Statement of the International Coalition of Organizations for Human Rights in the Americas during the thirtieth regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States
28.August.2009

Medellin, Colombia

The International Coalition of Organizations for Human Rights in the Americas, expressed his satisfaction because between 2008 and 2009, marked the 60th anniversary of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man; 50 years of installation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; 40 years of adoption of the American Convention on Human Rights and 30 of its entry into force; and also commemorated the 30th anniversary of the installation of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

In recent years, with the participation of organizations using the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights, it has built a consensus in the field of legal and political bodies of the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding the need to strengthen and improve the system. These consensuses were reflected in the Plan of Action of the Quebec Summit and in subsequent resolutions of the General Assembly of the OAS. However, this agenda is still pending.

The Coalition submitted during the Thirty-Seventh Regular Session of the General Assembly of the OAS, an assessment of the reality facing the participation of civil society and several recommendations aimed at removing obstacles to their effectiveness. It is imperative to remember that assessment during the Thirty-Eighth Session and request again that measures to address the recommendations are adopted.

A permanent reflection of all the actors that make up the inter-American system.

We understand that any process of debate on strengthening and improving the inter-American system should be guided by guaranteeing access to justice for victims and their enforcement through an open, participatory, transparent and inclusive process.

A debate that aspire to a positive result must include the political organs of the OAS (Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Permanent Council and General Assembly), the Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Member States; to relevant domestically in each country, as legislators, judges and academics estates; System users; civil society and indispensably victims of violations of human rights, representative organizations and / human rights defenders. also ensuring that such participation is given on equal terms.

Any initiative in this regard must also be accompanied by the momentum of structural reforms within countries to ensure the observance of human rights and the non-recurrence of violations.

This period of anniversaries, calls those who are part of the Inter-American Human Rights, to celebrate its existence, through concrete actions, that enable substantive progress towards its strengthening towards an increasingly effective protection of victims. The actions we propose from the International Coalition of Organizations for Human Rights in the Americas, to be adopted by the General Assembly are:

1. universalization of the Inter-American Human Rights. The General Assembly should request the Member States that have not ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, to submit a report on the state of its legislation and practice in respect of the rights protected by it, specifying to what extent has been or It proposes to implement any of the provisions of this instrument and indicating steps to achieve ratification and the difficulties which prevent or delay and the steps taken to overcome such obstacles.

Based on this measure, the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth session could set a goal to achieve universal.

2. Autonomy and independence of the Court and the Commission. The main source of effectiveness, legitimacy and credibility of the inter-American system is the independence and autonomy of the Commission, the Court and their respective secretariats. The General Assembly must issue a resolution reaffirming the recognition and guarantee.

States should give effect to that resolution through a process of election of members / as protection bodies, transparent, fair and participatory, both nationally and internationally. There should be a process to identify candidates and candidates of the highest moral authority and legal capacity, which also represent the diversity of the hemisphere; and that is not reduced to a simple exchange of vows between States.

3. Compliance with decisions of the Court and the Commission. Also, strengthening and credibility of the system depends on compliance that Member States give to the recommendations and rulings issued by the Commission and the Court. Therefore, we hope that the General Assembly adopt a resolution asking Member States to the Commission or the Court recommendations have been addressed or still pending judgments to comply, to submit to such bodies by May 2009, a plan compliance, including measures of non-repetition. Moreover, in that resolution to the organs of the system is required to take lieutenants to promote and achieve compliance with its recommendations and rulings strategic measures.

4. Improving the access of victims to the mechanisms of the ISHR. As the natural inter-American system, a mechanism for victims of human rights violations to obtain justice and adequate reparation, it is imperative that all obstacles to them and their representatives to achieve this goal are eliminated.

These problems translate into technical complexity, delay in the procedures, lack of financial resources to reach the system or litigate cases and reluctance of States to comply with the recommendations, statements and measures of protection issued.

This problem can be addressed on the occasion of the celebration of the anniversaries mentioned, with action by the Commission and the Court to optimize its operation and by the Member States enforcement actions.

We urge the adoption in this General Assembly, the draft resolution on a Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights, aimed at facilitating the access of victims and urge States that in the process of structuring thereof, participation is given to the views and recommendations of civil society and guarantee its independence.

5. Adequate funding of the Court and the Commission. At the area of ​​human rights have become one of the four program areas of the hemispheric agenda of the OAS, it should be set as a goal for 2009 that measures of budget allocation to increase the current amounts are announced, through a redistribution of OAS budget that reflects the political will of States to ensure the effective operation of the system and the indissoluble link between democracy and human rights, including the fostering of voluntary contributions.

6. Permanence of the Court and the Commission. We welcome the important role that the Inter-American Commission has fulfilled during these 50 years, with the promotion and defense of human rights in the hemisphere. Similarly, the Court has been established in a court of law benchmark for many domestic judicial systems in the Americas. Therefore, you must create conditions to ensure that members of these bodies function permanently.

7. Warranty and protection of the work of defenders of human rights in the hemisphere. To assist with the implementation of public policies guarantee and protection of defenders of human rights, the Commission adopted in late 2006, the Report on the situation of defenders of human rights in the Americas in the which made recommendations on promotion, guarantee, respect and protection. Concrete action in this regard should be the adoption by States of action plans for compliance with these recommendations and submitting them to the Commission no later than January 2009. In addition, States must remember the binding nature of the precautionary and provisional measures issued by the Inter-American System and to promptly and effectively comply with them, as they have historically represented a key to protecting and guaranteeing the right to life and personal integrity tool.

In this regard, the Coalition wishes to express its concern at the deterioration of the situation of defenders of human rights in several countries in the region. In particular, just because they were celebrating this Assembly in Colombia, it calls the Colombian State to comply with the recommendations referred to recognize the legitimacy of defending human rights and not make statements that endanger the life and physical integrity of human rights defenders .

The International Coalition of Organizations for Human Rights in the Americas

Member organizations present at the General Assembly:

Interdisciplinary Human Rights Group

Lawyers Collective "José Alvear Restrepo"

Colombian Commission of Jurists

Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)

Human Rights Association (APRODEH)

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

National Human Rights Coordinator of Peru

Rights and Democracy

International Service for Human Rights

Swedish Foundation for Human Rights

Global Rights