Report on Sessions of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights

OEA/Ser.L/V/II.13
Doc. 26 (English)
March 2, 1966

Original: Spanish



INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

REPORT ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED

DURING ITS TWELFTH SESSION

October 4 to 15, 1965


PAN AMERICAN UNION

General Secretariat, Organization of American States

Washington, D.C.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Organization of the Twelfth Session 4

Opening Date and Length of Session 4

Members of the Commission and Participants 4

Meetings and Documents 5

II. Agenda 6

III. Reports on the Work Accomplished by the Commission During its Tenth and Eleventh (Special) Sessions 7

IV. Report of the Executive Secretary on the Activities of the Secretariat Between the Tenth and Twelfth Sessions 7

Examination of the Action of the Commission in the Dominican Republic 8

Reports of members representing the Commission following the Eleventh Session (Special) 8

Reports of Mrs. Angela Acuna de Chacon 8

Report of Dr. Durward V. Sandifer 9

Report of Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches 9

Report of the Chairman of the Commission 10

Draft Report on the Activities of the Commission, prepared by the Secretariat 10

Determination of the activities to be undertaken by the Commission in the Dominican Republic until the installation of an elected government, in accordance with the Resolution adopted by the Commission during its Eleventh Session (Special) and with the provisions of Article 51 of the Dominican Institutional Act 11

VI. Situation of Human Rights in American Countries 13

Report of the Subcommittee 13

New communications or complaints 14

Requests for information from governments and replies received 14

Report of the Chairman of the Commission on his visit to Paraguay 14

Examination of the situation of human rights in other American counties 15

VII. Activities Relating to the General Work Program 17

Situation of political refugees in the Americas. Draft Report prepared by the Secretariat 17

Report to the Second Special Inter-American Conference 20

VIII. Communication to the Council of the Organization 20

IX. Date and Place of the Thirteenth Session 20

Closing of the Session 20

Appendix 22

INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

REPORT ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED DURING ITS TWELFTH SESSION

October 4 to 15, 1965

I. ORGANIZATION OF THE TWELFTH SESSION

A. Opening Date and Length of Session

1. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held its Twelfth Session from October 4 to 15, 1965, at its permanent headquarters in the Pan American Union, Washington, D.C.

2. The Subcommittee, which is responsible for the Preliminary consideration of the communications or complaints addressed to the Commission, for making pertinent recommendations to the Commission, and for preparing a draft agenda, met on September 30 and October 1, 1965.

3. The opening meeting took Place at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, October 4, in the Columbus Room of the Pan American Union.

4. In declaring the Twelfth Session open, the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Manuel Bianchi, welcomed the members and expressed his satisfaction at the fact that all members of the Commission were present at that time. He excused the absence of Dr. José A. Mora, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, and that of Dr. William Sanders, Assistant Secretary General, who were unable to attend the opening meeting because of their absence from Washington.

He stated that the Commission had important matters to consider at this session, including among others, the matter of the Commission's presence in the Dominican Republic in order to secure the observance of human rights and of the freedoms stipulated in the Second Part of the Institutional Act of that country.

The Chairman added that studies should also be made of the draft reports prepared by the Secretariat in regard to political refugees in the Americas and to the Commissions activities in the Dominican Republic. Finally, he stressed the importance, for the future of the Commission, of the Second Special Inter-American Conference, to which the Commission would present a report on its six years of work; this report would also include a suggestion that the powers of the organization be made more extensive.

B. Members of the Commission and Participants

5. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is composed of the following persons:

Name Nationality

Mrs. Angela Acuna de Chacon Costa Rica

Prof. Manuel Bianchi Chile

Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches Brazil

Dr. Gonzalo Escudero Ecuador

Dr. Gabino Fraga Mexico

Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins Uruguay

Dr. Durward V. Sandifer United States

All members attended the Twelfth Session.

C. Meetings and Documents

6. The Commission held ten meetings during this period. The Secretariat prepared the summary minutes of these meetings, which are reserved for the exclusive use of the members.

7. In accordance with the provisions of Article 34 of the Regulations of the Commission, the Secretariat submitted a list of the communications or complaints received prior to this session. This document was prepared in chronological order by countries.

8. The Secretariat also issued the following documents:

Draft Report on the political refugees in America (Doc. 7-XI, Rev.).

Draft Report on the activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Dominican Republic - June 1 to August 31, 1965 (Doc. 14-XIII, Rev.)

Visit to Paraguay, report prepared by the Chairman of the Commission (Doc. 5-XIII).

9. Several members of the Commission who had represented it in the Dominican Republic prepared reports on their activities. The Secretariat Published these documents, which are the following:

Mission in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 8-XIII) and Work of the Inter-American Commission on Human flights in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 9-XIII), both by Mrs. Angela Acuna de Chacon.

Mission to the Dominican Republic, Second Report (Doc. 3-XIII), by Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches.

Mission in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 4-XIII), by Dr. Durward V. Sandifer. Report of the Chairman of the Commission (September 9-27).

The Secretariat also issued several press releases through the Press Division of the Pan American Union, informing the public of the Commission's activities.

10. Technical and administrative services were rendered by the Secretariat, composed of Dr. Luis Reque, Executive Secretary, and Drs. Guillermo Cabrera, Alvaro Gomez and Renzo Minut.

II. AGENDA

11. At its first meeting, the Commission approved the following agenda for its Twelfth Session:

1. Reports prepared by the Secretariat on the work accomplished by the Commission at its Tenth Session and Eleventh (Special) Session.

2. Report of the Executive Secretary on the activities of the Secretariat between the Tenth and Twelfth Sessions.

3. Examination of the action of the Commission in the Dominican Republic.

a) Reports of members who had represented the Commission subsequent to the Eleventh Session.

b) Draft report on the activities of the Commission, prepared by the Secretariat.

c) Determination of the activities to be carried out by the Commission up to the date of installation of the government-elect, in accordance with the Resolution approved by the Commission at its Eleventh Session and with Article 51 of the Institutional Act.

4. Situation of human rights in the countries of the Americas.

a) Report of the Subcommittee concerning the communications or claims received.

b) Report of the Chairman on his visit to Paraguay,

c) Examination of the situation of human rights in other countries of the Americas.

5. General Work Program:

a) Situation of political refugees in the Americas. Draft report prepared by the Secretariat.

b) Report to the Second Special Inter-American Conference. Information submitted by the Chairman with respect to the interviews with the Ministers of Foreign Relations of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Date and place of the Thirteenth Session.

7. Other matters.

III. REPORTS ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED BY THE COMMISSION DURING ITS TENTH AND ELEVENTH (SPECIAL) SESSIONS

12. At its fourth meeting, held on October 8, 1965, the Commission approved the draft reports prepared by the Secretariat on the work accomplished during the Tenth and Eleventh (Special) sessions, held at Washington from March 15 to 26 and July 21 to 23, 1965 (OAS/Ser.L/V/II.11, Doc. 19, 2 July 1965 and OAS/Ser.L/V/II.12, Doc. 10, 20 September 1965).

13. The reports mentioned provide a methodical account of the activities carried out during the corresponding sessions.

The first document refers to four principal topics, including among others:

a. Violations of human rights in American countries, specifically in the cases of Cuba, Guatemala and Paraguay; b. Situation of political refugees in the Americas; c. Draft Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information and Investigation; and d. Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the Second Special Inter-American Conference.

The second report refers basically to the two matters occupying the attention of the Commission during its Eleventh Session: a. Situation of human rights in the Dominican Republic, and b. Activities of the Commission in the Dominican Republic.

IV. REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARIAT BETWEEN THE TENTH AND TWELFTH SESSIONS

14. The Executive Secretary reported to the Commission on the activities of the Secretariat during the period from March 26, 1965, closing date of the Tenth Session, to September 30, 1965, the date on which the Subcommittee began its work prior to the Twelfth Session.

In this report, mention was made of the communications received and of the manner in which they were dealt with.

The Executive Secretary also informed the Commission of the work carried out in the Dominican Republic to make possible action by the Commission, providing details on the work of the organization and functioning of the Office established at Santo Domingo.

15. The report concluded with mention of the work carried out by the Secretariat during the meetings held by the Subcommittee in Washington from June 22 to 24, 1965; the work related to the Eleventh Session (Special); and the cooperation extended to the Chairman in connection with his visit, in August 1965, to Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

16. Finally, with reference to the General Work Program, it was noted that the Secretariat had published the above mentioned Draft Report on the situation of political refugees in the Americas; that a study had been completed on the right of petition, and that work had gone forward on the completion of a background document on the subject: The International Protection of Human Rights Since 1959.

The latter two documents were given to the rapporteurs for those subjects.

V. EXAMINATION OF THE ACTION OF THE COMMISSION IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

A. Reports of members representing the Commission following the Eleventh Session (Special)

17. At the eighth meeting, Mrs. Angela Acuna de Chacon, Dr. Durward V. Sandifer, Dr. Carlos A. Dunshee de Abranches and the Chairman, Prof. Bianchi, referred to the reports submitted by them in connection with their activities in the Dominican Republic as representatives of the Commission. These reports are reserved for the exclusive use of members of the Commission.

i. Reports of Mrs. Angela Acuna de Chacon

18. Mrs. Angela Acuna de Chacon submitted two reports: Mission in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 8-XIII) and Work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 9-XIII).

19. The first of these reports summarizes the activities of the Commission's representative during the period from July 25 to August 5, 1960.

The report covers her interviews held with the authorities, the manner in which the complaints and claims received were handled, and the visits made to prisons.

It gives details (with the pertinent documents included in the Appendix) on the negotiations held with the Government of National Reconstruction to consider the situations of the numerous persons held under arrest for long periods, without the initiation of any investigation to ascertain their responsibility or guilt.

20. The second report prepared by Mrs. Acuna de Chacon relates the different activities carried on by the representative on behalf of political prisoners, and discusses the efforts made to procure the release of certain minors held in "La Victoria" Penitentiary.

ii. Report of Dr. Durward V. Sandifer

21. The report submitted by Dr. Durward V. Sandifer refers to the work accomplished by him in his capacity as the Commissions representative from August 11 to 20, 1965.

The report begins by stating that the number of denunciations and complaints had declined with respect to the number submitted during his first period of action in the Dominican Republic.

It adds that the Amnesty Board established by the Government of National Reconstruction had freed about 2,400 prisoners held in "La Victoria" Penitentiary, and stresses the danger existing that some political prisoners may be accused of common crimes in order to hinder or block their release.

22. The report concludes by relating the interviews held with the several authorities of the two contending governments, and describing the visits made to prisons. The document has three appendices containing an account of the visits, supplementing the data provided in the text of the report.

iii. Report of Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches

23. Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches submitted his second report, entitled: Mission in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 3-XIII), which covers his activities from August 23 to September 5, 1965.

In his report, Dr. Abrancnes, after referring to the general situation of human rights in the country and mentioning routine activities, relates in detail the Commissions work in the negotiations which led to the release of all military prisoners who had been held in the prisons of the two contending governments.

24. Dr. Abranches describes in detail the manner in which the soldiers imprisoned in Ozama Fortress and "La Victoria" Penitentiary were given their freedom, and states that they were handed over to him in his capacity as representative of the Commission. He also discusses some of the principal cases in which he acted personally; he reports on the two interviews held with the Provisional President, Dr. Hector Garcia Godoy; finally, he makes certain suggestions concerning the manner in which the future work of the Commission in the Dominican Republic should be planned

iv. Report of the Chairman of the Commission

25. The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Bianchi, made an oral report on the activities carried out in the Dominican Republic from September 9 to 27. He pointed out that he had given already confidential information, during previous meetings, in regard to the decisions he had to take after his preliminary report of June 23, 1965.

B. Draft Report on the Activities of the Commission, prepared by the Secretariat

26. At its ninth meeting, the Commission considered the Draft Report on the activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 14-XIII), prepared by the Secretariat.

This document gives an objective account of the work of the Commission in the Dominican Republic from June 11, 1965 to the date on which Dr. Héctor Garcia Godoy took office as Provisional President.

27. The section entitled "Background" gives the texts of the invitations addressed to the Commission to be present in the Dominican Republic; it relates the manner in which the Commission was represented and explains the legal bases for its actions.

28. The report makes reference to the meeting of the Subcommittee held from June 22 to 24, 1965, and to the Eleventh Session (Special) held from July 21 to 23; at these meetings, the problem of human rights in the Dominican Republic was considered.

29. In discussing the matter of actions within the territory of the Dominican Republic, the report describes the interviews conducted by representatives of the Commission with various national and international authorities, gives a minute account of the negotiations carried out by the Commission, and relates the different visits made to cities and towns in the interior of the country.

30. Finally, the draft report prepared by the Secretariat includes a study of the violations verified, arranging the different cases according to the type of right infringed. The cases are thus classified according to violations of the right to life; to liberty and safety; of the right to freedom from arbitrary imprisonment; to property; of the right of assembly, opinion, expression and publication; of the right of residence and transit, and of the right to the inviolability of the home.

31. In general, the Commission approved the draft report, instructing the Secretariat to make certain modifications.

C. Determination of the activities to be undertaken by the Commission in the Dominican Republic until the "Installation of an elected government, in accordance with the Resolution adopted by the Commission during its Eleventh Session (Special) and with the provisions of Article 51 of the Dominican Institutional Act

32. During the ninth and tenth meetings, the Commission considered the matter of future actions in the Dominican Republic, until such time as an elected government is installed.

33. The Subcommittee, meeting in Washington from June 22 to 24, 1965, had previously resolved that the Chairman would continue to act in the Dominican Republic, to the extent of his powers, until a special meeting of the Commission was held to consider the Dominican case.

At this meeting, the Eleventh Session (Special) held from July 21 to 23, 1965, the Commission resolved to authorize its Chairman to maintain a representation of the Commission in the Dominican Republic until the a installation of the Provisional Government.

34. It was further agreed that the Commission would remain in the Dominican Republic after the installation of the said Government, provided that the presence of the Commission in Dominican territory was authorized by that Government.

35. On September 27, 1965, the Dominican Government sent a communication to the Chairman of the Commission, requesting the presence of the Commission in Dominican territory. The text of this communication is as follows:

Santo Domingo, N.D. September 27, 1965

No. 1254

Excellency:

I have the honor to address you, under instructions from my government, to request, in accordance with the provisions of Article 51 of the Institutional Act, that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights remain in the Dominican Republic until the installation of the government that will emanate from the next elections.

My government wishes to inform you hereby that the Commission may count upon our full cooperation for the purpose of permitting the faithful observation of the provisions contained in the Second Part of the Institutional Act, regarding human rights and the basic freedoms.

I shall await news from you regarding the request contained in the present Note.

Accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration.

(s) Rafael Mencia Lister

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

His Excellency

Mr. Manuel Bianchi

Chairman of the Inter-American

Commission on Human Rights

City

36. After an extensive exchange of ideas, the Commission unanimously adopted the following Resolution:

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

In view of the invitation that has been extended to it by the Provisional Government of the Dominican Republic, in accordance with the provisions of Article 51 of the Institutional Act,

RESOLVES:

1. To accept and to express its appreciation for the invitation because of the reiterated confidence thereby expressed by the Dominican Government in the work of the Commission.

2. To maintain its office in Santo Domingo, and to go to Dominican territory, if the circumstances make this advisable, as a complete group or through the sending of a subcommittee, or its Chairman, or members of the Commission individually, representing it.

3. To continue, in the Dominican Republic, in accordance with the competence established in its Statute, its Regulations, and the practice already observed in that country by the Commission, the defense of the human rights set forth in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and particularly those envisaged in the Second Part of the Institutional Act, insofar as they coincide with those set forth in the said Declaration, maintaining, in the performance of its functions, the respect due to the Personality, sovereignty and independence of that American state.

37. As a result, it was agreed to send the following note to the Dominican Government:

October 19, 1965

Mister Vice Minister:

With reference to your kind note of September 27, in which you requested that, in accordance with the provisions of Article 51 of the Institutional Act, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights remain in the Dominican Republic until the installation of the government that will emanate from the next elections, I wish to make known to you that the Commission accepts, and is thankful for, this significant honor, which shows the reiterated confidence placed in the work it has been doing in that noble nation.

The Commission will continue, in accordance with its competence, to defend human rights in general, and particularly those envisaged in the Second Part of the Institutional Act, thus maintaining, in the fulfillment of its duties, the respect due to the personality, sovereignty and independence of the Dominican Republic.

Accept, Sir, the renewed assurance of my highest consideration.

Manuel Bianchi

Chairman

His Excellency

Dr. Rafael Mencia Lister

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

VI. SITUATION OF RIGHTS IN AMERICAN COUNTRIES

A. Report of the Subcommittee

38. The Subcommittee is composed of the following members:

Chairman: Prof. Manuel Bianchi

Members: Dr. Gonzalo Escudero

Dr. Durward V. Sandifer

39. In accordance with the provisions of the Regulations of the Commission, the Subcommittee met on September 30 and October 1, 1965, to make a preliminary study of the communications or complaints received by the Commission and to prepare a draft agenda for the Twelfth Session.

Prof. Manuel Bianchi, Chairman and Dr. Durward V. Sandifer, Member, were present at the meetings.

40. Upon completing its work, the Subcommittee issued a report (Doc.7-XIII) for the Commission, giving an account of the manner in which the 91 communications or complaints addressed to the Commission were studied and considered; these had been previously arranged by the Secretariat (Doc. 2-XIII). The Subcommittee made appropriate recommendations in each case.

The report also includes a draft agenda for the Twelfth Session.

41. The Commission approved the report of the Subcommittee at its second meeting, and instructed the Secretariat to carry out the recommendations made therein.

B. New communications or complaints

42. The Commission also considered the new denunciations received in the course of the session, which are listed in an Addendum prepared by the Secretariat. It was agreed to deal with them in accordance with the Regulations.

C. Requests for information from governments and replies received

43. During the period between the Eleventh (Special) and Twelfth Sessions, information was requested from the governments of Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay and United States, replies were received from these governments.

D. Report of the Chairman of the Commission on his visit to Paraguay

44. At the Tenth Session, the Commission authorized the Chairman and the Executive Secretary to visit Paraguay in order to make a preliminary study of the situation of human rights in that country. To this end, the Chairman of the Commission initiated negotiations with the Ambassador of Paraguay at Santiago, Chile.

45. In May 1965 the Government of Paraguay, acting through its Ambassador in Chile, notified Professor Manuel Bianchi that it would be most pleased at his visit and that of the Executive Secretary; this was made known to the Commission at its Eleventh Session (Special). The Commission gave its assent to the permission given by the Paraguayan Government, and the visit took place in mid-August of 1965.

46. During the second meeting, the Chairman submitted for the consideration of the Commission the report on his visit to Paraguay, accompanied by the Executive Secretary (Doc. 5-XIII).

This document, which is confidential, gives the background of the visit and reports on the interviews held with the President of the Republic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Justice. It contains an account of the denunciations received during the visit and, in Appendix A, presents the text of one of these denunciations. Appendix B contains a summary of the communications received in regard to violations of human rights in Paraguay, and of the information provided on these cases to the Commission by the Government of that country.

Prof. Manuel Bianchi concludes his report with a chapter entitled "Conclusions", followed by three recommendations to the Commission.

47. After an extensive discussion of this point, in which all members took part, it was agreed:

1. To authorize the Chairman to begin negotiations so that a Subcommittee may visit the Republic of Paraguay, and

2. To appoint a provisional Subcommittee composed of the Chairman, Prof. Manuel Bianchi, and Drs. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches and Daniel Hugo Martins, to carry out this visit.

Examination of the situation of human rights in other American countries

48. The Commission considered the situation of human rights in Cuba and Guatemala.

49. With respect to Cuba, the Commission, pursuant to a decision taken at its Fifth Session, had requested the Cuban Governments permission to enter the territory of that country. That request was not answered by the Cuban Government.

Subsequently, in 1962, a great number of communications continued to be received, denouncing the bad treatment of political prisoners and their relatives in Cuba, many of them making special mention of the treatment accorded to female prisoners.

In April 1963 the Commission, after requesting permission of the Government of the United States, went to Miami to receive the testimony of numerous Cubans who were former political prisoners. Hearings were granted an that occasion to more than 80 persons, who provided extensive information concerning the situation of political prisoners in Cuba.

On the basis of the information contained in the communications received and that gathered in Miami, the Commission prepared the document entitled: "Report on the situation of political prisoners and their relatives in Cuba" (OAS/Ser.L/V/II.7, Doc. 4). Recently, the Commission has continued to receive numerous communications denouncing violations of human rights in Cuba and requesting action by the Organization.

In view of the above, and considering the serious nature of some of these denunciations, the Commission agreed:

1. To again request permission of the Government of Cuba to visit that country in order to make an on-site inspection of the situation of human rights.

2. To issue a press release concerning the activities carried out by the Commission with respect to the situation of human rights in Cuba, making reference to the impossibility of the Commissions being able to visit that country without the permission of its Government, and to the decision taken at the present session.

50. The text of the cablegram sent to the Government of Cuba is as follows:

HIS EXCELLENCY

RAUL ROA

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

HABANA (CUBA)

ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1962, THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS SENT YOU A CABLE, REQUESTING PERMISSION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF CUBA TO HOLD PART OF ITS FIFTH SESSION IN THAT COUNTRY. AT ITS PRESENT SESSION, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE POWER GRANTED TO IT UNDER ARTICLE 11.C OF ITS STATUTES, THE COMMISSION HAS DECIDED TO REPEAT THIS REQUEST. THEREFORE, I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ASKING THE GOVERNMENT OF CUBA, THROUGH YOU, TO ALLOW THE COMMISSION TO GO TO CUBA TO STUDY THE SITUATION REGARDING HUMAN RIGHTS. ACCEPT, SIR, THE RENEWED ASSURANCES OF MY HIGHEST CONSIDERATION.

MANUEL BIANCHI

CHAIRMAN

This cable was not answered.

51. On numerous occasions the Commission has concerned itself with the situation of human rights in Guatemala.

During its Seventh Session, the Commission instructed the Secretariat to prepare a background document for that country. This document (Doc. 7-VIII), which is confidential, was distributed to the members of the Commission.

This document was considered by the Commission during its Eight Session, at which time it was resolved: a. to request information from the Government of Guatemala concerning the communications and complaints received; b. that in the event the accusations against that government were true, to ask it to adopt progressive measures in its domestic legislation in behalf of human rights, and appropriate measures to promote the faithful observance of those rights; and c. to instruct the Secretariat to revise the background document on Guatemala. These requests were made in a note dated August 11, 1964.

At its Ninth Session the Commission considered the revised document prepared by the Secretariat (Doc. 3-X) and resolved to repeat its note of August 1964.

52. After analyzing the case of Guatemala in the light of recent communications received, the Commission resolved:

To repeat its requests to the Government of Guatemala for information, which were sent but were not answered;

2. To request permission of the Government of Guatemala to visit the country to examine the situation of human rights in its territory; and

3. To instruct the Secretariat to prepare a draft report on the situation of human rights in Guatemala.

VII. ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE GENERAL WORK PROGRAM

A. Situation of political refugees in the Americas. Draft Report prepared by the Secretariat

53. The Commission continued to deal with the subject of political refugees in the Americas, a matter which has been under consideration since the Seventh Session.

As early as that session, the Commission had instructed the Secretariat to prepare a preliminary study on this matter. The document (OAS/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 11) was studied by the Commission during its Eighth Session; after information had been requested from the governments of the American States, the Secretariat, utilizing data furnished by the United States and the Dominican Republic, added a Supplement to its preliminary report (OAS/Ser.L/V/II.10, Doc. 6).

54. During its Ninth Session, the Commission again discussed the problem of political refugees, and asked the Secretariat to prepare a new report, in order to have a study that would permit recommendations to be made to the governments.

This request was repeated at the Tenth Session, and the Secretariat, in accordance with the instructions received, prepared a draft report on political refugees in the Americas (Doc. 7-XI Rev.), which contains a final chapter of "Conclusions."

55. In summary, this chapter states that the main problems affecting political refugees in the Americas are the following:

a. The absence of domestic laws recognizing and clearly defining the status of the political refugees from the standpoint of his legal situation;

b. The nonexistence of an inter-American convention regulating the situation of political refugees, inasmuch as the provisions of the 1954 Convention on Territorial Asylum are inadequate;

c. The lack of an agency within the inter-American system enjoying recognized, appropriate powers to provide what has been called the "international protection" of the refugee;

d. The difficulties encountered in travel, caused by the problems faced by refugees in obtaining proper documents (passports or travel documents); and

e. Economic problems resulting in part from the handicaps faced by refugees in attempting to secure paid employment.

56. Prior to considering the draft report in question, the Commission, at its fifth meeting, heard Dr. Francisco Urrutia, representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Latin America, who was accompanied by two advisers from his office.

Dr. Urrutia made a comprehensive statement to the Commission, reporting to its members on the meeting of jurists held at Bellagio, Italy, in April 1965; this meeting was called to seek legal solutions to the refugee problem. He further stated that the Geneva Convention of 1951 refers only to refugees who had acquired that status as a result of events occurring prior to January 1, 1950; that some of the African and Asian

acting jurists at the Bellagio meeting objected to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice set forth in the Geneva Convention; and that others advocated the elimination of the existing geographical limitations for refugees.

57. The Representative informed the Commission that as a result of its deliberations, the meeting prepared a draft protocol to the Geneva Convention, embodying some of the proposals made at the meeting. He read an unofficial translation of this draft protocol.

He pointed out the advisability that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recommend that the American states ratify the Geneva Convention - which they had not done - and he then discussed the work being carried out in Latin America by the United Nations High Commission.

In view of the fact that the United Nations High Commission for by Refugees was to hold an important meeting in Geneva at the end of October, at which the draft protocol prepared at Bellagio would be one of the matters discussed, Dr. Urrutia suggested that the Commission send an accredited observer to that meeting. At several meetings the Commission discussed the matter of political refugees in the Americas and in connection with this topic studied a draft resolution submitted by Dr. Dunshee de Abranches, a draft report prepared by its Secretariat, and the suggestions made by the Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Latin America.

59. As a result of its deliberations, the Commission gave unanimous approval to the draft report prepared by the Secretariat and the following resolution was approved, with six votes in favor and one abstention:

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

RESOLVES:

1. To repeat the recommendation contained in its Resolution of March 26, 1965, concerning the issuance of travel documents to refugees, to the governments of those member states of the Organization which have not yet adopted this recommendation; in adopting it, it is recommended that the governments take into consideration the provisions of Article 28 Of the Convention on the Status of Refugees signed at Geneva in 1951, and of the Annex to the said Convention.

2. To request that the governments of the American states, through international or national Procedures, intensify the practice of granting territorial asylum in their respective countries.

3. To instruct the Executive Secretariat to study supplementary draft protocols or conventions on extending the Convention on the Status of Refugees, and on the situation of refugees in the Americas; and to submit to the Commission, at its next session, draft recommendations which the Commission could present to the governments of member states of the Organization.

The Commission appointed the Executive Secretary to attend, as an observer, the Geneva meeting of the Executive Council of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The Executive Secretary could not attend this meeting due to pending and urgent matters of the Commission.

B. Report to the Second Special Inter-American Conference

60. At its Tenth Session, the commission approved a report to be submitted to the Second Special Inter-American Conference (Doc. 5-XI, Rev.).

At its sixth meeting, the Chairman of the Commission pointed out the advisability of bringing this report up to date, to include the actions and agreements approved subsequent to the Tenth Session, especially the work accomplished by the Commission in the Dominican Republic during the present situation.

Dr. Gonzalo Escudero stated that he supported the idea that the new powers requested for the Commission in this report be increased in the same terms which was accepted by the other members of the Commission.

61. The Commission thereupon resolved to continue the report approved at its Tenth Session, adding a statement of its activities subsequent to that period, and further adding an appendix consisting of the document: Report on the activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Dominican Republic (Doc. 14-XIII Rev.).

62. During the discussion of this matter, the Chairman informed the Commission that during the visits made in August 1965 to the Foreign Offices of Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile, he had received a definite impression that these governments would look favorably upon the extension of the Commission's powers.

VIII. COMMUNICATION TO THE COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION

63. Following the practice of previous sessions, the Commission agreed to send a note to the Chairman of the Council of the Organization of American States, informing him of the actions taken during its Twelfth Session.

IX. DATE AND PLACE OF THE THIRTEENTH SESSION

64. During its fifth meeting, Dr. Gabino Fraga informed the Commission that he had been instructed by the Government of Mexico to extend its formal invitation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to hold a meeting in Mexico, at such time an it may consider appropriate.

At its tenth meeting, the Commission agreed to hold its Thirteenth Session at Mexico City, and to authorize the Chairman to fix a date therefor.

X. CLOSING OF THE SESSION

65. At the meeting held on October 15, 1965, the Chairman declared the Twelfth Session closed. He expressed his satisfaction at the work accomplished, and thanked the members of the Commission, the Executive Secretary and the staff of the Secretariat for their cooperation. Finally, he expressed the hope that the Second Special Inter-American Conference which would take place in Rio de Janeiro, in November 1965, would expand the powers of the Commission.

APPENDIX

DOCUMENTS OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (OEA/Ser.L/V)

Document Number Title

OEA/Ser.L/V/II.13 DOCUMENTS OF THE TWELFTH SESSION

Doc. 1 Documentos de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, registrados por la Secretaria hasta el 8 de noviembre de 1965

Doc. 2 Rev. Resumen de las comunicaciones recibidas por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos correspondientes al Duodécimo Periodo de Sesiones

Doc. 3 Misión a la Republica Dominicana (23 de agosto al 5 de septiembre de 1965) (Segundo Informe presentado a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos por su Miembro y Representante Prof. Carlos A. Dunshee de Abranches)

Doc. 4 Misión a la Republica Dominicana (11 el 20 de agosto de 1965) (Informe presentado a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos por su Miembro y Representante Prof. Durward V. Sandifer)

Doc. 5 Misión a la Republica del Paraguay (Informe del Presidente de la Comision Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre su visita a la Republica del Paraguay)

Doc. 6 Actuación de la Comision Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en la Republica Dominicana (Nota transmitida por el Gobierno Dominicano a la Comisión y Resolucion aprobada por la Comisión en la octava sesión celebrada el 14 de octubre de 1965)

Doc. 7 Informe sometido por a Subcomisión a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

Doc. 8 Mision a la Republica Dominicana (25 de julio al 5 de agosto de 1965) (Informe presentado a la Comisión Interarnericana de Derechos Humanos por su Miembro y Representante Lcda. Angela Acuna de Chacón)

Doc. 9 Labor de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en la Convulsionada Republica Dominicana (Por Angela Acuna de Chacon)

Doc. 10 Acta resumida de la Primera Sesión celebrada el 5 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 11 Acta resumida de la Segunda Sesión celebrada el 6 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 12 Acta resumida de la Tercera Sesión celebrada el 7 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 13 Protección Juridica de los Derechos Humanos en el Campo de los Hijos Nacidos Fuera de Matrimonio (Conferencia dictada en Santiago de Chile en la Sala "Letelier" de la Universidad de Santiago en octubre de 1963 per Angela Acuna de Chacón)

Doc. 14 Rev. Report on the Activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Dominican Republic (June 1 to August 31, 1965)

Doc. 15 Acta resumida de la Cuarta Sesión celebrada el 8 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 16 Acta resumida de la Quinta Sesión celebrada el 11 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 17 Texto del cablegrama enviado por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos al Gobierno de Cuba

Doc. 18 Texto de la Resolucion aprobada por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre Refugiados Politicos

Doc. 19 Acta resumida de la Sexta Sesión celebrada el 13 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 20 Rev. Acta resumida de la Séptima Sesión celebrada el 13 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 21 Acta resumida de la Octava Sesión celebrada el 14 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 22 Acta resumida de la Novena Sesión celebrada el 14 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 23 Acta resumida de la Décima Sesión celebrada el 15 de octubre de 1965

Doc. 24 Relación de las comunicaciones transmitidas al Gobierno de Guatemala y las respuestas de dicho Gobierno entre el Noveno y el Duodécimo Periodos de Sesiones

Doc. 25 Informe del Secretario Ejecutivo sobre las actividades de la Secretaria entre el Décimo y Duodecimo Periodos de Sesiones

Doc. 26 Report on the Work Accomplished During its Twelfth Session (October 4 to 15, 1965)


CHR/488