Press Release

IACHR Announces Schedule of Hearings for 157 Sessions

March 4, 2016

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announces the schedule of public hearings for the 157 Sessions, which will be held from April 2 to April 15, 2016. The hearings will take place on April 4, 5, 7 and 8 at the IACHR headquarters, located at the General Secretariat Building of the Organization of American States (OAS), 1889 F Street NW, Washington DC.

Pursuant to Article 61 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission opens a registration period for civil society organizations that may be interested in participating in the hearings requested by States, as well as in those organized by the IACHR on its own initiative.

The hearings requested by some States that the Commission decided to hold this period of sessions are the following: “Cultural Rights and the Internet in Brazil,” “General Situation of Human Rights in Costa Rica,” “National Reparations Plan in Peru,” “General Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela.” These hearings have an assigned time of 60 minutes, in which 25 minutes are reserved for presentations from the State’s delegation, followed by 15 minutes presentation from civil society organizations interested in participating. The remaining time is reserved for the Commissioners’ comments and questions.  The same time distribution applies to the following hearing organized by the IACHR on its own initiative: “Follow-up on the Report on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada,” to which civil society organizations are also invited to express their interest in participating.

Likewise, on its own initiative the IACHR has decided to hold the following thematic hearings: “Measures to decrease pretrial detention in the Americas,” “National’s system to protect human rights defenders in the Americas” and “National Child Protection Systems in the Americas.” According to the schedule, these hearings have an assigned time of 60 minutes, in which 40 minutes are assigned to civil society organizations interested in presenting on these themes, and the remaining time is for comments and questions from the Commissioners.

In the hearing “Measures to Reduce Pretrial Detention in the Americas,” the IACHR hopes to receive information on good practices and challenges in establishing the measures adopted by States to reduce the use of pretrial detention, especially the measures adopted after the publication of the IACHR Report on the Use of Pretrial Detention in the Americas in 2013. Particularly, the Commission hopes to receive information on the implementation of alternatives to pretrial detention, as well as whether a gender perspective has been used in applying detention or alternatives.

In the hearing "National protection systems for human rights defenders and justice operators in the Americas" the IACHR hopes to receive information on the national protection systems in the region including, among others, aspects such as sources that provide for their creation and mandate, functioning and methodology, as well as the criteria employed in risk evaluation, actors involved, range of possible protection measures in each system, and method and frequency of communication among the parties. The Commission is particularly interested in receiving information on good practices and results concerning the operations of these systems, as well as current and future challenges to their functioning.

In the hearing "National Child Protection Systems in the Americas" the Commission expects to receive information on the different models and practical operation of the National Child Protection Systems in the region, their main characteristics, how they are structured, the type of services they provide, their effectiveness in protecting the rights of children as well as issues related to decentralization, intersectoriality, accessibility, information management, evaluations and child participation, among others. The Commission is particularly interested in receiving information concerning the effectiveness of these systems in preventing violence against children and in protecting victims, as well as to obtain examples of good practices.

Expenses for participating in the hearings must be covered by the interested organizations or individuals themselves. Pursuant to Article 66 of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, those making such a request must submit identifying information and the reasons they would like to participate. The IACHR will later release the list of organizations convened to participate in the hearings. The IACHR invites those organizations and individuals who do not end up being called on to participate to present in writing any documents and information that they consider relevant to the issue of the hearing. For more information, see Title II, Chapter VI, “Hearings before the Commission,” in the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR. 

Organizations that would like to be considered should register in the system to request participation in the hearings, which is available from March 4 to 10. The form will no longer be available at midnight March 10, 2016.

The IACHR will webcast all public hearings live on its website. The videos of these hearings will subsequently be available on the IACHR Website. Details about these services can be found in the Commission's guidelines for press coverage of public hearings.

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

No. 025/16