Litigio en el Sistema Interamericano

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.”

 

The State of Guatemala questions judgments issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and refuses to comply

In the framework of a hearing convened by the IA Court to monitor compliance

San Jose, Costa Rica Sunday, May 18, 2014. The State of Guatemala expressed again its refusal to comply with its obligation to investigate, identify, try and punish those responsible for the grave violations of human rights that occurred during the internal armed conflict. This occurred during a hearing convened by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) last Friday, May 16 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Sun, 05/18/2014

Fotografía Ilustrativa Corte IDHSan Jose, Costa Rica Sunday, May 18, 2014. The State of Guatemala expressed again its refusal to comply with its obligation to investigate, identify, try and punish those responsible for the grave violations of human rights that occurred during the internal armed conflict. This occurred during a hearing convened by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) last Friday, May 16 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The Court convened a private hearing to analyze the compliance with the ruling of the cases of Nicholas Chapman Blake, Maritza Urrutia, Plan de Sánchez Massacre, Carpio Nicolle, Tiu Tojin, Florencio Chitay Nech, Mack Chang, Street Children (Villagran Morales and others), Bámaca Velásquez, Molina Theissen and the Dos Erres Massacre. The victims and their representatives from the Bufete Jurídico de Derechos Humanos (BDH), the Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH), the Myrna Mack Foundation and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) participated in the hearing.

In the hearing, which lasted two hours, the various obstacles that exist in Guatemala and that hinder the progress in finding truth and justice were highlighted. Difficulties that are faced in the initial steps of the investigation were mentioned, like the lack of access to information that is held by the Ministry of Defense. At the same time, the problem relative to the abuse of appeals for legal protection and the complicity of the authorities that receive them with the only objective of delaying the procedures was reiterated.

The victims and representative organizations referred to the paralysation of various processes by virtue of actions of the defense that seek the application of the National Law of Reconciliation to exempt the military members who were allegedly involved in the massacres, forced disappearances and other grave violations from responsibility.

Furthermore, the recent decision of the Guatemalan Congress (resolution 3-2014) was reported to the IA Court that expressly does not recognize the international commitments undertaken by the State, denies the genocide, improperly interferes with judicial independence and announces a reform that could implicate amnesty of the cases linked to the armed conflict.

In that regard, numerous judgments of the Inter-American Court have noted that in cases of grave human rights violations, the application of measures like amnesty, pardon, prescription and the establishment of other methods of exclusion of responsibility is unacceptable.

During the hearing, the advances in the fight against impunity were also recognized, however, it was noted that they were due to the determined push from the victims and the political will of some key actors in positions of the administration of justice. Nevertheless, concern was expressed about the imminent institutional changes that could reverse the advances made in recent years.

The victims and the organizations regretted the position that the Guatemalan State expressed, which openly denied its obligation to guarantee truth and justice. Additionally, the State dedicated the majority of its time justifying the impunity for the perpetrators of thousands of extrajudicial killings, hundreds of massacres, tens of thousands of forced disappearances, among other violations that damage the most essential principles of humanity.

The representatives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) remind the State of its international obligations and the consistent jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court in relation to the duty to investigate, try and punish those who commit acts in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights and other international treaties. See press release

Lucrecia Molina, one of the victims present at the hearing, spoke on behalf of her forcibly disappeared brother, Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, a 14 year old boy, asking the Court to keep in mind the victims of the armed conflict and affirmed that, “the Guatemalan State violated its own law to persecute us, victimize us, to massacre, to perpetrate genocide, to disappear thousands, and now it denies us our right to truth and justice.”

In the next few months, the Inter-American Court will issue its new ruling on Guatemala, in relation to which the victims and their representatives have requested forcefulness in reminding the State of its international commitments, as well as to reiterate a series of specific measures so that the authorities effectively progress in the identification and punishment of those responsible for the acts.

CEJIL calls on the Guatemalan authorities to reconsider their position that clearly violates international law and the rights of the victims. Guatemala must provide social peace through the guarantee of access to truth and justice.

Related Links:

IACHR Press Release: IACHR Urges Guatemala to Continue Complying with its International Obligations and Fighting against Impunity

Contextual Information

During the armed conflict, at least 2000 000 people were killed and at least 45 000 were forcibly disappeared. Nevertheless, since 1996, only 31 of those responsible in seven cases have been condemned, meaning that less than 1% of the grave violations have received a response from the State.

The State of Guatemala ratified the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights in 1978 and recognized the Inter-American Court in 1987. It is the second country with the most judgments issued by the Inter-American Court, the majority of which are related to grave human rights violations that involve extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances and massacres.

In accordance with the victims’ representatives, the principle obstacles in the compliance with the judgments, already recognized by the IA Court, include:

  • Lack of an adequate investigation plan
  • Lack of access to information held by the Ministry of Defense and the Military Pension Institute (Instituto de Previsión Militar), which prevents the identification of the perpetrators
  • Persistent misuse of resources for defense and other procedural remedies Complicity of the authorities when hearing and processing cases
  • Lack of executing detention orders of people allegedly involved
  • Not guaranteeing transparency or adequacy of justice operators

 

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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