Nº 19/06






The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will release the “Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas” in a conference hosted by the Washington College of Law of American University, in Washington D.C. Commissioner Victor Abramovich and Executive Secretary Santiago A Canton, will deliver the presentation. The panel is composed of Washington College of Law Dean Claudio Grossman and Viviana Krsticevic of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).


The work of human rights defenders is fundamental for the universal implementation of those rights, and for the full existence of democracy and the rule of law.  The work of human rights defenders has been essential in the defense of rights under dictatorships, authoritarian governments, and during internal armed conflicts. Today, in a context marked by democratic governments, the work of human rights defenders continues to be essential in the process of strengthening democracy.


The report highlights that, among other acts that impede or encumber the protection of human rights, a number of human rights defenders in the region are victims of extrajudicial executions and forced disappearance; assaults, threats, and harassment; smear campaigns, judicial actions; restriction of access to information in the hands of the state; abusive administrative and financial controls; and impunity in relation to those who perpetrate these violations. In its report, the Commission also reaffirms the legal framework of protection which should be applied to promote and protect the work of those engaged in the defense of human rights, and proposes specific measures to legitimate, promote and protect the work of human rights defenders.


The Commission prepared this report to support the activities carried out by human rights defenders and, at the same time, to collaborate with OAS member States in exposing the problems that human rights defenders face in the region, so as to develop the best strategies for overcoming them.


Washington D.C., June 1st 2006