Empowering human rights defenders

Fresh off the press: CEJIL’s position paper on “The Debates on the Role of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”

Through this publication, CEJIL share its analysis on the process of reflection that started through the OAS General Assembly to audit the Commission’s work between 2011 and 2014.

Wed, 10/29/2014

Through this publication, CEJIL share its analysis on the process of reflection that started through the OAS General Assembly to audit the Commission’s work between 2011 and 2014. The paper attempts to present a timeline of the process, key actors and their positions, results achieved and the challenges still faced by the IAHCR and the Court. We hope that this document will be able to contribute to future debates in favor of the protection and promotion of human rights in the Americas.

To read the publication in Spanish, click here.

CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos

It is with great joy and admiration that CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras)  for winning the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute on Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

As a result of their fight for equality, peace and justice within Central America and Mexico, IM-Defensoras are an inspiration to all of us. They have improved the lives of hundreds of Human Right defenders and also contributed to the eradication of taboos through dialog. It is an honor to support their work. http://tinylink.net/qtpg6

Sat, 10/18/2014

Fotografía Defensoras créditos Agencia CuadratínIt is with great joy and admiration that CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras)  for winning the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute on Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

As a result of their fight for equality, peace and justice within Central America and Mexico, IM-Defensoras are an inspiration to all of us. They have improved the lives of hundreds of Human Right defenders and also contributed to the eradication of taboos through dialog. It is an honor to support their work. http://tinylink.net/qtpg6

Photographic credits: Quadratin Press Agence

 

CEJIL condemns recent student deaths and disappearances in Guerrero, Mexico

Iguala, Guerrero Mexico October 2, 2014- In light of the violent events which took place on September 26 and 27 in Mexico’s state of Guerrero, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) asks that the safety of the missing students as well as the safety of their families and those advocating on their behalf be guaranteed as they move forward making claims with Mexican authorities. Specifically, we ask for the protection of members of the Center for Human Rights of Tlachinollan Mountain.

Tue, 10/07/2014

Manifestaciones por normalistas El País de España

San José, 7 de octubre de 2014.- In light of the violent events which took place on September 26 and 27 in Mexico’s state of Guerrero, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) asks that the safety of the missing students as well as the safety of their families and advocates is guaranteed by Mexican authorities throughout the investigation process. Specifically, we ask for the protection of members of the Center for Human Rights of Tlachinollan Mountain.

According to reports provided to CEJIL, policemen clashed with students’ en-route from Iguala to the state capital of Chilpancingo after completing a fundraiser for their school. Over the course of the next few days, violence escalated when unidentified gunmen opened fire on the students, killing three people and injuring six. Forty-three students were taken away in police vehicles and to date, were still missing.

Then, on October 4th, reports announced that Mexican law enforcement agents discovered 5 mass graves containing the remains of several students.

CEJIL urges authorities to correctly identify the bodies, to continue their search for the remaining students who are still missing, and to bring to justice those who committed this heinous atrocity. We ask the authorities to maintain constant contact with the families of the missing students to guarantee their right to access information and participation throughout the course of the investigation. The state must guarantee their rights to truth, justice, and redress.

Statement from Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL

Washington, DC October 2, 2014- It is with great shock and sadness that we mourn the sudden loss of Juan Carlos Gualinga, Toribio Tapuy, Martha Aranda and Paúl Navarrete who died in a plane crash soon after takeoff from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku on the evening of October 1, 2014.

As we mourn their loss, we also hope for the healthy recovery of Hugo Medina and his two-year old daughter who were also on the plane.  Our most heartfelt condolences go out to their loved ones.

 

Thu, 10/02/2014

Washington, DC October 2, 2014- It is with great shock and sadness that we mourn the sudden loss of Juan Carlos Gualinga, Toribio Tapuy, Martha Aranda and Paúl Navarrete who died in a plane crash soon after takeoff from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku on the evening of October 1, 2014.

As we mourn their loss, we also hope for the healthy recovery of Hugo Medina and his two-year old daughter who were also on the plane.  Our most heartfelt condolences go out to their loved ones.

 

CEJIL expresses concern for setback in the protection of women’s rights in Nicaragua

San Jose, September 3, 2014. Recently, the Nicaraguan State passed the Comprehensive Law number 779 against violence towards women. The reform has modified many important aspects of the law, which in turn translate into setbacks in compliance with the state obligation to effectively guarantee the right of women to live a life free of violence.

The revisions of Law 779 restrict the concept of violence towards women by establishing that only acts committed in a relationship between a couple will be punishable, that is to say, it excludes violence perpetrated in public or community environments by any person without bonds of affection.

Wed, 09/03/2014

Fotografía Ilustrativa Violencia Contra la MujerSan Jose, September 3, 2014. Recently, the Nicaraguan State passed the Comprehensive Law number 779 against violence towards women. The reform has modified many important aspects of the law, which in turn translate into setbacks in compliance with the state obligation to effectively guarantee the right of women to live a life free of violence.

The revisions of Law 779 restrict the concept of violence towards women by establishing that only acts committed in a relationship between a couple will be punishable, that is to say, it excludes violence perpetrated in public or community environments by any person without bonds of affection.

The new reform also favors the application of mediation as a method of preventing and punishing violence towards women.

With respect to this procedural figure, in its report, “Access to Justice for Women Victims of Sexual Violence in Mesoamerica,” the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) stated its concern for the utilization of said mechanism because it generally harms the victims. According to the IACHR, women find themselves in a situation of disadvantage and inequality and therefore applying the mediation hinders their access to justice as well as the eventual punishment of the aggressor.

At the same time, the cited revisions modify the criminal definition of femicide and limits it to interpersonal relations of a couple, disrespecting what was previously established in the law when the crime was described, “in the context of power relations between men and women.” In only the first semester of 2014 in Nicaragua, the Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia reported 47 femicides, four more than during the same period in 2013.

Meanwhile, during the last trimester of 2013, Nicaragua’s Instituto de Medicina Legal evaluated 1162 women for sexual violence and 1659 for intrafamiliar violence.

Before this grave situation, both the Consejo de Derechos Humanos and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, through the observance of various thematic hearings and the evaluations conducted under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, have recommended that the Nicaraguan State adapt its legislation so that it guarantees rights to women and that it adopt effective public policies that prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women.

These international obligations also derive from the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the “Convention of Belém do Pará,” ratified by the State of Nicaragua in 1995.

“The approved regulations do not constitute an effective action to protect the rights of girls and women. Nicaragua is not complying with its international obligations, leaving this group unprotected in a vulnerable situation,” stated Marcia Aguiluz, CEJIL Program Director for Central America and the Caribbean.

CEJIL respectfully calls on the Nicaraguan authorities to reform the revisions of Law 779 and to comply with its obligation to adjust said law to the international standards in relation to violence against women.

Press Contact

Daniela Araya

+506 2280 7473

daraya@cejil.org

Protection International and CEJIL applaud the efforts to pass a law protecting human rights defenders, journalists and justice operators in Honduras

During a conference with civil society

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, August 7, 2014- People who defend human rights, as well as journalists and justice operators, face a grave situation of risk in Honduras. Both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations ex-Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggye, have expressed their concern for this distinct type of persistent attacks: among them murders, threats, kidnappings, harassment, raids and robbery occurring in headquarters of organizations, as well as the criminalization of the human rights defenders. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has also seen this context of risk in its judgments in the cases of Kawas Fernández and Luna López vs. Honduras.

Thu, 08/07/2014

Conferencia de prensa CEJIL y Protección InternacionalTegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, August 7, 2014- People who defend human rights, as well as journalists and justice operators, face a grave situation of risk in Honduras. Both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations ex-Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggye, have expressed their concern for this distinct type of persistent attacks: among them murders, threats, kidnappings, harassment, raids and robbery occurring in headquarters of organizations, as well as the criminalization of the human rights defenders. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has also seen this context of risk in its judgments in the cases of Kawas Fernández and Luna López vs. Honduras.

Due to this grave situation, the cited bodies of protection and the Human Rights Council (Consejo de Derechos Humanos) recommended through the Universal Periodic Review (Examen Periódico Universal) the State of Honduras to create a mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders, as well as of journalists and social communicators.

In this sense, on June 4, the Congress of the Republic of Honduras approved in first debate the project named “Protection Law for defenders of Human Rights, Journalists, Social Communicators and Operators of Justice,” that looks to comply with the cited recommendations. Unfortunately, however, said project presents a variety of deficiencies that could impede compliance with the pursued objective.

Facing this situation, Protection International (PI) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) conducted a joint mission to Tegucigalpa from July 28 to August 2. During the mission, the organizations expressed some concerns about the approved project to representatives of the Executive Power and the Honduran Congress. At the same time, they accompanied local organizations in the reflection and elaboration of reform proposals that would strengthen the mentioned mechanism.

“All public policies related to the protection of human rights defenders and journalists should be consulted with civil society and subject to a good technical analysis. If this does not happen, these public policies can be inapplicable, and would therefore not obtain the expected benefits,” stated the President of PI on the issue.

Marcia Aguiluz, CEJIL Program Director for Central America and Mexico noted that, “the State of Honduras is obligated to consider the international standards on the protection of human rights defenders and should also reach an agreement with the various groups that are in a situation of risk about the implementation of mechanisms that respond to their needs in an effective way.”

PI and CEJIL applaud and are thankful for the authorities’ willingness to listen to the suggestions for improvements to the initiative. Likewise, they reiterate the call to consider the contributions of various sectors of civil society so that the mechanism that aims for the protection of human rights defenders, journalists and operators of justice is a product of a broad, inclusive, transparent and participative process.

Press contact

Daniela Araya

daraya@cejil.org

+506 22807473

CEJIL: Summary of the 2013 Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

On April 24, 2014, The President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Tracy Robinson, presented the 2013 Annual Report before the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the OAS Permanent Council.

This is the first annual report prepared under the guidelines of the new Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, adopted in August of 2013 as a result of the OAS reflection process. The Rules of Procedure establish new guidelines and standards in the evaluation of the state of human rights in the region.

Sat, 05/17/2014

2014 05 Foto de la Presentación del Informe de la CIDHOn April 24, 2014, The President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Tracy Robinson, presented the 2013 Annual Report before the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the OAS Permanent Council.

This is the first annual report prepared under the guidelines of the new Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, adopted in August of 2013 as a result of the OAS reflection process. The Rules of Procedure establish new guidelines and standards in the evaluation of the state of human rights in the region.

As a result, the 2013 Annual Report is divided into six chapters.

Chapter I addresses the activities conducted by the IACHR in its relation with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and with other regional and universal bodies of human rights. According to the report, the IACHR submitted 11 contentious cases to the jurisdiction of the Court, one less than in 2012 and 48% less than in 2011. Four cases were submitted against Peru, two against Honduras, and one against Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. Of these, three had indigenous and tribal communities as victims, two were related to illegal detentions and torture and two to extrajudicial executions, among other affected rights. On the other hand, there was only one petition made to the Court for a provisional measure, while in 2012 there were four made and in 2011 there were seven.

Chapter II addresses the protection of human rights from the perspective of the system of cases and precautionary measures. According to the Report, in 2013 2061 petitions were received, almost 100 more than in the previous year and 400 more than were received in 2011. This shows a 20% increase in the number of petitions received since 2011.

Of the petitions it received in 2013, the IACHR opened 736, that is to say, a total of 35.7%; this reflects a diminution of 41.3% of the total number of open petitions in the previous year. Of these, only 123 were accepted for processing leaving out 613 petitions. Therefore, of the total petitions analyzed, 16.7% were accepted for processing.

At the end of 2013, a total of 8548 petitions were pending a resolution before the IACHR, 1753 of which are in the phases of admissibility and merits. There were a total of 116 reports in which the IACHR made decisions of admissibility (44), inadmissibility (9), merits (19), friendly settlement (6) or archive (38) during the 2013 period. This shows a decrease from the previous year when 125 reports were approved. It also shows a substantive reduction in comparison to the 165 reports approved in 2011. However, this year there were more admissibility reports and less inadmissibility in relation to the previous year. Additionally, three Merits Reports were published in accordance with article 51(3) of the American Convention on Human Rights, whereas only one was published in the previous year. Two were emitted against the United States and one against Mexico.

In relation to precautionary measures, the Commission received 400 petitions, 10% less than in 2012. Of those, it only granted 26, meaning 6.5% of the total. This shows a diminution in comparison to the previous year, in which 35 measures were granted out of the 448 petitions; in 2011, 57 measures were granted out of the 422 petitions. 12 measures were granted prior to the effective date of the new regulations and 14 thereafter.

Of the 400 precautionary measures petitioned, the majority were filed against Mexico (85), Colombia (62) and Argentina (31). However, the Commission primarily issued measures against Cuba (5), Haiti (4) and Mexico (3).

Country visits doubled in 2013 from the three that occurred in 2012 to the six that took place in 2013. The IACHR conducted in loco visits to the Dominican Republic, Suriname, Argentina, Honduras, Canada and Guatemala. The visits addressed a variety of issues including the right to nationality, identity, equality before the law and non-discrimination, women’s rights and the rights of indigenous communities, among others.

Chapter III reports the activities developed by the seven rapporteurships and the two bodies. A separate chapter reports the work of the Special Rapporteurhip for Freedom of Expression.

For the first time, the work conducted by the Unit on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR), created in November 2012, is presented. In April 2014 the Unit established itself as the Special Rapporteurship on ESCR. Furthermore, the Report announces that in November 2013, the IACHR decided to create the Rapporteurship on the Rights of the LGBTI persons, which began working on February 1, 2014.

The following thematic and country reports were approved in 2013: (1) The Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Persons Deprived of Liberty in Honduras; (2) The Rights of Boys and Girls to a Family. Alternative Care. Ending Institutionalization in the Americas; (3) Guarantees for the Independence of Justice Operators in the Americas; (4) Report on the Impact of the Friendly Settlement Process; (6) Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas; (7) Report on the Human Rights of migrants and other persons in the context of human mobility in Mexico; (8) Truth, Justice and Reparation: Fourth Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Colombia. The previous is an unusual number in comparison of 2012, in which not a single thematic report was released.

Split into two sections, Chapter IV contemplates the new methodology that follows the 2013 approved Rules of Procedure.

The first section presents a panorama on the human rights situation in the hemisphere, an analysis that comes from the monitoring conducted by the Commission. The IACHR issued 103 press releases. In 22 of them it reported murders or the persecution of human rights defenders and reporters, including attacks against judges and organizations for their actions. Furthermore, the IACHR gave special attention to the violent deaths that occurred in the penitentiary centers of Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and Bolivia. It also gave special attention to the situation of LGBTI persons.

In addition to the above, this section also includes information requested from States in relation to specific violations related to four key issues: the effect on the right to personal liberty in relation to the Guantanamo military base and the responsibility of the United States in the compliance of the issued precautionary measures; the situation of Ecuador and the effects on the right to freedom of expression; the independence and impartiality of the operators of justice in the region; and lastly, the effect on the right to nationality and non-discrimination in relation to the Judgment TC/0168 issued September 23, 2013 by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic.

The second section reports on the specific human rights situation in some states selected by the Commissioners in accordance with the criteria, methodology and procedures set out in the new Rules of Procedure, and highlights critical situations affecting human rights. The Commission, by an absolute majority, decided to include three member States in the second section: Cuba, Honduras and Venezuela.

Regarding the universality of the Inter-American System, the IACHR shows that as of June 2013, only 7 Member States (20%) had ratified all the Inter-American human rights treaties: Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay. Because of this, the IACHR calls on the other Member States to ratify all the treaties and asks them to remove the internal obstacles to reach this objective.

Chapter V is left pending for the 2014 Report, evidencing the monitor of recommendations given by the IACHR in its country or thematic reports specific to a single country, Jamaica. The reports are currently still undergoing consultation with the State and civil society.

Chapter VI of the Report shows that a precarious financial situation continues to persist in the IACHR. Even though the OAS increased the IACHR’s budget by US$65,000 for the 2014 fiscal year, the IACHR continues to depend on external funds to minimally respond to the growing demand of the countries in the Americas. As of October 31, 2013, the specific funds generally represented 46% of the money the Executive Secretariat takes in to perform its various functions and 49% for its implementation. Additionally, the IACHR reported the approval of the increased budget for the Commissioners’ fees from US$2,000 to US$4,000 monthly.

After the presentation of the Annual Report, the majority of the States publically expressed the need for the IACHR to be able to count on the financial conditions that permit it to fully dedicate itself to the persons and groups of the region that have multiple necessities for protection and gravely suffer effects to their essential rights. However, to date, the political bodies of the OAS continue without adopting the necessary measures to guarantee the adequate funding of the System.

CEJIL, DPLF and WOLA express their concern for the appointment of retired General Daniel Urresti as Minister of the Interior in Peru

Urresti is currently under investigation for his participation in the murder of a journalist, Hugo Bustíos, in 1988

Washington D.C., July 8, 2014. In the wake of the President of the Republic of Peru’s, Ollanta Humala, recent appointment of retired General Daniel Urresti as Minister of the Interior, the signing organizations express their deep concern about the new Minister as he is a subject of a criminal investigation by the commission for grave human rights violations that occurred during Peru’s internal armed conflict.

Thu, 08/21/2014

Washington D.C., July 8, 2014. In the wake of the President of the Republic of Peru’s, Ollanta Humala, recent appointment of retired General Daniel Urresti as Minister of the Interior, the signing organizations express their deep concern about the new Minister as he is a subject of a criminal investigation by the commission for grave human rights violations that occurred during Peru’s internal armed conflict.

As stated by the Institute for Legal Defense (Instituto de Defensa Legal, IDL) last week, Urresti is under investigation as the alleged mastermind of the murder of Hugo Bustíos, journalist and correspondent for the magazine, “Carretas,” on November 24, 1988. Bustíos, along with his colleague Eduardo Rojas Arce, were investigating the murder of two civilians in the outskirts of the city of Huanta, after having asked the Chief of the Castropampa Military Base, Víctor La Vera Hernández, for permission to access the area. On the way to Huanta, Bustíos and Rojas Arce were attacked with gun fire. Bustíos was hit with a bullet, lost control of the motorcycle he was driving and fell. Rojas Arce was able to save himself. The attackers placed a detonating explosive over Bustíos’s injured body, causing his death. Urrestí, an Army captain at that time, worked as Head of the S-2 Military Intelligence Branch (Sección de Inteligencia S-2) at the Castropampa base in Ayacucho.

The initial investigation was initiated by the military court, but subsequently closed. In light of this, CEJIL and other organizations, including the national headquarters of COMISEDH, brought the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which in 1997 found the Peruvian State responsible for the murder of Hugo Bustíos and the attack on Eduardo Rojas Arce.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission resumed the investigation on the case, and in 2007, the National Criminal Court condemned officers Víctor La Vera Hernández and Amador Vidal Sanbertoa, 17 and 15 years old, respectively, for the murder and attempted murder of Bustíos and Rojas Arce. The investigation continued in order to establish the identity of others responsible, and on June 17, 2013, the judiciary ordered to open an investigation against Urresti. It stated that on November 24, 1988, both journalists were, “ambushed and attacked by members of the Peruvian military from the Castropampa Military Base under the orders of Officer Daniel Belisario Urresti Elera known as “Arturo,” along with the participation of Sergeant Johny José Zapata Acuña known as “Centurión” and other unidentified members of the Military.”

Along with other pieces of evidence, the existence of the order to open an investigation of Urresti has been supported by statements made by members of the Peruvian military at the Castropampa Base in November 1988. Based on these statements, Urresti is being investigated for his role as the mastermind of the murder of Bustíos and the attempted murder of Rojas Arce, both classified as crimes against humanity.

As noted by Viviana Krsticevic, CEJIL’s Executive Director, “the IACHR determined that Peru was responsible for the murder of Bustíos and for violating the personal integrity of Rojas Arce, as well as violating the freedom of expression of both victims because they were journalists. The Peruvian President’s decision to offer a public position to a person under investigation for grave acts sends a message of disrespect for the work of the judicial power in combating impunity, as well as being a direct affront to the victims of grave human rights violations in Peru.”

For Katya Salazar, Executive Director of DPLF, “this case is emblematic because it was investigated by the Peruvian Truth Commission, which recommended the investigation and prosecution of all those responsible. President Humala’s decision to “evaluate the case” and to conclude that there is not sufficient evidence is an attack on judicial independence and implies “rewarding” a person accused of these grave violations.”

Joe-Marie, a Senior Fellow at WOLA, considers that, “the President should rectify this decision because it is detrimental to the process followed in Peru to find truth, justice and reparation for victims of the internal armed conflict in Peru, and it gravely affects the consolidation of democratic institutions. Urresti should be removed from his position and brought to justice for this case. Additionally, the Ollanta Humala government should reaffirm its promise to protect the physical integrity of relatives and witnesses in this case as well as in others under investigation.”

Based on the above, the organizations respectfully ask the Peruvian authorities to respect the actions of the Judicial Power and to guarantee the independence of the investigations and procedures that are followed to determine the responsibilities of all the perpetrators of the murder of Hugo Bustíos. Additionally, the organizations urge the Judicial Power to suspend General Urresti from his post as Minister of the Interior until his criminal role in the Bustíos case is clarified.

Links of interest:

  • Order to open the investigation against Daniel Urresti (auto de apertura de instrucción), June 17, 2013, (Spanish only)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/232302402/Daniel-Urresti-Autoapertorio-del-caso-del-periodista-Hugo-Bustios

Press Contact

Daniela Araya

+506 22807473

daraya@cejil.org

20 years since the historic adoption of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the historic adoption of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, adopted in the 24th Ordinary Period of Sessions of the General Assembly of the OAS that took place in Belem do Para, Brazil in June 1994.

Organizations and human rights defenders in the regions make their position public on the pending obligations of the States to eradicate and punish the disappearance of persons, while recognizing the fundamental roles the Commission and Court of Human Rights have played in interpreting the scope of the rights they protect.

A the same time, the organizations and defenders alike make a strong call to the universalization of the Convention, which at this date has only been ratified by 15 countries. See the complete text of the Statement with its signatures here.

Mon, 06/09/2014

Foto Ilustrativa Desparición ForzadaToday marks the 20th anniversary of the historic adoption of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, adopted in the 24th Ordinary Period of Sessions of the General Assembly of the OAS that took place in Belem do Para, Brazil in June 1994.

Organizations and human rights defenders in the regions make their position public on the pending obligations of the States to eradicate and punish the disappearance of persons, while recognizing the fundamental roles the Commission and Court of Human Rights have played in interpreting the scope of the rights they protect.

A the same time, the organizations and defenders alike make a strong call to the universalization of the Convention, which at this date has only been ratified by 15 countries. See the complete text of the Statement with its signatures here.

20 years after the Convention of Belem do Para: commitments must be strengthened so women can live without violence

Asuncion, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The signing organizations, in the framework of the Forty-fourth Period of Ordinary Sessions of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of “Belem do Para”), which to this date has been ratified by 32 of the 34 members of the OAS. The organizations especially note that this Inter-American human rights treaty has the highest number of ratifications, showing a political commitment to the elimination of all types of violence against women.

Fri, 06/06/2014

Fotografía Belém do ParáAsuncion, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The signing organizations, in the framework of the Forty-fourth Period of Ordinary Sessions of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of “Belem do Para”), which to this date has been ratified by 32 of the 34 members of the OAS. The organizations especially note that this Inter-American human rights treaty has the highest number of ratifications, showing a political commitment to the elimination of all types of violence against women.

The signing organizations appreciate that when the Convention of Belem do Para came into force, the majority of States pushed forward national legislative processes that led to the creation of laws aimed at fighting domestic violence. Nonetheless, the organizations stress that these advances have been insufficient at the level of prevention, investigation and the punishment of the violence against women. In addition, the complexity and impact that this type of violence represents has been hindered from being comprehensively addressed.

It is necessary to restate that the obligations established by the Convention of Belem do Para require the States to design and implement comprehensive public policies that take into account the different spaces where violence against women occurs, such as the situation of violence as well as the obstacles that women human rights defenders face to carry out their work.

At the same time, the signing organizations are troubled by the persistence of generalized impunity in relation to the investigation, prosecution, and punishment that state and non-state actors face for committing violent crimes against women.

On the other hand, in the framework of the current plenary sessions of the General Assembly of the OAS, which are centered on the issue of “Development with Social Inclusion,” it is essential to note that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has already recognized that there is a close link between the elimination of poverty and the protection and exercise of all women’s rights.

In turn, the signing organizations consider that putting into practice what is established in article 9 of the Convention is urgent and cannot be delayed, in the sense of especially protecting women that find themselves in situations worsened by vulnerability including children, the elderly, indigenous women, and women affected by poverty, violence and armed conflict. This will contribute to an adequate approach to guarantee women’s right to a life of dignity, free of violence.

The “factual and legal” inequality that affects women, as well as violence against women, continues to be expressions of the historically unequal power relations between women and men that structure our societies. This perspective, derived from the mandate of the Convention, should help address the analysis of the difficulties that still persist, and the proposals to overcome them.

20 years after the signing of the Convention of Belem do Para, the signing organizations urge the American States to firmly establish public policies and other effective actions in order to:

  • Fight against the persistence of gender stereotypes based on concepts of inferiority or subordination between men and women, as well as practices that promote the exploitation of women’s bodies, which perpetuate the historical discrimination that underlines violent acts against women;
  • Comprehensively address the diverse manifestations of violence that confront women in the Americas (lack of access to reproductive health, maternal mortality, lack of access to sexual education, discrimination, sexual violence, domestic violence, criminalization of abortion and attacks against human rights defenders, among others);
  • Broadly discuss, adopt and implement laws, legal procedures and public policies taking into account the diversity of women that live in the region and considering the complexity of the problem;
  • Guarantee the compilation of adequate and disaggregated statistics that allow the evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures of prevention, punishment and eradication of violence against women;
  • Incorporate a gender and ethnic perspective in the administration of justice;
  • Adequately comply with the decisions of the Inter-American System’s bodies, particularly in cases relating to discrimination and violence against women;
  • Comply with the duty to exercise due diligence to prevent violence against women, including domestic violence; in this sense the States should investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators (public officials or private individuals), and provide complete reparation to the women who are victims of the violence; and
  • Incorporate transversal gender indicators in public programs and proposals to measure the advancement of women’s human rights.

On the twentieth anniversary of the Convention of Belem do Para, the organizations remember that violence against women is a human rights violation and call for the full enjoyment of rights by all women in the Americas. Asuncion, Paraguay, June 4, 2014.

International:

Amnesty International

Regional:

Asociadas por lo Justo (JASS)

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres (CLADEM)

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)

IPAS Centroamérica

La Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)

Red Regional de Organizaciones Civiles para las Migraciones

Red Solidaria contra la Impunidad A.C.

Argentina:

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Brazil:

Associação Juízes para a Democracia (AJD)

Bolivia:

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres (CLADEM)

La Oficina Jurídica para la Mujer

La Red Nacional Mujeres y Minería de Bolivia

Costa Rica:

Asociación Demográfica Costarricense

Alianza por tus Derechos

Centro de Investigación y Promoción para América Central de DDHH (CIPAC)

Centro Integral para los Derechos Humanos de los Migrantes (CIDEHUM)

Defensa de Niñas y Niños Internacional (DNI)

Red Feminista contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres

Ecuador:

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.”

El Salvador:

Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugenésico

Asociación Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreñas por la Paz

Asociación Salvadoreña de Derechos Humanos "Entre Amigos"

Coalición Salvadoreña para la Corte Penal Internacional

Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local

Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas Salvadoreñas por la Diversidad

Grupo de Monitoreo Independiente de El Salvador

Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (IDHUCA)

Oficina de Tutela Legal Dra. María Julia Hernández

Guatemala:

Asociación de Familiares Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FAMDEGUA)

Asociación El refugio de la Niñez

Centro Internacional para Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos (CIIDH)

Centro Para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH)

Colectivo de Investigaciones Sociales y Laborales (COISOLA)

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos

Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial (ECAP)

Fundación Myrna Mack

Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (ICCPG)

Red de la No Violencia contra las Mujeres (REDNOVI)

Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM)

Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (UDEFEGUA)

Honduras:

Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD)

Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT)

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús (ERIC)y Radio Progreso

Foro de Mujeres por la Vida

Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ)

Mexico:

Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos (ASILEGAL)

Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña  Tlachinollan, A. C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A.C. (CEDEHM)

Centro para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer, A.C.

Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad, A.C

Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, A. C (COSYDDHAC)

Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristobal de las Casas, A.C.

Nicaragua:

Asociación Nicaragüense de Transgéneras

Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)

Centro de Apoyo Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (CALPI)

Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN)

Federación Coordinadora Nicaragüense de ONG que trabajan con la Niñez y la Adolescencia (CODENI)

Grupo Cívico Ética y Transparencia

Iniciativa desde la Diversidad Sexual por los Derechos Humanos en Nicaragua (IDSDH)

Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres de Nicaragua (MAM)

Movimiento Contra el Abuso Sexual (MCAS)

Panama:

Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas de Panamá (CONAMUIP)

Centro de Asistencia Legal Popular (CEALP)

Movimiento 10 de Abril por la Defensa del Río Tabasará

Paraguay:

Agora Espacio Civil

Peru:

Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)

Paz y Esperanza

Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (PROMSEX)

Venezuela:

El Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas de los sucesos ocurridos entre el 27 de febrero y los primeros días de marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC)

 

Press Contact

Daniela Araya

+506 22807473

daraya@cejil.org


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