The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), will conduct an on-site visit to Paraguay to observe the general situation of human rights at the invitation of the government. The visit will take place from 28 to 30 July 1999.
The IACHR is an inter-governmental organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in the hemisphere. The seven members of the Commission are elected in their personal capacities by the General Assembly of the OAS for a period of four years. The powers of the Commission are derived largely from the American Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of the OAS, both of which instruments have been ratified by the Republic of Paraguay.
The delegation of the IACHR will include the following members: Chairman, Professor Robert K. Goldman; First Vice-Chairman, Dr. Hélio Bicudo; Second Vice-Chairman, Dean Claudio Grossman, and Professor Carlos Ayala Corao and Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía. The Commission will be assisted by its Executive Secretary, Ambassador Jorge E. Taiana; Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr. David J. Padilla; and Specialists of the Commission, Dr. Ignacio J. Alvarez and Dr. Christina Cerna. Dr. Santiago Canton will also participate in the visit in his capacity of Special Rapporteur of the IACHR on Freedom of Expression. Ms. Ana Cecilia Adriazola and Ms. Tania Hernández will provide administrative support.
During its stay in Paraguay, the Commission will be received by officials of the Executive, the Judicial and the Legislative branches and will meet with various sectors of the civil society, including human rights organizations, church representatives, peasant and indigenous groups, trade union leaders, alleged victims of human rights violations and others. The Commission will also visit a number of prisons and will travel to different regions of the country.
The Commission undertakes different activities in the fulfillment of its mandate. One of them is the conduction of in loco visits to countries, where it investigates the situation of human rights and then prepares a public report thereon. The report contains an overview of the situation of human rights in the country and a series of recommendations on how the situation can be improved. The Commission has also appointed a number of rapporteurs on specific issues that affect the continent (prison conditions, children's rights, women's rights, inter alia). Another very important function of the IACHR is the consideration of individual cases, complaints alleging that States have violated rights protected in the American Convention on Human Rights and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man.
The IACHR will conduct this visit pursuant to the powers granted - American Convention on Human Rights and to its Regulations. Within this legal framework, the States Parties have undertaken to provide all necessary assistance to enable the Commission to carry out its mission of observation, and in particular, undertake not to engage in reprisals of any kind against the persons or entities providing information or testimony to the Commission.
During its stay, the Commission will receive complaints from persons alleging human rights violations. Any complaints must be submitted in writing and may be based on a form available in the office of the OAS in Asunción, at No. 992 Avenida Mariscal López. During its visit, the Commission will have an office in the Hotel Excelsior, located in Asunción, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., from 28 to 30 July 1999.
The Commission will finish its visit with a press conference to be held at the Excelsior Hotel, on Friday 30th July 1999 at 5 p.m. At the press conference, a press release will be issued which will contain some preliminary views of the Commission with regard to the general situation of human rights in the country.
Upon completion of its visit, the Commission will return to its headquarters in Washington, D.C., where it will begin studying and evaluating of the situation observed, with a view to the preparation of a report on the situation of human rights in Paraguay.
The Commission wishes to express its gratitude to the Government of Paraguay for the cooperation and facilities which it has provided for the preparation of the visit as well as to non-governmental organizations, civil society institutions and international organizations and once again reiterates that it stands ready to cooperate with democratic governments in the hemisphere in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Washington, 23 July 1999.