N° 56/07




Buenos Aires / Washington, D.C., November 12, 2007 — The Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), announced that a Latin American seminar on “Best Prison Practices” began today in Buenos Aires. The event is sponsored by the IACHR and Argentina’s Public Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, and includes the participation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), universities and academic centers, and international organizations. Sixteen governments of the region are participating: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The conference ends on November 16.


The purpose of the seminar is to reflect on the issue of prisons in Latin America and promote the exchange of positive experiences and best practices that have been implemented by the region’s States. To this end, representatives of the 16 participating governments will provide examples of their best practices in six key areas: prevention of prison violence; disciplinary systems; programs for rehabilitation and social re-adaptation; prison-related legislation and public policies; detention conditions; and selection and training of prison personnel. The IACHR will publish a report on the seminar.


The opening of the seminar is being led by the IACHR President and Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Dr. Florentín Meléndez; the Argentine Public Defender, Dr. Stella Maris Martínez; and the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, Dr. Alberto J.B. Iribarne. During the first day of the seminar, Dr. E. Raúl Zaffaroni, a Judge on Argentina’s Supreme Court of Justice, will deliver a lecture on “The Prison’s Function.” In addition, Dr. Iñaki Rivera Beiras, Professor of the University of Barcelona and Director of its Prison System Observatory, will offer an address on “The Protection of the Fundamental Rights of Inmates as Prison Practice.” During the afternoon, a panel discussion will be held on “Design, Execution and Control of Best Prison Practices: The Role of Institutions.” This will include the participation of Dr. Mario Luis Coriolano, member of the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture; Dr. Stella Maris Martínez, Argentina’s Public Defender; Dr. Francisco M. Mugnolo, Argentina’s Public Prosecutor for Prisons; and Dr. Federico Ramos, Deputy Secretary for Prison Affairs of Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Finally, Dr. Michael Kramer, representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, will address the conference at the end of the day on Monday.


The IACHR Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty thanks the governments, NGOs, international organizations and universities for their participation in the seminar, and especially the government of Argentina for its co-sponsorship and support in the event’s organization. The Rapporteurship plans to organize a similar event in 2008 with the English-speaking countries of the Americas.



Press contact:

Tel. (202) 458-3867, e-mail:

Commission’s Website: