IACHR Holds Public Hearing Simulation Exercise with Adolescents from the Americas

July 15, 2021

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a mock hearing focused on issues relating to violence against women and girls as part of an initiative to promote a culture of respect for human rights. The event took place between July 6 and 9, 2021.

It was attended by 45 adolescents who were selected from among 150 applicants from approximately 40 civil society organizations, networks, movements, or groups in the region who work with issues relating to the rights of children, adolescents, and young people.

As part of the Strategic Plan 2017–2021, the IACHR has been working actively to expand spaces for children and adolescents to take part in defending their human rights. In this regard, the workshops aimed to engage the adolescents with the structure and functioning of the Inter-American System of Human Rights (IASHR) by holding mock public IACHR hearings. The activity aimed to strengthen their skills and understandings of the role of international organizations and their continued importance in defending human rights. Specifically, the intention was for the participants to understand that throughout their lives, real public hearings are a space for participation from which inclusion in the IASHR and direct action are promoted, especially through the different mechanisms of the IACHR.

In addition to the objectives relating to the effective participation of adolescents in these processes, the activity sought to promote discussion around the different ways of preventing gender-based violence and discrimination. By exploring these issues in detail, the simulations allowed participants to develop research and negotiation skills in the international arena.

As part of the event, nine thematic hearings were held during which the participants played the parts of IACHR commissioners, civil society petitioners, and State representatives. The hearing addressed issues such as gender stereotyping and discrimination in the media and on social media platforms; online grooming and sexual harassment; and masculinities and forms of violence.

At the end of the day, the adolescents drafted a document of conclusions through which they urged the States in the Americas to implement effective measures to wipe out gender stereotyping in the media and on social media platforms, to put an end to online grooming and sexual harassment, and to deconstruct the gender mandates that create masculinities that jeopardize the health of women and men. This document was presented to Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, the IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, who received it on behalf of the IACHR plenary with the intention of including the conclusions in the IACHR's work.

The meeting was held as part of the project on violence and discrimination against women and girls that the IACHR is implementing with support from the Government of Canada.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 179/21

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