The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights begins holding hearings today in its 141st Period of Sessions. The forty-four scheduled hearings will be held on March 25 (today), 28 and 29 at the OAS General Secretariat Building at 1889 F Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C. and are open to the public (with the exception of two closed hearings on Venezuela). No prior registration is required to attend and headphones for listening to live interpretation (in English and Spanish) are generally available for attendees.
Today, the Commission will hear from a variety of non-governmental organizations and States on the rights of : women and girls in camps for internally displaced in Haiti, sexual minorities in Haiti, Jamaicans (generally), Mapuche children in Chile, indigenous communities to legal jurisdiction, isolated indigenous communities in the Amazon and Gran Chaco, migrant women in the Andean region, human rights defenders in Honduras, use of force by the army and police in Honduras, a complaint presented by Honduran judges dismissed after the coup (Petition 975-10), persons of African descent in Uruguay, women in Nicaragua, political rights in Nicaragua, human rights defenders in South America.
Next Monday and Tuesday, the issues covered will include: rights of migrants in the United States (this follows the IACHR’s publication last week of its Report on Immigration in the United States: Detention and Due Process); Colombia; detained individuals in the province of Buenos Aires; women’s reproductive rights; impunity for abuses committed during the Duvalier dictatorship; climate change and access to water; modification of the civil register in the Dominican Republic; crime, migrants, detained individuals, and indigenous land rights in Mexico; human rights defenders and the detained in Guatemala; Venezuela’s Enabling Law and the rights of the detained and political prisoners in Venezuela; consultation of indigenous peoples and people of African descent in the Andean region; rights of the detained in Ecuador; women’s right to organize in Mesoamerica; access to justice in Peru and the Peruvian judiciary.
The thematic hearings are an opportunity for civil society and the Member States of the OAS to raise issues of concern affecting one or more communities or groups in the Americas. The Commission also holds hearings with the parties to individual complaints, for discussion of the admissibility and/or merits of a particular complaint.
This period of sessions also brings a change in the leadership of the Commission. On March 21, the Commission elected Dinah Shelton (U.S.) as Chair of the Commission. José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez (Mexico) is now First Vice-Chair and Rodrigo Escobar (Colombia) is Second Vice-Chair. [IACHR] The remaining members of the 7-member Commission are: Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Brazil), Felipe González (Chile), Luz Patricia Mejía (Venezuela), and María Silvia Guillén (El Salvador). During the previous year, the leadership of the IACHR had been as follows: Felipe González, Chair; Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, First Vice-Chair; and Dinah Shelton, Second Vice-Chair. [IACHR]