OEA/Ser.L/V/II.98
doc. 6 rev.
13 April 1998
Original: Spanish
 

 

CHAPTER IV

INTER-AMERICAN PROGRAM FOR THE PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

 TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                     

          1.       INTRODUCTION  

          2.       PROGRAM GUIDELINES  

          3.       PROGRAM'S CONCEPTUAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK  

          4.       CURRENT ACTIVITIES CONSISTENT WITH THE PROGRAM                 

          5.       THE THREE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM  

          6.       PROGRAM'S EXECUTING AGENCIES  

          7.       THE THREE PROGRAM AREAS  

          I.        AREA ON NORMS AND MECHANISMS OF THE
 
INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM  

          1.       Program of courses and seminars on norms
and mechanisms of the inter-American system
                

          2.       Program of fellowships and internships in the inter-
                  American system
                  

          3.       Program of publications and dissemination of
                  
information on the inter-American system
    

            

          II.       AREA ON STRENGTHENING OF NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS  

             

          III.      AREA ON EDUCATION AND GENERAL TRAINING IN HUMAN RIGHTS

 

           

INTER-AMERICAN PROGRAM FOR THE PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS  

 

          1.       INTRODUCTION

 

          In 1997, the General Assembly, in its resolution "International Promotion of Human Rights in the Inter-American System" (AG/RES. 1489 (XXVII-O/97) of June 5, 1997), after [1] welcoming the conclusions of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (which is dealt with further on) resolved:

 

          “To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to prepare, without reducing its protection activities and in collaboration and/or consultation with other pertinent organs and entities, a draft inter-American program for the international promotion of human rights, to be submitted to the Permanent Council for consideration before the twenty-eight regular session of the General Assembly, a task that should be carried out within the allocated resources approved in the program-budget and other resources.”

 

          The Commission, in consultation and coordination with other organs and entities, prepared the present draft program.  Taken into account for this purpose were the valuable contributions of the governments of Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, made in response to a request by the Commission inviting observations on the development of the program.  Also taken into consideration were written remarks from the governments of Argentina, Canada, United States, and Venezuela,  provided to the Permanent Council's Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (OEA/Ser.G.CP doc. 2909/97), as well as remarks made during the deliberations of those bodies on this matter.  This draft program was considered and approved by the Commission in its 98th session, to be submitted to the Permanent Council, in accordance with the request by the General Assembly.

 

          2.       PROGRAM GUIDELINES

 

          This program will use as guidelines the essential principles established by the modern doctrine and practice of human rights, recognized by international instruments and by the inter-American system; in particular, the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, and the American Convention on Human Rights.

 

          These program principles will guide the development of activities already delineated, as well as the future incorporation of new activities in the program.  They will also provide the substantive framework for evaluating the implementation of those activities, their substantive results, and evaluation of the program's achievements.  These essential principles are:

 

          a.       That everyone is born free and equal, in dignity and in rights, and, being endowed by nature with reason and conscience, should conduct themselves fraternally one to another.  It is the duty of the individual so to conduct himself in relation to others that each and every one may fully form and develop his personality. [1]


          b.       That the essential human rights are not derived from the fact the individual is a national of a certain state, but are based upon attributes of his human personality. [2]

          c.       That juridical and political institutions, which regulate life in human society, have as their principal aim the protection of the essential rights of man and the creation of circumstances that will permit him or her to achieve spiritual and material progress and attain happiness, without distinction as to race, sex, language, or creed. [3]   Priority shall be given to the protection of human rights and development of members of the weakest and more vulnerable groups in society. Extreme poverty and social exclusion are a violation against human dignity. [4]

          d.       All  human rights, economic, social, cultural, civil and political, are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. While  the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical,  cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of the States, regardless of their political, economic and  cultural systems,  to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. [5]

          e.       That  representative democracy is the sole political system which guarantees respect for human rights and the rule of law ; it safeguards cultural diversity, pluralism, respect for the rights of minorities, and peace within and among nations. [6]

          f.       That the right to development is an integral part of fundamental human rights, and should be fulfilled so as to meet equitably the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.  While development facilitates the enjoyment of human rights, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. [7]

          g.       That the peoples and states of the Americas have the responsibility to end racism, intolerance and xenophobia,  and discrimination for reasons of race or gender. [8]

          h.       That Indigenous and Afro-American peoples of the Americas constitute an organized, distinctive and integral segment of their population and are entitled to be part of the national identities of the countries,  and have a special role to play in strengthening the institutions of the state and in establishing national unity based on democratic principles and full respect to the human rights for all. [9]

          i.        That violence against women is an offense against human dignity, a violation of human rights and a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between women and men. [10]   That the child  shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. [11]

          j.        An independent, impartial and effective administration of justice is a decisive part of full enjoyment of human rights, of democracy and of sustainable development. [12]   The institutions of the member States and their agents, are the first and  principal responsibles to respect, protect and defend human rights, and to administer justice for their eventual violations. Transparency and publicity of public actions are a requisite for a system respectful of human rights and democratic.

          k.       That  international organs for promotion of the observance and defense of human rights, and in particular the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, act as mechanisms coadyuvant and complementary of the national action, and the States have formally committed themselves to respect and to support them in the fulfillment of their mandates.

          l.        Education shall strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Education in all its modalities shall include the subject of human rights and should promote understanding, tolerance, peace and friendly relations between the individuals, between the groups and between nations; as well as teach for peaceful conflict resolution, and for understanding and realization of the rights and duties of each person. [13]

          3.       PROGRAM'S CONCEPTUAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK

          In order to fulfill the General Assembly's request it is necessary to define the concept of the promotion of human rights, as well as the institutional and functional framework of the Commission and other organs and entities in regard to this issue.  The Charter of the OAS and the Convention, it establishes that the primary function of the Commission is to "promote the observance and defense of human rights."  This is confirmed by its historical practice of 38 years.  That "promotion of observance and defense" can come about through a)  "protection", i.e., in particular, through the system of dealing with  individual cases by the Commission and the Court, with its determinations of State responsibilities, and recommendations for redress; b) through the "establishing of international standards", via proposed instruments, and the doctrine and jurisprudence of the system; c) the investigation of general situations, and recommendations to States in this regard; and d) activities involving education and dissemination of information.

          "Protection" activities by means of the system of individual cases, the establishing of international standards, and the investigation of general situations and corresponding recommendations, are the Commission's primary mandate.  These are also the most effective and practical ways for the Commission to fulfill its main function of "promoting the observance and defense of human rights".

          Additionally, the Commission is responsible for making every possible effort to disseminate through other means (educational means such as seminars, publications, etc.) information about the nature and operation of the inter-American system of human rights.  As is described further on, the Commission has done and continues to do this with existing resources.

          Lastly, as this program has attempted to reflect, the Commission can help to mobilize all of the resources and abilities of the various members, organs and entities of OAS to collaborate in other ways and through other means in the task of "fostering an awareness of human rights in the peoples of the Americas".

          Primary Functions of the Commission.  "Protection and defense"

          The Convention and its rules of procedure establish the overriding importance of the Commission's role in "promoting observance and defense" in prescribing, as mechanisms of paramount importance in carrying this out, the system of "protection", through the processing of individual communications, the system for monitoring and reporting on general situations, mechanisms for precautionary and  preventive measures, and recommendations and studies carried out by the Organization and its members.

          "Protection and defense" are vitally important functions in the Convention and in the practical reality of the Americas and the inter-American system.  As a matter of fact protection and defense have promoted human rights, as shown by the thousands of cases submitted to the system by persons and institutions of all levels and from every social and geographic sector.  This is demonstrated by the coverage given by the various media to decisions and actions of the Commission and of the Court.  This is also proved by the impact and mobilizing of civil society and state organs as a result of reports of the Commission and its on-site visits.

          Establishing of international standards is central to promoting observance and

          protection of human rights

          As is indicated by the Convention and by the practice of the system, activities for "establishing standards of international human rights law" are a principal function and primary form of promoting the observance and protection of human rights.

          The General Assembly has understood this in requesting that the Commission and other organs of the OAS cooperate in preparing new conventions, protocols, and declarations in the area of human rights, which have afterwards been adopted and ratified, and which are fully a part of the human rights which are in effect in the region --- in some cases carrying  juridical power, having been included as an integral part of the constitutions of the countries, in others having force through international commitments. [14]

          By the same token, jurisprudence, doctrine, and the interpretation of international instruments carried out by the Court and the Commission further promote the observance and protection of human rights through the establishing of "standards".  The best indicator of this is their growing inclusion in national jurisprudence and their impact on national legislative activity.

          Promotion of human rights in a broad sense also includes direct education and

          Dissemination

          "Promotion", considered in a broad sense, includes other elements (basically, activities related to education, training, and dissemination of information) which go beyond the concept of promotion in a strict sense, brought about by protection and the establishing of international standards.

          It is activities of this type, related to education and the dissemination of information, that the Permanent Council and the Assembly were referring to in speaking of "promoting human rights", arising from the conclusions and recommendations of the Special Session of the Permanent Council's Juridical and Political Committee in March of 1997 regarding Point 1, "International Promotion of Human Rights in the Inter-American System", restated by the General Assembly in its resolution, [2] which can be summarized as follows:

          •        That in the current context of representative democracy, regional promotion should be stimulated, in order to foster a culture of tolerance, peace and development; and that the ratification and success of inter-American instruments and jurisdictions contribute to this.

          •        That the promotion and protection of human rights interact and are mutually reinforcing, that regional efforts and efforts carried out internally are complementary, and that in terms of promotion the latter are of paramount importance.

          •        That the IACHR should seek a "more intense push for and proper handling of" the job of promotion, without decreasing protection activities.

          •        That education, dissemination of information, the offering of grants, internships, and exchange of experiences among the states are effective means of promotion, using all possible technological mediums.  That in terms of content, all human rights, guarantees, and national and international procedures, as well as IACHR  reports and jurisprudence of the Court, should be included.

          •        That the priority should be the most vulnerable sectors of the public, as well as law enforcement forces and public opinion leaders.

          •        That according to the inter-American instruments, the IACHR has the primary responsibility for the task of promoting observance and defense at a regional level.  That it will carry out this mission in coordination with other competent OAS organs, and with other organs of the inter-American system, governmental organs, and others (for example, the IIHR).

          In the opinion of the Commission, this draft should be viewed in accordance with the conceptual explanation given above, in the sense that protection is the primary function of the IACHR, as its mandate establishes, and that it should deal with informational and educational promotion without distracting resources or importance from its protection activities.  As a necessary corollary, and as the General Assembly resolution indicates, other organs of the inter-American system, states organs, NGOs, etc., should coordinate their action in this respect, as a premise of the inter-American program to be prepared.

          The Commission and other inter-American and national organs and entities are    already conducting activities for the educational promotion of human rights

          The countries and their public and private institutions, and the organs of the inter-American system of protection, as well as other private organizations and notably the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR), are carrying out, and have increased in recent years, the job of promotion, and especially of "education and dissemination of information",  as indicated in what follows.

          4.       CURRENT ACTIVITIES CONSISTENT WITH THE PROGRAM

          Currently, valuable efforts in education and dissemination of information on human rights are being developed in the countries and in inter-American organizations of the region, covering various elements which this program should address and, where appropriate, include and aim to expand and strengthen.

          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, within its limited resources, has also increasingly expanded its activities in "education and dissemination of information" aimed at making known, in a technical way, the nature, mechanisms and jurisprudence of the inter-American system.

          To summarize, in the biennium 1996-1997, for example, the Commission has carried out:

          •        National seminars on the inter-American system (in Brazil, February of 1997; in Paraguay, also in 1997) with the assistance of several hundred professionals and officials of those countries and of countries that were invited to attend.

          •        The  Commissioners meet regularly with the highest-level judicial and government authorities, in relation to inter-American human rights guidelines and their incorporation in national jurisprudence.

          •        The Commissioners, representing the Commission, and officials and attorneys of the Executive Secretariat participated as speakers in numerous technical and academic meetings, taught university courses, and training seminars and courses of various sorts.

          •        The Secretariat continued the "Rσmulo Gallegos" fellowships program (with four grants in 1995-96 and six in 96-97, all for young attorneys in the region).

          •        In 1996-97 the Commission carried out activities for educational promotion and dissemination of information related to the preparation of the "Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", fostering meetings for consultation and dissemination of information in fifteen countries in the region, and three regional meetings.  For this, it coordinated with other systems and inter-American organs (UPD, III, IDB, Indigenous Fund, and the IIHR, among others) as well as state and nongovernmental organs.

          •        The Commission's publications are without doubt a tool for education and dissemination of information.  In the last biennium, the Commission published its Annual Reports in four languages, as well as the Special Reports on Brazil, Ecuador, and Haiti; this last one was also published in Creole.

          •        It also published the Basic Documents in the four languages; a pamphlet on "How to submit formal complaints to the inter-American system", and several reference posters.

          •        With outside cooperation, the Commission supports the publication of the Inter-American Human Rights Yearbook, based on an arrangement with Nijhoff Publishers, Holland.

          •        Both the Commissioners and the members of the Executive Secretariat published numerous articles on technical subjects and dissemination of information regarding human rights.

          •        The Commission also uses electronic media for publishing and disseminating its public documents.  All of the Annual Reports, other public documents and reports of the Commission are in the process of being placed electronically on a "site" which the Commission itself has on the Internet, accessible directly or through OAS's "home page".

          •        The Secretariat is continually carrying out working meetings with delegations of the member countries wishing to familiarize themselves with the system and its procedures.  In this period, delegations of (among others)  judges and judicial and police officials from Guatemala and Brazil, as well as from other countries, have been received; also, numerous delegations of indigenous leaders from several countries, and international experts.

          •        The Commission collaborates with American Human Rights Competition (Moot Court) begun in 1996, organized by the Washington College of Law, American University, in which nearly fifty teams from universities throughout the continent participate.  Providing, in addition, assistance to other universities of the region wishing to replicate this activity in their countries.

          The Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (headquartered in San Josι, Costa Rica) has a mandate based on teaching, research, and promotion of human rights and all related disciplines, with a multi-disciplinary emphasis that should take into account the needs and problems of Latin America.

          To achieve these ends, the Institute has conducted, is carrying out, and has planned, activities such as:

          •        conferences, colloquia, courses, round tables, and seminars.

          •        research programs in human rights, both at the institutional level as well as with the cooperation of national or international institutions.

          •        Periodic publications in print and electronic (CD-ROM) form.

          •        shares responsibility for the Library jointly with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

          •        promotes and reports on human rights progress in Latin America through its Documentation Center.

          •        Advises governmental and civil entities on creating national programs to promote human rights.

          In the biennium 96-97 the IIHR has carried out numerous projects through its different areas (education, public institutions, CAPEL for electoral development and observation, and civil society).

          Other OAS organs, in particular the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), and the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD), have carried out, in this biennium, activities to promote human rights, within their specific programs.  By way of example, CIM conducted seminars in Guatemala in August of 1997 on "Women and the Culture of Peace"; in Caracas in September on "Violence Against Women and the Family".

          Many current programs of the Unit for Promotion of Democracy serve to promote and strengthen respect for human rights and humanitarian goals:

          •        Monitoring elections and technical assistance: The OAS has monitored some 40 elections since 1989, and provides technical assistance to improve electoral administration and civic participation.

          •        Strengthening democratic institutions: The UPD supports efforts to strengthen legislative bodies, to teach democratic values and practices in schools, and to further develop municipal government and citizen participation at the local level. The UPD also supported a "human rights and democracy" course for Peruvian military and civilians.

          •        Peace building and national reconciliation activities: In Nicaragua, participated in the supervision of the demobilization of former combatants and supported their social reintegration . At the Special Mission to Suriname (1992 to 2000) monitored the peace process, the demobilization of combatants and demining. In Haiti, participated in the establishment of a human rights observation mission in  1992, later developed into  the OAS/UN International Civilian Mission, still active in Haiti today. The UPD assistance to the Guatemalan peace process includes support for the reincorporation of former combatants into society; an innovative conflict prevention and resolution initiative; and legislative and electoral reform programs related to the implementation of the peace accords.

          •        Removing land mines:  Since 1995, the UPD and the Inter-American Defense Board have been undertaking a major regional program to assist Central American countries in eliminating land mines in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

          •        Publications and information exchange:  Along with Georgetown University and other partners, supports the Political Database of the Americas, a comprehensive compilation of the constitutions, electoral laws and other legislation of the Americas at the Internet.  In collaboration with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, organized  two Democratic Fora, one in "Celebration of International Human Rights Day" (1995), and the other on "Democracy and Indigenous Rights" (1996).  The IACHR and the UPD also collaborated in the organization of two regional meetings of the "Consultation on the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," held Guatemala and Ecuador in 1996. The UPD regularly publishes reports from its electoral missions, Democratic Forums and a quarterly newsletter.

          The guidelines established for member countries, for the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), have not included especifically the subject of "Human Rights" in its Strategic Plan now in effect.  Nevertheless, in its activities related to the promotion of democracy in the educational and cultural spheres, activities connected with the practice of human rights is naturally included.  Along these lines, CIDI has indicated that if countries have interest and are in agreement, and following its normal systems for decision-making and implementation, it will set up activities on this subject, relying on special or regular funding, as the case may be.

          Bearing in mind the importance of recognizing human rights in reference to indigenous peoples, this program should also consider, in its development process, coordination with the activities planned by the Inter-American Indian Institute in its Inter-American Indigenous Cooperation Program, which was formed in response to the demand by these peoples, communities, and organizations, activities whose content is the defense of human rights.  Included in these activities planned for the coming years, and which could be incorporated in  this program, are the following:

          •        Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples within OAS (The "Human Rights" issue is a fundamental part of the forums planned for the period 1998-2001).

          •        Forum of Indigenous Women of the Americas

          •        Indigenous Communication Network of the Americas

          •        "Manuel Gamio" Information and Documentation Center for Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.

          •        Graduate and postgraduate training Grants for strengthening indigenous leadership.

          Among other advances, national public institutions have introduced cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of human rights as part of the curricula at many levels of formal education, though this is still a new area.  There already exist in the region, and in the world, training programs, materials, and manuals which can be used to advantage.  The armed forces and security forces are introducing those elements as part of their training and practice.  Preparation of the National Human Rights Plans by countries has also provided an opportunity to carry out numerous activities to promote thought and education on the subject.

          Many civil society initiatives--especially those in the most vulnerable sectors--are also designed to provide training in an awareness and the defense of human rights.

          5.       THE THREE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM

          A.      REINFORCING THE FUNCTION OF PROTECTION AND DEFENSE, BY DISSEMINATING INFORMATION ABOUT THE NORMS AND PROCEDURES OF THE INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM

          As indicated in the Charter of the OAS and in the American Convention on Human Rights, "promoting observance and defense" constitute the Commission's primary function.  Consequently, it will focus its participation strictly on this objective of the Inter-American Program for the Promotion of Human Rights, disseminating and conducting training and analysis activities on inter-American norms and on the system's procedures.

          B.       STRENGTHENING OF NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS RESPONSIBLE

                   FOR PROTECTING AND PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS

          The program should provide the means for national institutions responsible for protecting and promoting human rights to improve their capabilities for action and protection.  This second objective includes educating state institutions and their members

to act with strict respect for human rights.

          C.      EDUCATING THE ENTIRE POPULATION AND, IN PARTICULAR, VULNERABLE GROUPS IN THE HEMISPHERE, ON HUMAN RIGHTS

          The program should look to reinforcing the task carried out by international and national organizations to create an awareness and knowledge of human rights and on a culture of tolerance in different sectors of the population and, above all, those most vulnerable and the new generations.

          6.       THE PROGRAM'S EXECUTING AGENCIES

          Executing agencies of this program will be the IACHR and other inter-American and national organs, both public and private.

          The inclusion in this program of an institution as the executor of or collaborator in an activity, whether that activity is currently in execution or is proposed for the future, will be done with full respect for, and with the understanding that that inclusion shall not infringe in any way on the autonomy and decision-making mechanisms of the various institutions mentioned, including the Commission.  In that same sense, the activities conducted within the framework of this program therefore shall be planned, negotiated, implemented, and evaluated according to the normal procedures dictated by the legal instruments and practices of the institutions involved.  This includes both international and national, as well as governmental and state and nongovernmental institutions and entities.

          Nature of the activities of the program's various executing agencies

          With regard to the IACHR

          In terms of content, the IACHR will focus its activities in this program on promoting the inter-American system, its instruments, procedures, and jurisprudence.  In relation to those receiving the benefits of the program, the IACHR understands that its efforts should be directed, in the state sector, toward the areas most directly connected with its activity (officials dealing with provincial government, domestic and foreign relations; members of the judicial branch; ombudsmen); and in civil society, toward officials of nongovernmental organizations and those who defend human rights in general.

          In terms of the methodology to be used in the program's activities, that which the IACHR develops should be in the direction of technical education; i.e., it should center on the training of human resources in understanding and implementation of the inter-American instruments, and on the preparation of materials for disseminating information on the system's regulations and standards.

          Both in content and in the defining of techniques and strategies for activities within its purview, the IACHR should act with the same autonomy given to it and required of it by the Charter of the OAS, its Statute and the American Convention, and in such a way that the activities which may be carried out within this program complement and promote its central activities, in other words, "without diminishing protection activities".

          Coordination with other agencies and entities

          The General Assembly resolution requests that the inter-American program be developed “in coordination with other competent OAS bodies and in cooperation with the agencies and entities of the inter-American system as well as the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations and institutions.” (AG/RES. 1489 (XXVII/O-97 par. 2.11).

          As mentioned earlier, these entities, and in particular the IIHR, the III, CIM, the UPD, and numerous national entities, are already carrying out programs and activities clearly aimed at the objectives of this program.  Their participation shall be in accordance with their rules, their abilities, resources, priorities and their own characteristics.

          7.       THE THREE PROGRAM AREAS

          In line with the objectives mentioned previously, the program will be subdivided in three broad areas which, in turn, will comprise sub-programs and specific activities.  These three areas will be:  1)  an area designed for activities aimed strictly at disseminating information on inter-American norms and the system's mechanisms, as well as training in these topics; 2)  an area designed to strengthen national institutions, both state and private, concerned with respect for and defense of human rights; 3)  an area dealing with education, spreading and disseminating information on the human rights subject and its practices.

          The Commission will focus its action in the first of these areas, as well as elements of the second area, to the extent that they have a direct relation to the norms and mechanisms of the system; in both cases, according to its resources and “without diminishing its protection activity”.  Other national and inter-American agencies and entities, as each case warrants, will primarily have a role in the second and third areas, participating also in the activities of dissemination and training on regulations and mechanisms of the inter-American system (1st area).

          I.        AREA ON NORMS AND MECHANISMS OF THE INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM

          General Objective of the Area:  Provide information and training on the norms and mechanisms of the inter-American system, in particular its system of claims and individual cases, procedures of the Commission and of the Inter-American Court, its jurisprudence and decision-making process; the content and nature of its recommendations and decisions; the roles and powers of the system's various participants; its actions in developing new international standards; and analysis of its capabilities and limitations.  The public receiving the benefits of this program will be those in both the public sector and civil society who, because of their job or their situation, have the greatest need for dealing with the system or applying its standards and doctrine.

          1.    Program of courses and seminars on regulations and mechanisms of the

                   inter-American system

          a.       IACHR seminar on the inter-American human rights system

                   (In execution)

                   Executing organ:  IACHR

                   Objective:  To train state officials with responsibilities in this area, as well as defenders of human rights from nongovernmental organizations, on the nature and operation of the system, and familiarize them with its basic jurisprudence.

                   Characteristics:  Intensive advanced seminar for judges and attorneys.  Duration 2 to 3 days.  The different powers of the Commission are analyzed, and in particular the system of individual cases, their handling before the Commission and before the inter-American Court.  Already carried out in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

                  

                   Funding:  Relying on resources from its regular budget, the Commission provides for the holding of the seminar twice per year, covering the costs of travel and lodging for teachers and support personnel.  The country acting as headquarters, where the seminar takes place, must cover additional costs.

          b.       Annual IACHR course on the inter-American system

                   (New activity)

                   Executing organ:  IACHR

                   Objective:  To improve jurists, judges, and state officials in the management And jurisprudence of the organs of the inter-American system, and serve as a seminar for reflection on legal and substantive issues of the inter-American system's regulations, and on the practices of its protective organs.

                   In a way similar to the seminar (see 1.a) the course would be aimed at professionals and state officials, and would include a more in-depth analysis.  It would be conducted in Washington, D.C., for a period of one week, once per year.  The course would be restricted to 30 to 50 participants.

                   The participants will be selected by IACHR, with 50% reserved for candidates submitted by the states, and the remainder chosen from among candidates whose application is submitted directly.

                   Estimated Cost:  $200,000.  (Requires additional funding)

          c.       Annual IACHR conference with high-level judicial magistrates of the Americas                     (New activity)

                   Executing organ:  IACHR with support from the supreme court or judicial organ of the country where the conference is headquartered.

                   Objective:  Bring together once per year for two days members of the Commission and high-level judicial magistrates (including supreme court, constitutional courts, appeals courts, military judges, defenders of the people) to analyze the juridical and practical framework for applying the inter-American human rights instruments in domestic jurisprudential practice.

                   Funding:  Commissioners' travel expenses the responsibility of the regular           IACHR budget.  Remaining expenses that of the judicial agency of each and/or the host country.

          d.       IACHR/CARICOM seminar to familiarize ombudsmen of the English-                                      speaking Caribbean with the inter-American system.

                   (New activity)

                   Executing organ:  IACHR with the cooperation of CARICOM

                   Objectives:  As became evident in the meeting of ombudsmen of the English- speaking Caribbean (Antigua, March of 1998), there is an interest, on the part of the public defenders of human rights referred to, in gaining a knowledge of the system's norms and mechanisms, an interest that this proposed seminar of a day and a half would attempt to fulfill.  An additional objective is to facilitate reciprocal communication on jurisprudence and situations in the Caribbean for increasing people's knowledge about the Commission.

                   Funding:  The IACHR could cover with the regular budget the participation of commissioners and specialists, and the host country or organization would cover remaining costs.

          e.       Seminar on the Future of the Inter-American System for the Protection of

                   Human Rights.

                   (New activity)

                   Executing organ:  IIHR

                   Objectives:  Promote constructive dialogue in different inter-American      forums on proposed revision and reform of the operation of the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights.

                   Characteristics:  Training course aimed at different people acting within various work areas related to the inter-American system.  This will be conducted in October of 1998.

                   Funding:  IIHR's regular budget

          f.       Project involving regional or subregional workshops on the inter-American

                   system

                   (In execution)

                   Executing organ:  IIHR

                   Objective:  Familiarize the community of attorneys and magistrates of the countries with the inter-American system, so that they gain a better knowledge of it and debate its future, as well as incorporating decisions and sentences made by organs of domestic law.

                   Funding:  IIHR's regular budget and special contributions.

2.       Program of fellowships and internships related to the inter-American system

          a.       IACHR "Rσmulo Gallegos" fellowship program

                   (In execution)

                   Executing organ:  IACHR with the administrative cooperation of OAS's Department of Fellowships.

                   Objectives:  It has offered, since 1991, the opportunity for new attorneys from the OAS member states to gain familiarity with the activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

                   Characteristics:  Consists of internships of ten months at the headquarters of the Executive Secretariat, for young lawyers, selected by the Commission in an open competition.  The work program includes:  a)  acting as intern in the tasks of the Commission's Executive Secretariat, under the supervision of its specialists during the period of the grant; b)  requires commitment to giving a course on the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights in the year following the end of the grant at an institution in the grantee's country.  Affiliation with the bar association or relevant authority.  The grantee shall submit a report at the end of the grant period.

                   Requirements:  a)  must be a graduate in law at an officially accredited university; b)  must be registered as an attorney with the courts or the appropriate bar association; c)  must have demonstrated professional interest in the legal area of human rights; d)  must be bilingual in English and Spanish; e)  must have received his or her diploma not more than five years prior to the grant; f)  must be a citizen of an OAS member state; g)  must submit a written essay on a human rights topic.

                   Benefits:  The IACHR provides a total of US$18,000 to each fellow for the period covered by the internship grant; round-trip ticket from the country of origin, and health insurance.

                   Funding:  The IACHR offers three grants and obtains external funding for additional grantees.  In 1997-98, five grants were given, three using regular IACHR funds and the other two using funding from other institutions.

          b.       IACHR internship program

                   (In execution)

                   Executing organ:  IACHR, within the Internship Program of OAS.

                   Program objectives:  Familiarize young postgraduate students of universities in the region with the theory and practice of human rights and of the Commission, as well as with the general operation of OAS.

                   Characteristics:  This is a program which has been carried out over the last decade, comprising short internships for postgraduate students with degrees in law to be carried out at the Commission's Executive Secretariat, working under the direct supervision of specialists.  They also participate in the OAS internship program's general activities.  The interns do not receive any funding from the Organization, although they may be supported by outside institutions.  Duration:  two to four months.  Selection:  three times per year.  Number of internships:  varying between 3 and 5 quarterly.

                   Funding:  No special funding required.

          3.       Program of publications and dissemination of information on the inter-American human rights system

          a.       Regular publications of the IACHR

                   (In execution)

         

                   Executing organ:  IACHR

                   Objective:  To record and publicly disseminate the decisions and reports of the Commission.  Currently, the Commission distributes its publications to hundreds of state entities, universities, NGOs, and experts through the mail.  Systematic development of a program for sending material electronically, via e-mail, is also being proposed, in order to make distribution less expensive, faster, and more extensive.

                   Characteristics:  The IACHR currently publishes and regularly distributes documents which include its reports and basic documents.  These documents include the Annual Report, the Special Reports on the human rights situation in given countries, the updated basic documents of the Inter-American Human Rights System, and on special occasions, studies, research, and special reports.  It will also include, starting in 1998-1999, the "Annual Report on Freedom of Expression in the Americas".  These are published in the four working languages and are distributed to a mailing list of more than a thousand recipients (universities, governmental and judicial organs, associations, experts, human rights organizations, and the press).  In special cases, these are also published in the traditional language of the population to which the report refers (in Creole for Haiti; in Miskito for the Nicaraguan people, for example).

                   Funding:  Preparation, translation, publication and distribution of these documents are carried out with funds from the regular budget for the publication of decisions and documents of the IACHR through  a)  Annual Reports; b)  special reports; c)  updated basic documents.

          b.       Inter-American Human Rights Yearbook

                   (In execution)

         

                   Executing organ:  IACHR, with Nijhoff Publishers, Holland.

                   Published currently, it includes a summary of all of the system's decisions and documents.

                   Funding:  The publisher is in charge of publication, with contributing funds from the regular budget of IACHR in exchange for issues of the publication.

          c.       Manual for journalists specializing in the handling of news on cases and proceedings of the inter-American system

                   (New activity)

                   Executing organ:  IACHR

                   Objective:  This program would be conducted with the aim of achieving greater journalistic accuracy and clarity on activities of the inter-American system.  In principle, it would consist of a small manual for journalists to facilitate their work and avoid their being used as a vehicle for erroneous news which could affect the prestige of their medium and of the system.  It will be supplemented, in the future, by a specialized course.

                   Funding:  Requires additional funding.  Estimate of cost:  performance contract for the preparation of the manual and its publication in four languages:  $40,000.

          d.       Program for public electronic access to the document base of the IACHR

                   (In execution)

                   Executive organ:  CIDH

                   Objective:  Make accessible via the Internet the reports and other public documents of the Commission and facilitate the search for jurisprudence in the system.

                   Characteristics:  Electronic site for the Commission on the Internet where all the documents published by the Commission can be consulted.  It is already in operation, containing the annual reports since 1990, and the special reports published in that period, to which new documents are being added as they are published.  The document base will be supplemented in 1998-99 with documents prior to 1990, and will be connected with supplementary data bases of the Washington School of Law, American University, and the Inter-American Court. 

                   The IACHR site also has the ability to allow keyword searches, as well as direct correspondence with the Commission; it also provides links to other selected sites, in particular the OAS home page, where the system's legal instruments, among others, are included.  A direct link with the site for the Court and with IIHR are also anticipated.

          e.       Program for electronic access and for a guide to procedures to follow in dealing with the inter-American human rights system, containing its jurisprudence and basic doctrine, as well as those of the European and United Nations systems.

                   (Proposal for new activity)

                   Executing organ:  IIHR

                   Objective:  Make available to potential claimants and officials a tool that will serve as a practical guide for participation before the enforcement organs, and to facilitate their professional job at the domestic headquarters.

                   Characteristics:  Systematized and updated information on the instruments and mechanisms for the protection of human rights, which will be included in IIHR's electronic site.  Also, the updating of a compact disk which contains, in addition, information on the domestic law of the American countries, and other international instruments.

                   Funding:  Regular budget of IIHR

f.       Project for disseminating the IIHR book, "The Future of the Inter-American   System for the Protection of Human Rights"

                   (In execution)

                   Executing organ:  IIHR

                   Objective:  To distribute this book, which was published in March of 1998 by the IIHR with contributions from the main experts (including present and former members and officials of IIHR), among users of the system, diplomats, officials of organizations, etc., as a contribution to the debate on possible reform of the system.

                   Funding:  Regular budget of IIHR

          g.       IIHR Magazine (Nos. 27 and 28)

                   (In execution)

                   Executing organ:  IIHR

                   Objectives:  Provide information on the work of institutions connected with the inter-American human rights system, such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  Disseminate information about the doctrine and mechanisms of the inter-American human rights system.

                   Characteristics:  These are regular publications, published every six months.

                   Funding:  IIHR's regular budget

 

 


     [1] See chapter II, pag. 21 of this report.

    [2] See General Assembly Resolutions 1997, "Evaluation of the operation and improvement of the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights".  AG/RES. 1489 (XXVII-O/97) Minutes and Documents Volume 1, OEA/Ser.P/XXVII-0.2.


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