IACHR PRESENTS 2007 ANNUAL REPORT
Washington, April 4, 2008 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) releases its 2007 Annual Report today. The Chairman of the IACHR, Dr. Paolo Carozza, presented the report on Thursday to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS).
In his presentation of the report, Chairman Carozza said he values the sincere and open dialogue the IACHR maintains with the Member States and civil society regarding how best to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights in the hemisphere. He added that the Commission looks forward to continuing that discussion, “in furtherance of our common duty to defend the human dignity of every person in our hemisphere.”
The report is composed of four chapters that summarize the activities carried out by the Commission and its Rapporteurships in 2007, and provides information about the petitions and cases processed and the precautionary measures granted in the course of the year. In addition, Chapter IV contains special sections on the human rights situation in Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, and Venezuela, countries the IACHR believed warranted special attention in 2007. This chapter includes the dissident votes of former Commissioner Freddy Gutiérrez Trejo with regard to Cuba and Haiti.
With respect to Colombia, the IACHR report notes with concern that there are holdouts within the paramilitary structures that have not demobilized, and that groups are taking up arms again and new groups are forming. It also expresses concern about the impact of violence on the civilian population, the growing number of reports of participation by members of public law enforcement in conduct that violates human rights, and the reported attacks against human rights defenders and social leaders.
With respect to Cuba, the IACHR report indicates that restrictions to political rights, freedom of expression, and dissemination of ideas; the absence of elections; and the lack of independence of the judiciary add up to a permanent violation of the fundamental rights of Cuban citizens.
With respect to Haiti, the IACHR expresses its concern over the degree of widespread impunity for human rights violations; the lack of effective protections for victims of these abuses; and extreme deficiencies in social and economic conditions that deprive the majority of the population of access to basic social services, including adequate shelter, potable water, health care, education, and employment.
With respect to Venezuela, the IACHR expresses concern over the hostile environment toward political dissent; criminalization of social protest; harassment of nongovernmental organizations and human rights defenders; the existence of direct and indirect obstacles to freedom of expression; the terrible conditions those who are incarcerated must endure; the questions surrounding the transparency of the administration of justice; and the increase in barometers of citizen insecurity. The report also expresses concern about “the silence of the State on the question of dates for a visit from the Commission or the Commission Rapporteur for Venezuela,” and reiterates the Commission’s interest in conducting a visit to that country.
Audio recording of the April 3, 2008 session of the Committee On Juridical and Political Affairs of the OAS, where the Annual Reports of the Inter-American Court and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights were presented
Press contact: María Isabel
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