IV.   CASE STUDIES

 

              A.    Colombia

 

          Existing estimates place the number of internally displaced persons in Colombia up to 1992, between 500,000 and 1,000,000.[47]  It is also estimated that between 50,000 to 70,000 have fled or migrated to Venezuela and Ecuador.[48] One estimate places the number of Colombians in Venezuela between 20,000 and 40,000,[49] and in Ecuador around 30,000.[50]

 

          The phenomenon of displacement occurs in at least nine different regions in Colombia.  The most serious problems are observed in Middle Magdalena; the departments of Meta Cordoba, and Putamayo; and the capital city of Bogota.  Most of the displaced persons are peasants, indigenous people, and members of leftist movements fleeing political violence.  The violence which leads to displacement is attributable to guerilla activity and to drug money-financed military and paramilitary forces.  The type of violence ranges from constant pressure in drug trafficking areas, with the aim of uprooting peasants (for example, in the Chucuri region in the Department of Santander), to aerial bombardment by military and paramilitary forces (for example, in the Department of Meta).

 

          A report that the government of Colombia submitted to the Commission in November 1993 states that the government is currently negotiating an agreement between the Fondo de Solidaridad y Emergencia Social (Fund of Solidarity and Social Emergency) and the Presidencial Council on Human Rights to execute a project for internally displaced persons. The purpose of the project is to provide the Presidential Council with the personnel and financial and technical resources to enable the planning, coordination and evaluation of the National government's activities through regional and local projects for the internally displaced .

 

          B.    El Salvador

 

          458 Salvadorans have repatriated with UNHCR assistance from Nicaragua, Mexico, and other countries since the beginning of 1993, and UNHCR sources estimate that an additional 1,000 Salvadorans will repatriate by the end of 1993.[51]  In 1992, 3,204 Salvadoran refugees repatriated with UNHCR assistance:  1,528 from Honduras, 490 from Costa Rica, 472 from Nicaragua, 291 from Cuba, 191 from Belize, and 148 from Mexico.[52]  The last of the large collective repatriations from Honduras took place in March and April of 1992, in which more than 1,400 Salvadorans repatriated.  Following these movements, the camps in Honduras were closed.  Over 30,000 Salvadorans have repatriated since the mid 1980s.[53]

 

          It is estimated that the 12-year civil war killed 75,000 people and uprooted more than one million Salvadorans.  More than 154,000 continued to be displaced as of the end of 1992.  Many Salvadorans who had fled to Mexico or the United States because of the war have not returned; between 450,000 and 500,000 unrecognized Salvadoran refugees continue to live in Mexico and the United States.[54]   

 

          C.    Guatemala

 

          After a series of long and complex negotiations, the Guatemalan government and the Permanent Commissions of Representatives of Guatemalan Refugees in Mexico finally reached an agreement for the first collective return of 2,473 Guatemalan refugees from Mexico; their return, which was slated for January 13, 1993, actually took place on January 20, 1993.[55]  By the end of July 1993, a total of 5093 Guatemalans had returned. According to UNHCR sources, an additional 7,750 Guatemalans are expected to repatriate by the end of 1993.[56] 

 

          Current estimates place the number of UNHCR-recognized Guatemalan refugees in Mexico between 30,000 and 40,000.[57]`  The estimates for the numbers of unrecognized Guatemalan refugees in Mexico are between 50,000 and 150,000.[58]  The majority of Guatemalan refugees are indigenous people of Mayan descent who have been the target of a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the Guatemalan government.

 

          The decision to repatriate to Guatemala is a risky one for any refugee, but is generally motivated by continuing conditions of increasing political and socio-economic difficulty in Mexico.  This is because the Guatemalan military consistently portrays these refugees as being associated with insurgents.  As a result, local people in the Mexican areas targeted for repatriation, fear heightened military activity and violence due to repatriation.  Further, because of the high price and general scarcity of arable land in resettlement sites, the majority of repatriates face the prospect of having to rely on continued international assistance for food.  Moreover, many of the refugees out of desperation are returning to areas which are still rife with continuing violence.  As a result, the human rights of Guatemalan repatriates remains an important issue for international concern, but in the meantime, human rights violations in Guatemala continues in high numbers. 

 

          D.    Haiti

 

          Since the September 29, 1991 overthrow of the Aristide government, Haiti has experienced profound political instability, military repression, and extreme economic problems, all of which have contributed to the displacement of people both within and outside of Haiti.  From late 1991 to mid 1993, tens of thousands of Haitians have tried to flee by boat to the United States, only to face interdiction by the U.S. Coast Guard on the high seas.   Thousands others have fled over land to the Dominican Republic.  Of the approximately 36,000 interdicted Haitians who were screened in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, more than 26,000 were screened out and returned to Haiti.  Since the United States' "summary return" policy was initiated on May 24, 1992, more than 5,000 Haitians have been forcibly returned to Haiti without a hearing to determine their claims to refugee status.[59]

 

          With no sign that human rights violations are decreasing it is expected that the numbers of refugees and internally displaced will continue to increase at a fast pace. 

 

          E.    Nicaragua

 

          From January to July of 1993, 302 Nicaraguan refugees repatriated from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and other countries with UNHCR assistance.[60]  In 1992,  2,374 Nicaraguan refugees repatriated with UNHCR assistance -- 1,852 from Costa Rica, 240 from Guatemala, and 139 from El Salvador.[61] Overall, more than 71,500 Nicaraguans have repatriated since 1987.  The first Nicaraguans to repatriate in large numbers were Miskito and Sumu Indians from the Atlantic coast region of Nicaragua, who had sought refuge in Honduras.  They began repatriating in 1987, following the Nicaraguan government's decision to grant the region local autonomy.  By the end of 1990, some 25,000 Indians had returned.  Other groups began to repatriate in 1989, and the numbers of repatriates increased significantly with the change of government in 1990. Assisted by the UNHCR, thousands of former combatants have voluntarily repatriated from neighboring countries.

 

          Life for repatriates has been difficult since their return.  Although the Chamorro government achieved limited success in reducing inflation between 1990-92, that success was offset by an unemployment rate of more than 50%.  Land ownership disputes and clashes among former contras, re-contras (contras who have returned to armed opposition since the end of the contra war), Sandinistas, and government forces have contributed to resettlement problems.  These problems have prompted small but growing numbers of Nicaraguans to leave the country. 

 

          The end of El Salvador's 12-year civil war in January, 1992, prompted the beginning of a slow return of Salvadoran refugees from Nicaragua.  In 1992, 472 Salvadorans repatriated from Nicaragua with UNHCR assistance; and approximately 5,850 registered refugees (5,600 of Salvadoran and 250 of other national origin) still remained in Nicaragua at the end of 1992.  In addition, an estimated 16,000 undocumented Central American refugees, the majority Salvadoran, also remained.

 

 

          F.    Peru

 

          Political instability, economic troubles, and violence attributable to low-intensity warfare have contributed to growing numbers of internally displaced persons, most of whom remain in conditions of extreme poverty and at the mercy of continued violence.  In October of 1992, a government-supported Peace Commission estimated that there are at least 500,000 displaced persons in Peru, the majority of them in Lima.  A recent study by the Peruvian Population Promotion and Development Center (CEPRODEP), a private organization, places the number of displaced around 600,000.

 

          Although the Peruvian government has initiated efforts to address its problem of massive internal displacement, there has been no real success in curbing displacement or in meeting the needs of displaced persons throughout Peru.  The numbers of displaced persons continue to rise at a fast pace in areas such as the central jungle, where the army, Shining Path, colonists, and indigenous people battle for control.  The few independent groups working with the displaced population are dismally inadequate to respond to the growing numbers of displaced persons who have fewer resources and exhibit higher incidence of disease, especially tuberculosis.  A significant number of Peruvians have migrated to Sweden, Spain, Ecuador, and Chile.

 

          V.    CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 

          The Commission commends the continued commitment of international agencies and OAS member states to the CIREFCA process, which has been instrumental in strengthening protections for displaced populations and in helping repatriates to re-integrate into their countries of origin. 

 

          However, the Commission stresses that the problem of internally displaced is increasingly plaguing more countries in the region especially in light of the fact that there is no international legal regime that addresses the plights of the internally displaced.

 

          In light of the above, the Commission recommends:

 

          1.    That member states honor the principle of non-refoulement which is a cornerstone of refugee law.

 

          2.    That all member states include, in their national legislations, the extension of the refugee definition articulated in the Cartagena Declaration as well as the definition of internally displaced articulated in the CIREFCA Principles, and ensure that the domestic legislation and practices provide legal remedies for violations of the human rights guaranteed refugees, asylees, internally displaced persons, and repatriates.

 

          3.    That the General Assembly insist that the issue of refugees, repatriates, and internally displaced be included in the agenda of international development and financial institutions.  

 

          4.    That member states, which have not yet done so, ratify both the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. 

 

          5.    That member states acknowledge that internal displacement is a matter of international concern and a problem that aggravates the probability of human rights abuses. 

 

          6.    That the OAS elaborate an early warning system to alert the member states to conditions that may cause displacements and mass migrations. Such preventative strategies are necessary to prevent human rights problems from evolving into emergency situations where human lives are at risk. Prevention requires the early detection, warning, promotion of human rights, and economic and social development that will guarantee the internally displaced as well as repatriates the opportunity to settle and secure their basic livelihood. 

 

          7.    That the General Assembly appoint a working group to study the means to strengthen regional efforts that address the needs of uprooted populations, be they refugees or internally displaced. This requires the establishment of mechanisms for monitoring and supervising the situation of the internally displaced and mechanisms for assistance, protection and prevention for the internally displaced.

 

          i.     The working group should devise a code of conduct to obligate governments to protect the internally displaced until a legal mechanism is implemented. Minimum standards should be established for the treatment of the internally displaced, in particular minimum conditions of food and health.

 

 

          ii. The working group should work with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Human Rights Institute to elaborate a program that establishes emergency measures to address the human rights aspects of internal displacement for the expedient alleviation of these problems and to bring them to the attention of the international community.


 

THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE

INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS: REAFFIRMING PROMOTION AND PROTECTION

 

 

          The World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna June 14 through 25, 1993, provided a forum for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the universal principles of human rights, and to rededicate its efforts to promote and protect human rights and freedoms.  The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action promulgated by the Conference recognizes that the realization of all human rights is a critical priority for the international community, and sets forth an emerging consensus on key initiatives to be undertaken in the quest for the full respect, promotion and protection of human rights.

 

          In Resolution 1213 of June 11, 1993, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States recommended the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights "to provide information on the possible repercussions of the results of the World Conference on Human Rights on the development and strengthening of human rights in the inter-American system." 

 

          The Conference Declaration demonstrates that there is broadly held agreement that key thematic areas must be addressed with new or renewed attention and initiatives in order to overcome obstacles impeding the full realization of human rights.  The Declaration and the plan of action developed by the United Nations Centre for Human Rights also make programmatic and structural recommendations aimed at the full realization of the Declaration.  The immediate effect of the World Conference may be to identify themes which, in the context of the challenges facing this hemisphere, require special attention from the organs and agencies of the organizations charged with furthering human rights.  The World Conference provides a special impetus for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to refocus its efforts, and to consider the most responsive ways and means to achieve the full observance of all human rights. 

 

          Central Themes Targeted in the Conference Declaration

 

          The essential interrelationship and indivisibility of all human rights is the unifying principle underlying the work of the Conference.  Although the relationship between civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights has been extensively debated over the years, the Conference Declaration emphasizes that: "All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated."  The Declaration condemns equally gross and systematic violations of civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights.  The relationship of economic development to human rights and democracy was also underscored by the Conference representatives.  While recognizing the need to appreciate varying historical and cultural traditions, the Declaration sets forth the obligation of states, "regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms."

 

          The Conference Declaration emphasizes human rights themes which are in varying stages of development within the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights.  The World Conference called for special priority to be given to the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, and other forms of intolerance.  The Conference directed that effective means be developed to protect "groups rendered vulnerable," including persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities.  Further, the Conference recognized the need for special attention to the rights of the disabled person.

 

          In this International Year of the World's Indigenous People, the Conference specifically identified the rights of indigenous people as an area for special action.  The Conference recommended that the UN General Assembly proclaim an international decade of the world's indigenous people, beginning in 1994.  The Declaration notes that states should "ensure the full and free participation of indigenous people in all aspects of society, in particular in matters of concern to them."

 

          Also identified as a priority was women's realization of full and equal enjoyment of all human rights.  The Conference Declaration calls for the development of integrated system-wide approaches to address the status and human rights of women.  The Conference Declaration stresses the need to eliminate violence against women, and urges the eradication of all forms of discrimination against women.  The Conference called upon the UN General Assembly to adopt the draft declaration on violence against women, and encouraged the universal ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by the year 2000.  The Conference also recommended the appointment by the Commission on Human Rights of a special rapporteur on violence against women.

 

          The World Conference reiterated the importance of international and national efforts to promote "respect for the rights of the child to survival, protection, development and participation."  The Declaration calls for the universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the year 1995.

 

          The Conference Declaration emphatically condemns the practice of torture as "one of the most atrocious violations against human dignity."  All states were urged to put an "immediate end to the practice of torture," and to "eradicate this evil forever."  The Declaration expresses gratification for the ratification by many member states of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; non-ratifying States are encouraged to do so urgently.  Further, the Declaration calls for the abrogation of any legislation allowing perpetrators to escape punishment.  The Declaration strongly condemns the practice of enforced disappearances, and stresses the need to prevent, terminate, and punish such acts.

 

          The Conference Declaration specifically provides: "Democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing."  Importantly, the World Conference recognized that human rights bodies play a crucial role not only in protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals, but also in promoting and supporting the development of strong democracies.  The Inter-American system, from its inception, has recognized that the promotion and consolidation of democracy is integral to the fulfillment of its goals. 

 

          The end of the cold war and the corresponding changes in the international community are catalysts for movement toward effective, representative democracy.  This shift toward democratization provides the necessary and appropriate climate for progress in the field of human rights.  Nonetheless, this new era presents important challenges to this hemisphere, which has provided brutal and tragic examples of governmental suppression of the public will.  The Inter-American Commission, along with other organs and agencies of the Organization, can and must play a role in promoting and maintaining the democratic framework that forms the essential prerequisite to effectively realize all human rights.

 

          Perhaps the foremost repercussion for the Inter-American system stems from the realization that, while progress has been realized in certain areas of human rights, the challenge is not diminishing.  In fact, mandates for action in human rights must be expanded at all levels.  Clearly international consensus on specific areas to be addressed will reinforce and fortify the Organization's initiatives.  For example, at the behest of the General Assembly, in its 1992-93 Annual Report the Commission reported on the situation of human rights of women and children in the Americas.  In this annual report the Commission is reporting on the situation of refugees, displaced persons and repatriates in the hemisphere, and on the situation of economic, social and cultural rights. 

 

          The weight accorded to these thematic areas underscores the importance of achieving full ratification of Inter-American instruments focusing on certain key areas:  most prominently the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, and the Convention Protocols on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Abolition of the Death Penalty.  Additionally, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights drafted a project for an instrument concerning the practice of forced disappearances and is currently drafting one concerning the rights of indigenous people.

 

          The reaffirmation of the indivisibility of human rights by the Conference underlines the necessity that attention and resources be devoted to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.  The Commission emphasizes the undertaking of States Parties to the American Convention to adopt progressive measures to attain the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights.  Article 26 of the American Convention indicates that both domestic action and international cooperation are necessary to achieve the realization of the economic, social and cultural standards   set forth in the Organization's Charter.  Additionally, Article 42 of the American Convention requires member states to submit to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights copies of reports submitted to the Inter-American Economic and Social Council and the Council for Education, Science and Culture.  Adherence to these reporting requirements is an essential responsibility.  The longer term repercussions of the World Conference will be to support the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights in the development and initiation of new strategies responsive to changing demands in the hemisphere. 

 

          The Inter-American states have pledged in the Charter and in the Convention on Human Rights, or through the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, to promote and protect civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights, within a political framework based on the effective exercise of representative democracy.  These principles have long functioned as basic tenets of the Inter-American system.  The sweeping changes that have affected the Americas in this era of a new global order have rearranged priorities and raised new challenges in seeking the effective realization of human rights; there is a paramount need to develop strategies responsive to these challenges.  The conclusions drawn by the Conference may assist the Organization and this Commission in mapping out challenges, and in considering new promotion and enforcement strategies.

 

          Structural and Programmatic Concerns Identified by the Conference

 

          The Conference Declaration sets forth some very basic programmatic or structural approaches designed to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations in carrying out the initiatives outlined.  The principles informing these approaches are largely applicable to the Commission's needs in carrying out current and future initiatives to further the protection of human rights in this hemisphere. 

 

          The Conference Declaration calls for enhanced cooperation among the various actors involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.  The need for increased cooperation within the UN system is emphasized, as is the need for the strengthening of national institutions and regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights.  The Declaration also recognizes the pivotal role of non-governmental human rights groups, and calls for continuing "dialogue and cooperation" between Governments and NGO's.  The work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights depends very heavily on cooperation between the Commission and national or non-governmental human rights bodies, and between the Commission and governments.  The World Conference's call for increased cooperation in the field of human rights encourages the Commission to consider ways to enhance its cooperation with human rights bodies at all levels.

 

          Notably however, the Declaration calls for cooperation within a framework of enhanced coordination.  Improved cooperation with centralized coordination allows resources to be expended effectively and without unnecessary duplication.  The Vienna Statement, adopted by the Meeting of the Chairpersons of International and Regional Human Rights Treaty-based Bodies at the close of its session held June 14-15, 1993, identifies some specific measures to enhance cooperation and coordination: regular meetings between members of treaty bodies, as well as secretariats, for the exchange of information; the exchange of secretariat members; the establishment of coordinated access for treaty bodies to human rights data bases; and the allocation of resources sufficient to enable such meaningful cooperation to take place.

 

          In December the United Nations announced, pursuant to Conference discussions and the broad support of the international community, the creation of the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  This signifies a recognition of the importance of strengthening the institutional framework dedicated to the protection of human rights.  The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will promote and protect human rights, will prevent continuing violations, and will be in "dialogue with governments" for the purpose of effecting this mandate.  The establishment of this position reflects a strong belief in the need for independent and centralized action in the human rights field. 

 

          A specific and critical challenge identified in the Declaration is the need to integrate human rights concerns into system-wide decision-making areas.  The Commission recognizes that human rights issues and criteria can be further integrated into the other relevant spheres of Organization action. 

 

          The World Conference provided an opportunity for the international community to assess how vastly disproportionate are the available resources to the staggering challenge of attaining the full realization of individual rights and freedoms.  The Conference Declaration acknowledges the urgent need for enhanced resources, not only within the UN system, but also to strengthen regional and national efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights.  The Vienna Statement of the International Human Rights Treaty Bodies sets forth that "[t]he provision of resources sufficient to enable the various treaty bodies to perform the functions which have been entrusted to them is an obligation of the ... relevant international organizations."  While the number of States Parties to human rights treaties has, commendably, increased, and the functions of the treaty bodies have expanded, the allocations of resources to these bodies has not grown accordingly.

 

          The Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System sets forth the American states' "uncompromising commitment to the defense and promotion of representative democracy and of human rights in the region."  A commitment to devote the additional resources necessary to pursue responsive initiatives is clearly consistent with, and is necessary to fulfill, the undertakings of the Santiago Commitment.  Human rights promotion and protection form core components of the Organization's pillar objectives of seeking and supporting effective democracy and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.  The significance of human rights for this hemisphere requires an increased commitment of resources to remedy the growing disparity between the mandates of the Commission and the means available to meet them. 

 

          The Commission has been able to undertake additional activities during the last couple of years through special donations from the member states such as the United States.  The Commission has also benefitted greatly from special contributions received from observer states to the Organization, namely France, the Netherlands and Spain.  Notwithstanding the generosity of these donations, they unfortunately cannot substitute for an increase in the Commission's regular budget.  An elemental step in the process of strengthening the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights is the apportionment of resources commensurate with the commitment of the member states to human rights.  This requires allocation of additional resources for the Commission to fulfill its mandate, and importantly, the pledge of additional financial resources for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  The current level of resources is inconsistent with the import of the role of the institution created by the member states to serve as the critical enforcement mechanism in the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights.

 

          A fundamental concern of the World Conference was the strengthening of the international legal framework for the promotion and protection of human rights.  This has been a vital concern in the Inter-American system as well.  The Commission exhorts member states who are not yet parties to the American Convention on Human Rights to realize their commitment to human rights through ratification.  Not only will the uncompromising commitment of the American states to democracy and human rights be greatly advanced by hemispheric acceptance of these Inter-American principles, but hemispheric ratification of the Convention will also consolidate the Inter-American human rights system.  The differing standards and treatment resulting from the current bifurcated system unquestionably weaken the system.  The Inter-American system, because of the commitment of its member states to promote and protect human rights, is challenged to transform the provisions of the Organization's human rights instruments into a hemispheric tradition of abiding respect for human rights.  Hemispheric ratification of the Convention is a principal objective in meeting this decisive challenge.

 

          The member states of the Organization have voluntarily fashioned a system for the protection of human rights in the Americas that is both highly developed and flexible enough to respond to the current challenges faced by the region.  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was established to assist the governments of the Americas in meeting these challenges and overcoming obstacles to full compliance with inter-American standards for the protection of human rights.  The pledge of the international community to strengthen human rights declared at the World Conference may serve as a powerful reinforcement for the priority commitment already undertaken by the American states to defend and protect human rights in the hemisphere.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

          In seeking to give effect to the observations made in this report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights offers the following recommendations:

 

          1.    That all member states which have not yet ratified the American Convention on Human Rights (San Josť, Costa Rica 1969) undertake to fulfill their commitment to human rights in the Americas by depositing their instruments of ratification.  For these member states, and any other member states which have yet to accept the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Commission emphasizes the fundamental and integral role the Court serves in the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights, and encourages recognition of the Court's compulsory jurisdiction.

 

          2.    That all remaining member states follow the example of those which have ratified or acceded to the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, and the Additional Protocols to the American Convention on Human Rights on the subject of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Abolition of the Death Penalty.

 

          3.    That member states fully comply with all their human rights obligations, as such compliance is an indispensable component of a regional system based on respect for human rights and representative democracy.

 

          4.    That in view of the importance of human rights education and training to the realization of human rights, specific measures should be taken by member states to expand and enhance such education and training.  At the national level member states must undertake sustained efforts to educate all persons within their jurisdiction about their human rights, and to provide regular training in human rights to state officials.  Human rights training is also essential at the regional and international level, and must be regularly provided to officials working in areas including development, finance, election-monitoring, and peace-keeping.

 

          5.    That the General Assembly of the Organization take into account the expanding mandates of the Commission in considering the allocation of resources necessary to achieve progress in the area of human rights.  In the Americas there are many important goals to be reached in the spheres of civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights, and in supporting and consolidating effective democracy.  A greater commitment of resources by the member states is necessary

to reach these critical objectives.

 

                                      IV.  FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS

 

In addition to the specific recommendations in this report, the Commission especially recommends:

 

1.       That member states not yet parties to the American Convention on Human Rights ratify or accede to the Convention.[62]

 

2.       That those states that have ratified the American Convention recognize:

 

           a)       the Commission's jurisdictional capacity to receive and review communications between the states, pursuant to Article 45, paragraph 3, of the Convention;[63]

 

           b)       the binding jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, pursuant to Article 62, paragraph 2 of the Convention.[64]

 

3.       That member states should ratify or accede to the following, if they have not already done so:

 

           a)       The Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture;[65]

 

           b)       The Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;[66]

 

           c)       The Additional Protocol to Abolish the Death Penalty.[67]

 

4.       That member states adopt pursuant to Article 2 of the Convention, the internal measures necessary to limit the jurisdiction of military tribunals to only those crimes of a specific military nature.  All cases of human rights violations must therefore be submitted to the ordinary courts.

 

5.       That member states furnish all guarantees and facilities needed for nongovernmental human rights organizations and their members, to be able to freely carry out their activities for the protection and promotion of human rights.

 

6.       That the General Assembly request member state governments to take steps to protect the integrity, independence and autonomy of members of the judiciary, in the performance of their duties and their task of investigating and punishing human rights violations.

 

7.       That member states take all measures required to guarantee the exclusive jurisdictional competence of regular courts to investigate, detain and adjudge in cases involving civilians, and that all arrested civilians should immediately be placed under the jurisdiction of the civil courts.

 

8.       That member states comply with the obligation to inform the Commission about the social and cultural situation prevailing in their countries.  These reports should fully cover, inter alia, education, health, nutrition and housing.  The extreme poverty of many individuals in the hemisphere is an affront to human dignity.  Minimum economic, social and cultural conditions are an essential prerequisite for the full enjoyment of human rights.

 

9.       That, in view of the importance of these visits for the protection and promotion of fundamental rights, member states give their full cooperation to the on-site visits of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.[68]

 

10.     That member states train competent legal personnel to respond to the Commission's requests for information, especially information on the system of individual petitions.  The IACHR will assist in promotion activities to train such personnel to strengthen the juridical nature of the system.

 

11.     That member states, in career training courses for judges and other government personnel with legal duties, include instruction on the inter-American system for the protection of human rights.  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will assist the states with such courses.

 

12.     That the General Assembly should double its efforts to reestablish democracy in Haiti, the system of government which best ensures respect for human rights.

 

13.     That the General Assembly take measures to strengthen the organs for the protection of human rights, the Commission and the Court, by providing them with the resources and the administrative independence they require.

 

14.     That the General Assembly direct OAS permanent organs to make arrangements with the Inter-American Development Bank and public institutions for international financing to ensure that prior studies required for approval of projects and loans should include an impact study on the protection and promotion of basic human rights.  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights offers the assistance of its experienced staff to accomplish this.  Hereafter, the IACHR will officially send its reports to the international financial institutions.

 

15.     That member states cooperate fully with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, by furnishing it, inter alia,  with the information it requires to report at the next regular session of the OAS General Assembly on implementation of these recommendations.

 

16.     The General Assembly should call upon the member states to comply with the decisions of the Court, and with the recommendations formulated by the Commission in individual cases as well as in the general and special reports which concern them.

 

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