Press Release

IACHR Wraps Up its 158th Special Session

June 13, 2016

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Santiago, Chile - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held its 158th special session in Santiago, Chile, June 6-10, 2016, at the invitation of the Chilean State. During this session, the IACHR met with high-level Chilean authorities and with civil society organizations in the country. It also held 10 public hearings and several events to promote human rights.

More than 50 civil society organizations and delegations from the States of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela participated in the hearings, which took place in the Former National Congress Building. The hearings were well attended by the public and were followed by thousands of people throughout the region via live webcast. The Inter-American Commission thanks the States and civil society for their active participation in all the hearings, the summaries of which can be found in the Report on this session, attached to this press release.

The Commission expresses its appreciation to the government of Chile for the invitation to hold the special session there and for its cooperation in enabling the Commission to carry out its agenda of activities. The Commission also expresses its appreciation to the legislative branch, the judiciary, and the National Human Rights Institute, as well as to civil society organizations and the Chilean people for their hospitality and collaboration.

In the framework of its 158th special session, the IACHR held meetings with the President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz Valenzuela; the President of the Senate, Ricardo Lagos Weber; the President of the National Congress, Osvaldo Andrade Lara; the Minister of Justice, Javiera Blanco Suárez; and the President of the Supreme Court, Hugo Enrique Dolmetsch Urra.

The Inter-American Commission also held meetings with Chilean civil society organizations and individuals who participated in a personal capacity. These meetings addressed the following subjects: the general human rights situation in Chile; the human rights situation of persons deprived of liberty, migrants, women, children and adolescents, indigenous peoples, persons of African descent, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex persons, human rights defenders, and justice operators; the situation regarding the rights to freedom of expression, of assembly, and of association, and the right to public protest; and economic, social, and cultural rights and the right to water, health, and education. The following organizations participated in these meetings: 81 Razones, Agrupación Lésbica Rompiendo el Silencio, Caritas Chile, Casa Memoria José Domingo Cañas, Centro de Estudios en Seguridad Ciudadana, Corporación Fundamental, Corporación Opción, Fundación Iguales, Fundación PIDEE, Instituto de Estudios Internacionales Universidad Arturo Prat, Instituto de la Mujer, LEASUR, Londres 38, Movilizándonos, Movimiento Acción Migrante, Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual (MOVILH), Observadores DDHH Casa Memoria, Observatorio Ciudadano, ONG Oro Negro, Pastoral Carcelaria Nacional, Red CELAR, Red DDH CELAM-SELACC, Red de Organizaciones de Infancia y Juventud (ROIJ), Red Nacional de ONGs de Niñez y Adolescencia, Visibles.

In the framework of this special session, the Commission held an academic seminar at the Museum of Memory and Human rights, with three panel discussions on the progress and challenges of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; the right to truth, justice, and reparation; and inter-American standards on equity and non-discrimination. The IACHR also cosponsored a colloquium on the issue of States, Corporations, and Human Rights, organized by the Human Rights Center at Diego Portales University and held at the National Human Rights Institute. It held another colloquium with the members of the judiciary’s Human Rights Committee on the subject of “conventionality control,” at the headquarters of the Judicial Studies Institute.

During these sessions, the IACHR also worked on individual petitions and cases alleging violations of human rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and other inter-American instruments. Once the parties have been notified, the list of petitions and cases and their respective reports will be published on the Commission’s website.

Participants in the 158th special session included the President of the IACHR, James. L. Cavallaro; the First Vice-President, Francisco José Eguiguren Praelli; the Second Vice-President, Margarette May Macaulay; Commissioners José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Paulo Vannuchi, Enrique Gil Botero, and Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño; the IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria; the Assistant Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed; the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Edison Lanza; and other staff members of the IACHR Executive Secretariat.

A principal, autonomous body of the 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. 075/16