PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
REPORT BY THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEEON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
INTER - AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
March 18, 1997
On behalf of the Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Ambassador John S. Donaldson, I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of Your Excellency's letter of February 27, 1997, which requested information on the progress the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has made in implementing the Summit of the Americas' initiatives since its previous report and its additional plans to pursue the Summits objectives.
Since the Commission's last report of March 12, 1996, it has pursued most of its initiatives referred to in that document. In fulfilling its general mandate, the Commission continues to monitor, defend, support and observe human rights in the member states of the OAS. This is achieved by conducting on-site visits to selected member states of the OAS in order to assess the prevailing general situation of human rights in those countries, and through its case processing, adjudication and reporting system.
In addition to pursuing its general mandate, the Commission has continued its work on specialized human rights projects. The Commission places special emphasis on the rights of indigenous peoples and of women, the conditions of detained and incarcerated persons, and the situation of the migrant workers and their families in the Americas, all of whom warrant close monitoring and protection by the Commission.
The Commission held consultations with national and regional indigenous rights groups, institutions and experts during 1996, and a technical review meeting from January 31 to February 2, 1997, to consult its proposed instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. These meetings of consultation plus another held in Mexico under the aegis of the Inter-American Indian Institute were financed through a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank. The Commission, in continuing its work on this project, recently presented the Proposed instrument to the Secretary General for its eventual consideration by the General Assembly.
With regard to its specialized project on the protection of rights of women in the Americas to be free from discrimination, on March 29, 1996, a conference was held entitled "Women, Human rights and the Inter-American System: An Agenda for Action." The conference was co-sponsored by the Commission, the Inter-American Commission of Women of the OAS, the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights and the Pan-American Health Organization. The Commission held a Second Meeting of Experts on March 30, 1996, which provided advice to the Special Rapporteur on issues pertaining to the implementation of the Commission's project on women. The Commission is continuing its study in this area.
In respect of its study on the conditions of detention of incarcerated persons in the Americas, at its 93rd period of Sessions, the Commission reiterated its request to member states which had not responded to the Prison Questionnaire to do so, and established a deadline of December 31, 1996, for responses to the same. The Commission concluded its visits to correctional institutions on December 10, 1996, and is in the process of evaluating and analyzing all the data received pertaining to this study. The Commission has also begun preparation of its Report on Conditions of Detention in the Americas,
At its 92nd Regular Session, The Commission initiated a study of the situation of migrant workers and their families in the Americas. The Commission began consultations with, both international and regional organizations, which interact with migrant workers and their families in the Americas on a daily basis in order to assist the Commission in acquiring, information for its study.
In addition to the above projects the Commission held a seminar at OAS headquarters, in Washington, D.C from December 2-4, 1996, on the lnter-American System for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. The aim of the Seminar was "to further the discussion of issues relevant for the future of the regional system, thereby enriching the dialogue between the different actors interested in strengthening the system." The Commission invited representatives of states of the hemisphere, academicians, members of non-governmental organizations, judges, legislators, and representatives from different human rights systems to participate in the seminar. The invitees attended, participated, and contributed useful information in relation to the same. A report on this activity is to be sent to the Permanent Council in the near future.
Please accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.