelligence information about the imminent takeover of the Palace by the M-19 guerrilla group. In spite of this prior knowledge, two days before the siege, security for judges and staff who worked at the courthouse was withdrawn, leaving nearly 250 people unprotected.

In its decision, the Inter-American Court determined that Colombia is responsible for the forced disappearance of a member of the M-19, seven cafeteria workers operating at the headquarters of the Palace, and two visitors. Additionally, the Court determined that two people were deprived of their right to life. Similarly, the Inter-American Court considered proven the fact that four people left the courthouse alive: three of them were illegally detained and tortured by members of the military and one of them was subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment. In the case of the Assistant Judge Carlos Horacio Urán, the Court concluded that he exited the courthouse alive, was tortured and extra-judicially executed by members of the security forces, and then his lifeless body was returned to the Palace.

The Court ruled in favor of the victims of the case and their families, who fought against the "pact of silence" and impunity that surrounded the facts of the Palace of Justice for nearly 30 years.

For Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL, "This decision provides an answer to the victims and Colombian society, which for three decades have demanded to know the truth of what happened at the Palace of Justice." However, she adds that, "The complete truth will be ensured only through the implementation of this decision by Colombian institutions: investigating all of the guilty, finding the remains of the victims still missing, and clarifying what happened on November 6 and 7, 1985 ."

To date there are only two firm sentences for some of the disappearances. One is against General (r) Arias Cabrales for the disappearance of five victims and another against Colonel (r) Plazas Vega for the disappearance of Irma Franco and Carlos Augusto Rodríguez Vera. Both are serving their respective sentences of 35 and 30 years of imprisonment in military installations. However, an appeal on the case of Colonel (r) Plazas Vega is currently pending. It is expected that the Supreme Court will issue a decision in the coming days.

Considering the limited justice achieved with regards to the case of the missing persons and the existing impunity experienced by the other victims, the IA Court ordered Colombia to conduct a thorough investigation and to punish those responsible.

This ruling is of great relevance to the current Colombian context, where several projects to expand military jurisdiction are pending. Within the ruling, the Court reiterated that military jurisdiction lacks the competency to investigate cases of serious violations of human rights.

Due to the fact that the State has only managed to identify one of the disappeared victims, the Court required the State to conduct all actions necessary to locate the remains of the victims immediately.

"For years, my daughters and I lived deceived by the Colombian State, which made us believe that my husband had died in the crossfire," said Ana Maria Bidegain, widow of Assistant Judge Carlos Horacio Urán. "We now know that he was executed and we will not cease until the Colombian justice system prosecutes all perpetrators. We will also not cease to support those who, overcoming fear and pain, demand that truth is a prior and essential step towards seeking justice and achieving peace.”

Link to the sentence (Spanish only): goo.gl/D8JUH1

CEJIL Participates in Final Event Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees

Between December 2nd and 3rd 2014, CEJIL will participate in an event attended by members of civil society and government representatives in Brasilia, Brazil celebrating the culmination of the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.

At the meeting, it is expected that participating states and members of civil society will adopt a new action plan that will best address challenges faced in implementing programs that facilitate sustainable solutions and protect refugees, stateless and internally displaced persons over the next 10 years.

Tue, 12/02/2014

 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR ) estimates that over 800,000 people throughout Latin America are in need of refugee protection status. In Colombia alone, an estimated 5 million people are internally displaced, while the number of stateless persons is estimated at 200,000. Additionally, the region has been dealing with the crisis of thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing northward from organized crime , drug trafficking , domestic violence and lack of institutions to address these problems in El Salvador , Guatemala and Honduras.
At the meeting, it is expected that participating states and members of civil society will adopt a new action plan that will best address the challenges of implementing programs that facilitate sustainable solutions and protect refugees, stateless and internally displaced over the next 10 years.
The new plan will provide an innovative, pragmatic and flexible framework for international cooperation and solidarity with governments. It will be conducted in collaboration with the UNHCR and other international agencies, civil society and the international community.
"30 years of the Declaration, Latin America and the Caribbean still face significant challenges –including transnational organized crime, violence generated by “maras” or gangs , natural disasters and displacement caused by the construction of mega development projects. Now more than ever, states require greater coordination and consolidation of regional standards  to guarantee the rights of people seeking international protection, " said Viviana Krsticevic , Executive Director of CEJIL, . "We hope the meeting will help develop solutions to these challenges.”
CEJIL played a key role in the consultation processes that have been held under +30 Cartagena . On July 15, 2014 , in collaboration with over 500 organizations , the organization crafted the Declaration of Bogotá. This declaration aims to highlight weaknesses found within institutional responses to humanitarian crises and further address the lack of rights of displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees as well as victims of trafficking in persons, stateless persons and victims of new forms of forced domestic and international migration due to development and  private investment projects, environmental degradation and climate change, and common and organized crime.
Background information
In 1984, state representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean met in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia , to discuss the legal and humanitarian issues affecting refugees in the region and to find solutions. The meeting was considered a turning point in the subject and created the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.
This Declaration broadened the definition of refugees previously found in the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and helped establish recommendations on the humane treatment and the crafting of durable solutions for those in need of international protection. The Declaration is one of the most important instruments of protection for refugees in the region. Through it, governments and members of civil society have conducted extensive processes of consultation and searched for pragmatic solution in Latin America and the Caribbean to address contemporary challenges faced in creating responses that address protection of refugees , internally displaced and stateless persons.Between December 2nd and 3rd 2014, the Center for Justice and International Law will participate in a ministerial event in Brasilia, Brazil celebrating the culmination of the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.

 

Between December 2nd and 3rd 2014, CEJIL will participate in a ministerial event in Brasilia, Brazil celebrating the culmination of the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR ) estimates that over 800,000 people throughout Latin America are in need of refugee protection status. In Colombia alone, an estimated 5 million people are internally displaced, while the number of stateless persons is estimated at 200,000. Additionally, the region has been dealing with the crisis of thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing northward from organized crime , drug trafficking , domestic violence and lack of institutions to address these problems in El Salvador , Guatemala and Honduras.

At the meeting, it is expected that participating states and members of civil society will adopt a new action plan that will best address challenges faced in implementing programs that facilitate sustainable solutions and protect refugees, stateless and internally displaced persons over the next 10 years.

The new plan will provide an innovative, pragmatic and flexible framework for international cooperation and solidarity with governments. It will be conducted in collaboration with the UNHCR and other international agencies, civil society and the international community.

"30 years of the Declaration, Latin America and the Caribbean still face significant challenges –including transnational organized crime, violence generated by “maras” or gangs , natural disasters and displacement caused by the construction of mega development projects. Now more than ever, states require greater coordination and consolidation of regional standards  to guarantee the rights of people seeking international protection, " said Viviana Krsticevic , Executive Director of CEJIL, . "We hope the meeting will help develop solutions to these challenges.”

CEJIL played a key role in the consultation processes that have been held under +30 Cartagena . On July 15, 2014 , in collaboration with over 500 organizations , the organization crafted the Declaration of Bogotá. This declaration aims to highlight weaknesses found within institutional responses to humanitarian crises and further address the lack of rights of displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees as well as victims of trafficking in persons, stateless persons and victims of new forms of forced domestic and international migration due to development and  private investment projects, environmental degradation and climate change, and common and organized crime.

 

Background information

In 1984, state representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean met in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia , to discuss the legal and humanitarian issues affecting refugees in the region and to find solutions. The meeting was considered a turning point in the subject and created the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees.

This Declaration broadened the definition of refugees previously found in the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and helped establish recommendations on the humane treatment and the crafting of durable solutions for those in need of international protection. The Declaration is one of the most important instruments of protection for refugees in the region. Through it, governments and members of civil society have conducted extensive processes of consultation and searched for pragmatic solution in Latin America and the Caribbean to address contemporary challenges faced in creating responses that address protection of refugees , internally displaced and stateless persons.

Honduras must guarantee the fulfillment of human rights obligations

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR ) began its visit to Honduras today. As the ultimate mechanism invested in the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the American continent, the visit demonstrates the IACHR’s particular interest and concern about the situation in the country.

Civil society organizations welcome the Commission and hope that follow up on the country’s situation will continue through the establishment of recommendations that will promote structural changes to improve the human rights situation for all Hondurans.

In strict compliance with its international obligations on human rights, we believe that the new state authorities should take the IACHR visit as an opportunity to build up democratic institutions sorely needed by the country.

Mon, 12/01/2014

 

Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., December 1st, 2014- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR ) began its visit to Honduras today. As the ultimate mechanism invested in the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the American continent, the visit demonstrates the IACHR’s particular interest and concern about the situation in the country.
Within this framework, we the undersigned organizations declare:
First: Ever since the coup d'état in 2009, the weakening of the democratic institutions has continued. The authorities have not recognized the breakdown of constitutional order; most human rights violations committed in this context remain unpunished; and the institutions (such as the Supreme Court and the Army), which facilitated the coup , have not yet been punished. Moreover, due to the alignment of the legislative and judicial power with the dictates of the executive, judicial independence remains a distant yearning.
Second: Military authority has gradually increased at the expense of civilian power. At present, various public institutions are run by military personnel such as: the Directorate of Immigration, Civil Aviation, HONDUTEL, the National Registry, among others. Additionally, the government created the military police to maintain public order and now seeks to give it constitutional status, even though there have been reports of the military’s involvement committing human rights violations.
Third: Despite new provisions modifying the method for setting the number of violent deaths and preventing access to public information, violence rates have not decreased. According to the National Observatory of Violence, 79 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants were registered for 2013. Yet, impunity for such crimes is almost absolute (92%).
Fourth: Honduras owes a debt to its inhabitants to fulfill the guarantee of their human rights While action plans on human rights have been approved, they are not being implemented. Of particular concern are the rights of indigenous peoples who face discrimination and exclusion, people of African descent, who face land dispossession and risk disappearance; discrimination and violence against women, girls, and young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of lesbian communities, gay, transgender, and intersex. Also worrying is the criminalization and persecution of defenders of human rights; the inhuman conditions faced by detainees; and the constant death threats and high murder rates faced by those who exercise freedom of expression and judicial officers who have demonstrated honesty and transparency in its work.
Fifth: The visit by the Inter-American Commission is a valuable opportunity for the Honduran government to provide an account for their past and present action and to present a report on its plans about how it will address the various problems faced by the country.
Civil society organizations welcome the Commission and hope that follow up on the country’s situation will continue through the establishment of recommendations that will promote structural changes to improve the human rights situation for all Hondurans.
We believe that the new state authorities should take the IACHR visit as an opportunity to build democratic institutions sorely needed by the country, in strict compliance with its international obligations on human rights.
Signing Organizations:
Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD)
Asociación LGBT Arcoiris
Asociadas por lo Justo (JASS)
Asociación Para una Vida Mejor de Personas Infectadas/Afectadas por el VIH-SIDA en Honduras (APUVIMEH)
Casa Alianza Honduras
Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM)
Centro de Estudios de la Mujer-Honduras (CEMH)
Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH)
Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)
Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas (CODEMUH)
Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)
Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre)
Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH)
El Centro de Prevención Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de Victimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT)
El Frente Amplio del Colegio de Profesionales de Educación Media de Honduras (COPEMH)
Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús (ERIC-SJ)
Foro de mujeres por la Vida
La Red de Mujeres de Ojojona
Movimiento Diversidad en Resistencia
Movimiento Ambientalista de Santa Bárbara (MAS)
Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz Visitación Padilla
Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH)
Red Lésbica Cattrachas

 

Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., December 1st, 2014- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR ) began its visit to Honduras today. As the ultimate mechanism invested in the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the American continent, the visit demonstrates the IACHR’s particular interest and concern about the situation in the country.

Within this framework, we the undersigned organizations declare:

First: Ever since the coup d'état in 2009, the weakening of the democratic institutions has continued. The authorities have not recognized the breakdown of constitutional order; most human rights violations committed in this context remain unpunished; and the institutions (such as the Supreme Court and the Army), which facilitated the coup , have not yet been punished. Moreover, due to the alignment of the legislative and judicial power with the dictates of the executive, judicial independence remains a distant yearning.

Second: Military authority has gradually increased at the expense of civilian power. At present, various public institutions are run by military personnel such as: the Directorate of Immigration, Civil Aviation, HONDUTEL, the National Registry, among others. Additionally, the government created the military police to maintain public order and now seeks to give it constitutional status, even though there have been reports of the military’s involvement committing human rights violations.

Third: Despite new provisions modifying the method for setting the number of violent deaths and preventing access to public information, violence rates have not decreased. According to the National Observatory of Violence, 79 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants were registered for 2013. Yet, impunity for such crimes is almost absolute (92%).

Fourth: Honduras owes a debt to its inhabitants to fulfill the guarantee of their human rights. While action plans on human rights have been approved, they are not being implemented. Of particular concern are the rights of indigenous peoples who face discrimination and exclusion, people of African descent, who face land dispossession and risk disappearance; discrimination and violence against women, girls, and young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of lesbian communities, gay, transgender, and intersex. Also worrying is the criminalization and persecution of defenders of human rights; the inhuman conditions faced by detainees; and the constant death threats and high murder rates faced by those who exercise freedom of expression and judicial officers who have demonstrated honesty and transparency in its work.

Fifth: The visit by the Inter-American Commission is a valuable opportunity for the Honduran government to provide an account for their past and present actions and to present a report on its plans about how it will address the various problems faced by the country.

Civil society organizations welcome the Commission and hope that follow up on the country’s situation will continue through the establishment of recommendations that will promote structural changes to improve the human rights situation for all Hondurans.

In strict compliance with its international obligations on human rights, we believe that the new state authorities should take the IACHR visit as an opportunity to build up democratic institutions sorely needed by the country.

Signing Organizations:

Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD)

Asociación LGBT Arcoiris

Asociadas por lo Justo (JASS)

Asociación Para una Vida Mejor de Personas Infectadas/Afectadas por el VIH-SIDA en Honduras (APUVIMEH)

Casa Alianza Honduras

Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM)

Centro de Estudios de la Mujer-Honduras (CEMH)

Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH)

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)

Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas (CODEMUH)

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)

Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre)

Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH)

El Centro de Prevención Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de Victimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT)

El Frente Amplio del Colegio de Profesionales de Educación Media de Honduras (COPEMH)

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús (ERIC-SJ)

Foro de mujeres por la Vida

La Red de Mujeres de Ojojona

Movimiento Diversidad en Resistencia

Movimiento Ambientalista de Santa Bárbara (MAS)

Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz Visitación Padilla

Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH)

Red Lésbica Cattrachas

CEJIL expresses its regret over the decision made by the Constitutional Court of Guatemala on the processes of judicial elections

CEJIL regrets the decision made by Guatemala's Constitutional Court validating the election of judges for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, despite a clear breach of domestic legislation and international standards conducted by both by the nominating committees and the Congress on these processes. This decision will affect the ability Guatemala's citizen's to access justice and determine the sutability of those imparting it.

Tue, 11/25/2014

San José, Costa Rica November 25th, 2014- The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), expresses its opposition to the decision made by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court (CC) of validating the election of judges for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, despite a clear breach of domestic legislation and international standards conducted by both by the nominating committees and the Congress on these processes.

The appointments had been temporarily suspended by the Court on October 9th. Many individuals and civil society groups alleged significant irregularities in the process, such as lack of adequate verification and evaluation of the merits and abilities of candidates, lack of transparency in some phases of the process, the existence of conflicts of interest in the appointments, among others.

Despite this, the Court did not discuss the merits of the arguments. It considered that the Congress had not committed any violation and failed to analyze the complaints weighed by the process followed in the nominating committees. Thus, the Constitutional Court ignored the recommendations and rulings issued by major international protection agencies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the independence of judges, magistrates and lawyers, who had recently urged the authorities to respect judicial independence and, consequently, to review the appointments in accordance with the international obligations of the Guatemalan state.

On this issue, both the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I-A Court) and the IACHR, have pointed out that the proper process of nomination and selection of judicial officers constitutes one of the essential prerequisites for the guarantee of judicial independence. In turn, these bodies have emphasized that "if basic parameters of objectivity and fairness are not respected, it would be possible to design a system that allows a high degree of discretion in selecting the judicial personnel, under which the individuals selected would not necessarily be the most suitable."

"The decision of the Constitutional Court deepens the institutional crisis currently facing Guatemala. Validation of judicial elections without guaranteeing a choice based on merit seriously jeopardize the principle of separation of powers and affects the rule of law”, stated Marcia Aguiluz, CEJIL's Program Director for Central America and Mexico.

CEJIL regrets the decision of the Constitutional Court as it affects the access to justice for all Guatemalans by not ensuring judicial independence, implying that the people living in this country will have no certainty of capacity and suitability of persons providing justice.

At the same time, we respectfully ask all social sectors to speak out against this event and to join in observing the actions of the persons named and denouncing those who clash with the international obligations of the Guatemalan state. Finally, we ask the authorities to protect the various actors who have denounced irregularities in the process, to avoid suffering retaliation for those complaints.

CEJIL promotes dialogue on the implementation of decisions made within the Inter-American System

UPDATE: To watch the event live, please click on the following link http://ustre.am/1jpmn

From Monday November 24 to Tuesday November 25, 2014, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) will hold a seminar on the implementation off decisions made within the Inter-American System and the administration of justice: synergies , tensions and possibilities in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The event aims to create a space for reflection between different stakeholders vested in implementing the decisions made by the Commission and Inter-American Court on Human Rights (I-A Court), particularly measures related to obtaining justice.

Sun, 11/23/2014

San José , November 20, 2014- From Monday November 24 to Tuesday November 25, 2014, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) will hold a seminar on the implementation of decisions made by mechanisms within the Inter-American System and the administration of justice: synergies , tensions and possibilities in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The event aims to create a space for reflection between different stakeholders vested in implementing the decisions made by the Commission and Inter-American Court on Human Rights (I-A Court), particularly measures related to obtaining justice.

While states in the region have repeatedly expressed their appreciation for  decisions made by the Inter-American System, many challenges remain for achieving consistent compliance with all resolutions.

The meeting in San José will gather leading academics, jurists, human rights defenders, and members of the Commission and the I-A Court.

The conference will start on Monday 24 morning and the first plenary session will be available to the public via streaming via this link. You can also check the event schedule here.

Photo credits : Court HR

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