March 6, 2012 – Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) publishes today the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, which presents updated information on the situation of defenders in the region and on the applicable standards of international law. Moreover, it provides a follow-up to the first report, published by the IACHR on March 7, 2006.

The report was presented today in Geneva, in the context of the sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco, and the IACHR Executive Secretary, Santiago A. Canton, were in charge of the presentation in a seminar with the participation of the UN Rapporteur on this issue, Margaret Sekaggya. The seminar was organized by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). The report will also be presented in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2012, in the context of the 144th Period of Sessions of the IACHR.

The report has four chapters: (1) problems faced by human rights defenders in the region; (2) human rights defenders at particular risk; (3) independence and impartiality of justice operators as a guarantee of access to justice; and (4) protection mechanisms for human rights defenders.

The Commission recognizes that some Member States have made significant efforts in order to comply with the recommendations established in the 2006 report. Notwithstanding these efforts, the obstacles pointed-out in the 2006 report persist, and in some cases, they have intensified. There is a continuance of murders, assaults, forced disappearances, threats, illegal searches, as well as in the statements by high-level authorities discrediting and stigmatizing the work of defending human rights. Moreover, the Commission has noted a growing sophistication of the mechanisms designed to hamper, block, or discourage the work of defending and promoting human rights, which is reflected in criminal charges being filed, financing sources for organizations being restricted, and in the absence of adequate and effective mechanisms for their protection. (suite…)

Genève-Paris, le 15 mars 2012. Les 8 et 9 mars 2012, l’Observatoire pour la protection des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme, un programme conjoint de la Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme (FIDH) et de l’Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT), a organisé la quatrième réunion “inter-mécanismes”, à l’invitation du Haut-commissariat des Nations unies aux droits de l’Homme (HCDH) à Genève (Suisse).

A cette occasion, les mécanismes et programmes internationaux et régionaux de protection des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme – opérant au sein des Nations unies, de la Commission africaine des droits de l’Homme et des peuples (CADHP), du Conseil de l’Europe, de la Commission interaméricaine des droits de l’Homme (CIDH) et du Bureau des institutions démocratiques et des droits de l’Homme de l’OSCE – rejoints par des représentants de l’Union européenne, de l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie et d’ONG, ont discuté de la rédaction d’un rapport conjoint sur ​​les normes et recommandations existantes relatives à la protection des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme aux niveaux international et régional. La CIDH a proposé de jouer un rôle de coordination dans la rédaction du rapport, avec le soutien de l’Observatoire. Ce rapport s’inspirera du Commentaire de 2011 de la Déclaration des Nations unies sur les défenseurs des droits de l’Homme par la Rapporteure spéciale des Nations unies sur les défenseurs et du deuxième rapport de la CIDH sur la situation des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme. Un tel document, le premier de ce genre, constituera non seulement un instrument utile aux défenseurs, aux Etats et aux autres parties prenantes concernées, mais démontrera également une unité d’approches entre les mécanismes. (suite…)

Les Rapporteurs sur les défenseurs des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies (ONU), de la Commission Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples (CADHP) et de la Commission Interaméricaine des Droits de l’Homme (CIDH) expriment leur grave préoccupation face aux actes de représailles contre les particuliers et les groupes qui cherchent à coopérer avec les systèmes de protection des droits de l’homme régionaux et/ou de l’ONU. Ces représailles contre des particuliers et/ou des groupes qui engagent un dialogue direct avec l’ONU, la CADHP et la CIDH, ou qui autrement fournissent des informations sur la situation des droits de l’homme dans des pays particuliers, prennent la forme de campagnes de diffamation, de harcèlement, d’intimidations, de menaces directes, d’agressions physiques et d’assassinats.

L’ONU, la CADHP et la CIDH ont chacun des accords normatifs et des règles de procédure interdisant explicitement les actes de représailles commis par des acteurs étatiques et non-étatiques.1/ Afin de préserver la collaboration vitale entre la société civile et les mécanismes des droits de l’homme régionaux et de l’ONU, les Rapporteurs sur les défenseurs de droits de l’homme s’engagent et appellent à accroître surveillance et action pour le respect de ces règles, et soutiennent l’initiative prise récemment par la Présidente du Conseil des Droits de l’Homme de l’ONU qui demande aux Etats de mettre un terme immédiat au harcèlement et à l’intimidation des particuliers et des groupes présents à la 19ème session du Conseil des Droits de l’Homme.2/ (suite…)

December 9, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the attack in Mexico against human rights defender Norma Andrade, leader of the group Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (Our Daughters Back Home), an organization that seeks justice for the girls and women disappeared or killed in the State of Chihuahua. Norma Andrade specifically sought justice for the killing of her daughter, Lilia Alejandra García Andrade, assassinated in 2001. Norma Andrade is beneficiary of precautionary measures granted by the IACHR.

The IACHR urges the State of Mexico to protect Norma Andrade and her family, and to investigate the attack, in order to prosecute and punish those responsible for committing and masterminding it.

According to the information received, unknown persons attacked Norma Andrade on Friday, when she was about to enter her house, and she was hit with five bullets. Her belongings were allegedly not stolen. Her daughter, Malú García Andrade, informed that Norma Andrade allegedly was followed that day and that unknown persons allegedly went to her employment site and requested information on her schedule and her address. According to the State Commission on Human Rights, Norma Andrade is hospitalized in serious condition.

The Inter-American Commission had received information before on alleged homicides, threats, harassment and attacks against human rights defenders who seek justice for the cases of women killed in Ciudad Juárez and other places in the State of Chihuahua. In December 2010, the IACHR condemned the assassination of Marisela Escobedo, who was gunned down at the entrance of the Government Palace of the State of Chihuaha, where she was claiming justice for the violent death of her daughter, Rubí Marisol Frayre, killed in 2008 when she was 16 years old. (suite…)

Washington, D.C., August 2, 2011—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of women’s rights defender Keila Esther Berrio Almanza, a member of the League of Displaced Women of Colombia (Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas, LMD). The IACHR had granted precautionary measures for the League of Displaced Women in 2009 and expanded them twice, in 2010 and 2011, to the benefit of all members of the LMD and 16 members of the organization’s Youth League.

According to publicly available information, different theories are being considered as possible motives for this crime. The LMD has stated that this murder could be linked to Keila Esther Berrio’s activities in defense of women’s rights.

The beneficiaries of the precautionary measures of the League of Displaced Women have informed the IACHR that the Colombian authorities have not responded in a timely manner to their situation of risk. They have also reported experiencing problems and delays in the implementation of the precautionary measures. In response to this information, the IACHR has sent special communications to the State and held working meetings during its periods of sessions, as well as during a visit to Colombia by the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in May of 2011. Specifically, during this visit, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women, Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero, held meetings aimed at promoting compliance with the precautionary measures that the IACHR has granted in favor of women’s organizations and following up on the Agreement signed by the State of Colombia and the women’s organizations. During this visit, the Rapporteur examined the problems and obstacles detected in the implementation of the precautionary measures and emphasized the need to establish a distinct approach to the measures of protection that seek to benefit women, in response to the causes and effects related to the situation of risk that they face in light of their gender. (suite…)