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

OEA/Se r. L/ V/II.9
Doc. 24 (English)
August 3, 1964

Original: Spanish


INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

REPORT ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED

DURING ITS EIGHTH SESSION

April 6 to 20, 1964


PAN AMERICAN UNION

General Secretariat, Organization of American States

Washington, D. C.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Organization of the Eighth Session 4

Opening Date and Length of Session 4

Members of the Commission and their Participation in the Session 5

Meetings and Documents 6

II. Agenda 8

III. Report prepared by the Secretariat on the Work Accomplished by the Commission during its Seventh Session 9

IV. Report of the Executive Secretary on the Activities of the Secretariat between the Seventh and Eighth Sessions of the Commission 10

Violations of Human Rights American Countries 11

Report of the Subcommittee 11

The Case of Cuba 12

The Case of Haiti 12

The Case of Paraguay 13

Study of the Situation Regarding Human Rights in Other Countries 13

Authorization granted by the Government of Honduras for the Commission to visit the territory of that country 16

VI. Activities Related to the General Work Program 17

Situation of political refugees in America. Draft report prepared by the secretariat 17

General application of the "State of Siege." Draft report prepared by Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins 22

Study of the Most Effective Measures for the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in the American States 23

Comparative Study of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Corresponding texts of the Constitutions of the American States 23

Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage in the Americas (Part II) 24

Draft Inter-American Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information, and Investigation 24

VII. Requests by Non-governmental Organizations to Accredit Observers to the Sessions of the Commission 24

VIII. Report to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference 25

IX. National Committees on Human Rights and Fellowship Program 26

Communications to the Governments and to the Council of the Organization 26

XI. Date and Place of the Ninth Session 27

XII. Other Matters 27

Tribute to President John F. Kennedy 27

Closing of the Eighth Session 27

Appendix - Documents of the Eighth Session 28

INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

REPORT OF THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED DURING ITS EIGHTH SESSION

April 6 to 20, 1964

I. ORGANIZATION OF THE EIGHTH SESSION

A. Opening Date and Length of Session

1. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held its Eighth Session between April 6 and 20, 1964, at its permanent headquarters in the Pan American Union, Washington, D. C.

2. The subcommittee, established to consider communications or claims directed to the Commission and to make pertinent recommendations to it, met on April 2 and 3.

3. The opening meeting took piece at 10:00 a.m. on April 6, in the Columbus Room of the Pan American Union. Present at this meeting as guests of honor were the Secretary General of the Organization, Dr. Jose Antonio Mora; the Assistant Secretary General, Dr. William Sanders; and the Deputy Director of the Department of Legal Affairs of the Pan American Union, Dr. Manuel Canyes.

4. In declaring the Eighth Session open, the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Manuel Bianchi, first of all expressed his sorrow at the tragic death of President John F. Kennedy, whom he praised as a "pioneer in human rights," not only in his own country and in the Americas, but throughout the world. He pointed out that what this eminent statesman had done for the cause of human rights would go down in history as one of his most significant and important accomplishments. In this connection, the Chairman also said that, on behalf of the Commission, he had sent a cable of condolence to the U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk, and that the latter, in his cable of acknowledgment, had referred to the work done by President Kennedy in the field of human rights.

5. Secondly, the Chairman mentioned the appointment of Dr. Gonzalo Escudero, a member of the Commission, as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, pointing out that this brought a high honor not only to Dr. Escudero personally, whom he described as a "statesman of vast experience in diplomacy and civil affairs," but also to the Commission. wherein, Dr. Escudero had been playing an outstanding role.

6. Finally, since this was the last session to be held by the Commission elected in 1960, the Chairman gave a summary of the work it had accomplished since its establishment, with special reference to the way in which the Commission had organized itself, had adopted its Regulations, and complied with its mandate to promote respect for human rights in the American countries. In this connection, the Chairman said that the Commission sincerely felt that it had fulfilled the aims that inspired its establishment, adding that this would not have been possible had it not been for the decisive help of Drs. José A. Mora and William Sanders, the Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General of the Organization, whom he thanked on behalf of the Commission for their assistance. At the same time, the Chairman mentioned the "loyal, active, and efficient" way in which the Executive Secretary, Dr. Luis Reque, and the secretariat of the Commission had performed their duties.

7. The Secretary General of the Organization then said a few words, expressing his pleasure at the opening of the Eighth Session and his beat wishes for its success. Dr. Mora also congratulated the members for the work that they had done and for the prestige that the Commission had thereby won among the peoples of the Americas, who he felt were now ready for the establishment of an agency for the effective protection of human rights. In addition, the Secretary General of the OAS praised the general work program for the Eighth Session, because it embodied the two principal fields of action of the Commission: that of practical action to protect human rights, and academic activity to promote them. Finally, Dr. Mora repeated that the General Secretariat would continue to support and cooperate in the work of the Commission.

8. Dr. Durward V. Sandifer, as the U.S. member of the Commission, expressed his appreciation for the Chairmans remarks regarding President Kennedy and his work on behalf of human rights, adding that, just as President Kennedy had given his government a precise concept of human rights within his own country, he had also created the Alliance for Progress, which was something very new within the foreign policy of the United States.

B. Members of the Commission and their Participation in the Session

9. The Commission is composed of the following persons:

Name Country of Origin

Mrs. Angela Acuña de Chacon Costa Rica

Prof. Manuel Bianchi Gundian Chile

Dr. Gonzalo Escudero Ecuador

Dr. Gabino Fraga Mexico

Dr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl El Salvador

Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins Uruguay

Dr. Durward V. Sandifer United States

All of the members attended the Eighth Session.

C. Meetings and Documents

10. During this Eighth Session, the Commission held ten meetings.

11. The secretariat prepared the summary minutes of these meetings, which are restricted to the exclusive use of the members.

12. In accordance with Article 34 of the Regulations, the secretariat prepared a list of the communications or claims received prior to this session, as well as those received while it was in progress, and summarized the contents of each. The list was prepared in chronological order and by countries referred to (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 2 of March 30, 1964, Rev.).

13. In compliance with the decision of the Commission at its Seventh Session, the secretariat prepared background documents on the situation of human rights in Ecuador, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, which gave the Commission a basis on which to study the matters in question. (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 5 of March 23, 1964; Doc 7 of April 1, 1964; and Doc.6 of April 1, 1964, respectively).

14. Also, in accordance with the instructions given to it at the Seventh Session to prepare a preliminary study on the situation of political refugees in the Americas, the secretariat drafted a document entitled "Preliminary Study on Political Refugees in America" (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 11 of April 13, 1964).

15. In addition, the secretariat prepared the following documents: "Proyecto de Informe sometido por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos a la Undécima Conferencia Interamericana" [Draft Report Submitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference, (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 18, of April 16, 1964)]; "Report of the Secretariat on the Status of Non-governmental Organizations and their Accreditation as Observers to the Sessions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights" (OEA/Ser.L/V/ II.9, Doc. 3 of March 17, 1964); "Human Rights and Representative Democracy," which, in accordance with the decision of the Commission at the Seventh Session, will be published as a document of general information to increase awareness of human rights in the American countries.

16. The Commission was provided with the technical and administrative services of the following staff members of its secretariat: Dr. Luis Reque, Executive Secretary, and Drs. Isidoro Zanotti, Ronald Scheman, Guillermo Cabrera, and Alvaro Gomez.

17. The Commission issued press releases through the Press Division of the Pan American Union, in order to acquaint the public with its activities.

II. AGENDA

18. At its first meeting, held on April 6, the Commission adopted the following agenda for the Eighth Session:

1. Report prepared by the secretariat on the work accomplished by the Commission during its Seventh Session.

2. Report of the Executive Secretary on the activities of the secretariat between the Seventh and Eighth Sessions.

3. Violations of human rights in American countries:

a) Report of the subcommittee regarding the communications or claims received

b) The case of Cuba

c) The case of Haiti

d) The case of Paraguay

e) Study of the situation regarding human rights in other American countries: Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Background documents prepared by the secretariat

f) Authorization to the Commission by the Government of Honduras to visit the territory of that country

4. General work program:

a) Situation of political refugees in America. Draft report prepared by the secretariat.

b) General application of the "State of Siege." Draft report prepared by Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins.

Study of the most effective measures for the judicial protection of human rights in the American states, prepared by Dr. Gabino Fraga, Vice Chairman of the Commission.

Comparative study of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the corresponding texts from the constitutions of the American states, prepared by Dr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl.

e) Human rights and the right of suffrage in America, Part II, prepared by Professor Manuel Bianchi, Chairman of the Commission.

5. Request of non-governmental organizations to accredit observers to the sessions of the Commission. Report of the secretariat.

6. Report to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference. Draft prepared by the secretariat.

7. National committees on human rights and the fellowship program.

8. Communications to the governments and to the Council of the Organization of American States.

9. Date and place of the Ninth Session.

10. Other matters.

III. REPORT PREPARED BY THE SECRETARIAT ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED BY THE COMMISSION DURING ITS SEVENTH SESSION

19. At the first meeting, held on April 6, the Executive Secretary presented a report on the work accomplished by the Commission during its Seventh Session (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.8, Doc. 35 of February 5, 1964).

20. This document contains a summary of the work done during the Seventh Session, held in Santiago, Chile, between October 7 and 25, 1963, and a report of the activities of the Commission in connection with the violation of human rights in the American countries, especially in Paraguay, Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. The report on the situation regarding human rights in this last country was approved at the Seventh Session. The report on that session also refers to the study made of the situation concerning human rights in Ecuador, Guatemala, and Honduras, in accordance with the communications or claims received by the Commission on alleged violations of such rights in those countries. Also included is the text of the cable from the Government of Honduras authorizing the Commission to assign responsible representatives to prove that the accusations presented were unfounded.

21. The report in question contains an account of the decisions taken by the Commission with respect to the situation of political refugees in the Americas, in accordance with a note sent by the Secretary General of the Organization on September 26, 1963, requesting the Commission to study the matter presented by the committee of Cuban refugees, with headquarters in Madrid, and at the same time, to consider making a full study of the problem of political refugees in the Americas, in order to submit recommendations on the subject to the American governments. With respect to the general work program, the report outlines the work undertaken by the Commission in connection with the "Draft Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information, and Investigation," presented by Dr. Gonzalo Escudero (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.8, Doc. 15, October 18, 1963); Part II of the report "The Right of Suffrage in America; Part II of the report "The Relationship Between the Respect for Human Rights and the Effective Exercise of Representative Democracy"; and "the Draft Report on the General Application of the State of Siege."

22. The third part of the report mentions the series of lectures given by members of the Commission. These lectures were sponsored by the University of Chile and formed part of the academic activities developed by the Commission during its stay in that country, for the purpose of fostering respect for human rights and interest in the agreements reached by the Commission on the fellowship program and national committees on human rights.

IV. REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ON THE ACTIVITIES

OF THE SECRETARIAT BETWEEN THE SEVENTH AND

EIGHTH SESSIONS OF THE COMMISSION

23. At the first meeting, the Commission considered the report of the Executive Secretary on the activities of the secretariat between the Seventh and Eighth Sessions (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 25 of May 22, 1964).

24. This document contains a report of the work done by the secretariat in compliance with the decisions taken by the Commission during its Seventh Session, as follows: processing of communications or claims received between the Seventh and Eighth Sessions, in accordance with the procedure established in the regulations of the Commission, as well as requests for information on violations of human rights sent to various American governments in accordance with Article 36 of those regulations; preparation of background documents on the situation regarding human rights in Ecuador, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, based on communications or claims received by the Commission on violations of human rights in those countries; in accordance with the decision of the Commission, submission of the Draft Inter-American Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information, and Investigation to the Council of the Organization, with the request that it be included in the topic "Human Rights" of the agenda of the Eleventh Inter-American Conference; request to the American government, through the General Secretariat of the Organization, to furnish pertinent information on electoral legislation and the right of suffrage, to enable the Commission to continue the study of this important matter; preparation of the draft report on the situation of political refugees in the Americas; preparation of the document concerning requests of non-governmental organizations to accredit observers to the sessions of the Commission; and finally, information pertaining to the fellowship program and a general analysis of the work done by the Commission on the situation of human rights in the American countries and within the scope of its general work program.

25. The report in question was approved without change, and the Commission expressed its satisfaction with the way in which the secretariat had carried out the tasks entrusted to it.

V. VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN AMERICAN COUNTRIES

A. Report of the Subcommittee

26. The subcommittee is composed of three members of the Commission, namely: Chairman: Professor Manuel Bianchi

Members: Dr. Goftzalo Escudero

Dr. Durward Sandifer

27. In accordance with provisions of the regulations, the subcommittee met one week prior to the opening of the session to make a preliminary study of the communications or claims addressed to the Commission and to prepare a draft agenda for the Eighth Session.

28. After concluding its work, the subcommittee prepared a report (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 8, April 6, 1964), which was submitted to the Commission for consideration.

29. At its first meeting, the Commission considered the report of the subcommittee and agreed to approve it in principle, pending presentation of observations by the members at the next meeting.

30. The Commission again considered the report of the subcommittee at its second meeting, held on April 7, and since no observations were made on the document, it approved it and instructed the secretariat to handle the communications or claims contained therein in the manner recommended by the subcommittee.

31. At the tenth meeting, held on April 16, the Commission considered the Addendum to Document 2 concerning the communications or claims received after the opening of the Eighth Session. The Commission took a number of decisions with regard to these and instructed the secretariat to handle them according to those decisions. (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 2, March 30, 1964, Rev.).

B. The Case of Cuba

32. During the Eighth Session, the Commission continued its consideration of the situation regarding human rights in Cuba.

33. At the second meeting, held on April 7, the Executive Secretary informed the Commission that, in accordance with the decisions of the Seventh Session (Doc. 35-VII), the secretariat was preparing a draft of an additional report on the situation regarding human rights in Cuba, using as a basis the communications or claims received on repeated violations of human rights in that country, and taking special account of two new aspects contained in the aforementioned claims, namely: the establishment in Cuba of ambulatory courts and the revision of sentences imposed on political prisoners to make their punishment more severe.

34. The Commission decided to leave the case of Cuba pending until the next session, when the secretariat will present the aforementioned draft of an additional report. At the same time, the Commission decided to transmit to the Government of Cuba the pertinent parts of the many claims concerning serious violations of human rights in that country and to request the corresponding reports thereon, in accordance with the procedure established in the regulations.

The Case of Haiti

35. During its second meeting, held on April 7, the Commission considered the situation of human rights in Haiti.

36. At its Seventh Session, the Commission had approved a report on the situation relating to human rights in Haiti (Doc. 5-VII). The Executive Secretary reported that this document had been translated into the official languages of the OAS and made known to the American governments through the Council of the Organization.

37. The Commission agreed to continue to study the situation regarding human rights in Haiti at the next session, taking into consideration for that purpose the new material compiled by the secretariat

D. The Case of Paraguay

38. Upon studying the situation pertaining to human rights in Paraguay at its Seventh Session, the Commission decided: (a) To continue to study this situation at its Eighth Session; (b) Not to request permission from the Paraguayan Government to visit the territory of that country during the Seventh Session; (c) To authorize the Chairman and the Executive Secretary to obtain such information as they deemed necessary, in order that the Commission might continue to study this matter at its next session.

39. In accordance with this decision, the Commission studied the situation of human rights in Paraguay during its second meeting, held on April 7. On that occasion, the Chairman of the Commission reported that the necessary steps were being taken to obtain the consent of the Paraguayan Government for the Commission to visit that country in the near future. For his part, the Executive Secretary reported that the secretariat was preparing the background document requested by the Commission at its meeting in Santiago, Chile.

40. In accordance with the information furnished by the Chairman and the Executive Secretary, the Commission decided to ask the secretariat to submit to the next session the background document requested at the Seventh Session; it also requested the Chairman and the Executive Secretary to continue to compile pertinent information, so that the Commission might study the possibility of requesting the Paraguayan Governments consent at the next session.

E. Study of the Situation Regarding Human Rights in Other Countries

1. Ecuador

41. During its third and fifth meetings, held on April 8 and 13 respectively, the Commission considered the situation regarding human rights in Ecuador.

42. At its third meeting, the Commission considered the background document on the situation regarding human rights in Ecuador (Doc. 5-VIII) prepared by the secretariat of the Commission. This document contains a summary of political events in that country since July 1963; a study of the Constitution of 1946 and the human rights established therein; the legislation decreed by the Junta of Government on the subject of human rights; the facts concerning human rights in that country, according to communications received by the Commission; and the statements made at the Seventh Session by Dr. Gonzalo Escudero, member of the Commission, with respect to the situation of human rights in that country.

43. At the fifth meeting, the Commission took cognizance of the note from the Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, dated April 1, 1964, in reply to the request made by the Commission on October 24, 1963, for information on the alleged violations of human rights in that country. In that note, the Acting Secretary General quoted the text of confidential memo No. 233-AJ of March 31, 1964, from the Ecuadorian Minister of Government. In this memo, in addition to furnishing the information requested by the Commission, the Minister of Government, on behalf of the Government of Ecuador, invited the Commission to select one or more delegates to ascertain the truth of the facts as stated and to confirm Ecuador's respect for all human rights.

44. At the same meeting, Dr. Gonzalo Escudero reiterated the statements made by the Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the aforementioned note, with respect to the situation regarding human rights in Ecuador, declaring that respect for these rights did exist in his country and that the persons under arrest were being tried or crimes of sedition, in accordance with the procedural laws in effect in Ecuador. At the same time, Dr. Escudero said that he was authorized to report that the Minister of Government of Ecuador, who was then in Washington, had offered to appear before the Commission to clarify any matters it might deem advisable in connection with the information supplied by his government, and, in general, with the situation of human rights in Ecuador. Dr. Escudero also reported to the Commission on the content of a communication from Ecuador requesting the Commissions help in behalf of a group of students who had been arrested. He explained that the arrests were motivated by the students connection with a recently discovered conspiracy against the security of the state and the members of the Junta of Government of Ecuador, adding that, notwithstanding, his government was considering the possibility of releasing these prisoners.

45. With respect to the situation of human rights in Ecuador, the Commission decided: to address a note to the Ecuadorian Government expressing thanks for its information on the alleged violations of human rights in that country; not to consider necessary the additional information offered by the Minister of Government of Ecuador, in as much as the Commission had already heard Dr. Escudero; to request more complete information from that government in respect to some specific accusations received by the Commission; to transmit to the Ecuadorian Government the pertinent parts of a cable on the situation of the arrested students, requesting that it furnish the corresponding information; and to thank the aforementioned government for inviting the Commission to Select a delegate or delegates to visit Ecuador, replying that at some opportune later time, the Commission would considered the possibility of visiting that country.

2. Guatemala

46. At its Seventh Session, the Commission entrusted its secretariat with the preparation of a background document on the situation of human rights in Guatemala. Since many communications or complaints had been received on violations of human rights in that country, the Commission recommended that the secretariat prepare the document on the basis of those communications, as well as information furnished by the government and any other data that it deemed relevant. In accordance with this instruction, the secretariat prepared a confidential document for the exclusive use of the members of the Commission, entitled "Antecedentes sobre la situacion de los derechos humanos en la Republica de Guatemala" (Doc. 7-VIII, April 1, 1964), (Background information on the situation regarding human rights in Guatemala). This document contains a summary of political events in Guatemala since March 1963 and an account of acts presumably in violation of human rights, according to information received by the Commission.

47. The Commission considered this document at its third meeting and also studied the communications or claims that it had received on violations of human rights in Guatemala. At that meeting, the Commission took the following decisions: (a) To transmit to the Government of Guatemala the pertinent parts of the communications or claims received on specific violations of human rights, requesting that it furnish the corresponding information; (b) To send a communication to the Government of Guatemala, acquainting it with the most urgent claims received and asking it to furnish the pertinent information. In the event that the accusations made were true, the government was asked to adopt progressive measures within its domestic legislation, in behalf of human rights, and appropriate its secretariat to revise the background document, taking into account the latest provisions decreed by the Guatemalan Government and the information received by the Commission, and to submit this to the next session of the Commission, when it will continue to study the situation of human rights in Guatemala.

3. Nicaragua

48. During the course of its second meeting, the Commission went on to examine the situation regarding human rights in Nicaragua, as it had agreed at its Seventh Session. At that meeting, the Executive Secretary reported that only one communication denouncing alleged violations of human rights had been received with reference to that country; that on February 18, 1964, the Commission had requested information from the Government of Nicaragua on that denunciation; and that in a note dated March 10, the aforementioned government had furnished full information on the matter.

49. After carefully studying both the denunciation in question and the information furnished by the Nicaraguan Government, the Commission concluded that there was not sufficient reason for it to continue its study of human rights in that country during the Eighth Session.

4. The Dominican Republic

50. At the third meeting, held on April 8, the Commission studied the situation of human rights in the Dominican Republic and took cognizance of the background document prepared by the Secretariat (Doc. 6-VIII) in accordance with the request made of it at the Seventh Session. At the same time, the Commission considered the notes of the Dominican Government of December 18, 1963, and February 26, 1964, in which it furnished information requested by the Commission on presumed violations of human rights in that country. The Commission observed that the Dominican Government had not replied to all the requests for information made by the Commission.

51. The Commission decided to ask the Dominican Government again to send the information requested of it and instructed its secretariat to bring the background document submitted to this session up to date, so that, in the event that this should be considered necessary, it might serve as a basis on which to draw up a report on the situation of human rights in the Dominican Republic

. F. Authorization granted by the Government of Honduras for the Commission to visit the territory of that country

52. During its Seventh Session, the Commission asked the Government of Honduras for information on accusations that had been addressed to it concerning violations of human rights in that country. In reply to this request, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Honduras, Mr. Jorge Fidel Duron, sent a cable to the Commission on November 4, 1963, authorizing it to select responsible representatives to confirm the falseness of the accusations.

In his cabled reply of November 8, 1963, the Chairman of the Commission thanked the Honduran Government for the authorization granted to it to visit that country, but explained that it was impossible for the Commission or its representatives to go to Honduras at that time, inasmuch as the organization had ended its session on October 25, 1963

53. At its second meeting, held on April 7, 1963, the Commission took cognizance of the invitation extended by the Government of Honduras and the reply made to it by the Chairman of the Commission.

The Commission decided to thank the Government of Honduras for the aforementioned invitation, stating, also, that at some opportune time in the future it would consider the possibility of visiting that country. At the same meeting, the Commission studied the communications that it had received regarding violations of human rights in Honduras and agreed to transcribe and send pertinent parts of them to the Government of Honduras and ask it to furnish information thereon.

VI. ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE GENERAL WORK PROGRAM

A. Situation of political refugees in America. Draft report prepared by the secretariat

54. At its Seventh Session, the Commission began a study of the situation of political refugees in the Americas and instructed its secretariat to prepare a preliminary study on this matter, in order that the Commission might continue to study at the Eighth Session.

55. In accordance with these instructions, the secretariat prepared a document entitled "Preliminary Study on Political Refugees in America" (Doc. 11-VIII). This document contains a report on the activities undertaken in connection with the problem of political refugees by the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States. It puts special emphasis on the problem of political refugees in the Americas, pointing out that although the Organization of American States has kept itself informed on the matter and has given careful attention to certain aspects of it, particularly to the question of acquiring refugee status, it has not yet given consideration to the situation of refugees after they have been granted asylum and to the humanitarian problems that arise from the displacement of populations and from the economic and material situations that generally result from the growing refugee problem. The aforementioned study also makes reference to laws passed by some countries concerning refugees and contains information and statistics obtained by the Commission on this problem.

56. The Commission devoted itself to a study of this matter at its seventh, eighth and ninth meetings, held on April 15, 16, and 17, respectively.

At its seventh meeting, the Commission received a visit from a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Anne Petluck. In her statement on the refugee problem and the work being done by the office of the High Commissioner, Mrs. Petluck referred particularly to the need for the countries to issue a travel document to refugees, as was contemplated in the 1951 Convention on Refugees. She said that only four American countries were parties to that convention: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador, although Uruguay, Chile, and Peru had indicated that they were interested in ratifying the convention and that only Ecuador, one of the parties to the convention, was issuing the corresponding travel document for refugees. Mrs. Petluck also pointed out that in the aforementioned convention a refugee was defined as anyone who had been obliged to leave his country because of political, religious, or other form of persecution. She added that the duties of the High Commissioner were to cooperate with the governments in the matter of aid to refugees, but that this office did not directly meet requests for aid from the refugees themselves. In answer to questions put to her by members of the Commission, Mrs. Petluck made special mention of the cooperation that should exist between the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner; she also said it was important that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recommend to the member states of the OAS that they issue a travel document to refugees located in their territories. Finally, she furnished some information regarding the financial assistance given by the High Commissioners office to refugees in general, and in particular, to Latin American political refugees.

57. At the same meeting, the Commission began its consideration of this problem. It was stated that the document prepared by the secretariat revealed that the United Nations already had an office responsible for aiding political refugees, although the emphasis was chiefly on helping European refugees. It was therefore felt that the Commission should study the problem of political refugees in the Americas, since, according to the representative of the High Commissioner's office, that U.N. agency gives only a small amount of help to this group. It was also pointed out that the information contained in the document of the Secretariat would not be sufficient to enable the Commission to make a report on the situation of political refugees in the Americas at this time, but that the Commission should nevertheless make certain recommendations to the member states, through the Council of the Organization. It was also mentioned that the document prepared by the secretariat should be transmitted to the American countries for purposes of information, and that the secretariat should remain responsible for expanding the material contained in the document. In accordance with these opinions, the Commission decided on the following: (1) To send a note to the Secretary General of the Organization, referring to the specific case of the Cuban refugees in Spain and to the general study of the situation of political refugees in the Americas; (2) In connection with the general problem, to make some recommendations to the member states of the Organization; (3) To instruct the secretariat to expand the document submitted at this session, especially with reference to the number of refugees in the Americas and to existing problems in connection with these refugees; and (4) To consider this matter again at the Ninth Session, with a view to drafting a report to be submitted to the governments of the member states for study and consideration.

58. At its eighth meeting, held on April 16, the Commission continued to study this matter and agreed to recommend to the governments, among other things, that they study the possibility of issuing a travel document to Latin American political refugees in their territories who lacked passports. It was decided to include this recommendation in the note to be sent to the Secretary General of the Organization.

59. At its ninth meeting, the Commission considered a draft note prepared by the secretariat

and approved its text which reads as follows:

April 21, 1964

My dear Mr. Secretary General:

In relation to your letter of September 26, 1963, addressed to this Commission, in which reference is made, in particular, to the problem presented by the Committee of Cuban Refugees in Spain and, in general, to the situation of political refugees in America, I am pleased to present the following information to you.

The Commission began its consideration of the subject contained in the above-mentioned letter during its Seventh Session, held in Santiago, Chile in October 1963, and agreed, (1) to address the Intergovernmental Committee on European Migration, located in Geneva, to express the desire of the Commission that the problem raised by the Committee of Cuban Refugees in Madrid would be favorably resolved and (2) to recommend to its secretariat the preparation of a preliminary study concerning the situation of political refugees in America so that the Commission could undertake a more thorough study of this problem in its Eighth Session.

Regarding the first point, a letter was sent on October 26, 1963 to Mr. B.W. Haveman, Director of the Intergovernmental Committee on European Migration, expressing the hope of the Commission that a just solution would be found for the problem presented by the Cuban refugees residing in Spain and pointing out, at the same time, that these refugees had left their country in conditions of extreme poverty.

In a letter of November 7 last, Mr. McFadden, on behalf of Mr. Haveman, informed me that the Intergovernmental Committee on European Migration was undertaking the steps necessary to resolve the problem of the abovementioned refugees. At the same time, he informed me that the Committee had begun consultations with various governments that were disposed to accept the Cuban refugees residing in Spain for permanent resettlement.

Regarding the second point, the study of the situation of political refugees in America, the secretariat of the Commission prepared a preliminary study on the subject which was considered by the Commission during its Eighth Session. From the examination of this preliminary study, the Commission has arrived at the following conclusions:

1. Inasmuch as the number of Latin American political refugees has considerably increased in recent years, the problems occasioned by this situation urgently require attention.

2. The lack of statistics regarding political refugees and the lack of sufficient information concerning the economic and social problems occasioned by the presence of these refugees in several American countries prevents the Commission from suggesting concrete measures for the alleviation of the situation.

His Excellency

José A. Mora

Secretary General of the

Organization of American States

Washington 6, D. C.

3. One of the most serious proems that confronts these refugees is the need for a travel document; since they cannot obtain such a document from their country of origin they are prevented, in general, from leaving the country of first asylum.

4. While the Organization of American States has paid careful attention to several aspects relating to refugees, especially regarding territorial asylum and the nationality and condition of stateless persons, it appears that no organ or entity of the Inter-American system has undertaken studies or work regarding the precise situation of the refugees after they had obtained asylum.

In view of the foregoing conclusions, the Commission wishes to take the liberty to request that you have the kindness to present to the governments of the member states, for their consideration the following recommendations which it has formulated in accordance with Article 9.b of its Statute:

1. That the governments of the member states of the Organization transmit to the General Secretariat information regarding the number of political refugees presently located within their territory and concerning the existing problems in relation to such refugees.

2. That the governments of the member states of the Organization consider the possibility of issuing a travel document to Latin American political refugees located within their territory who lack passports.

At the same time, the Commission wishes to take the liberty to request that you be so kind as to request the Inter-American Juridical Committee to proceed with the systematic study on the nationality and condition of stateless persons which was entrusted to it by the Inter-American Council of Jurists at its Second Meeting, held in Buenos Aires in 1953.

Finally, I am pleased to inform the Secretary General that the Commission has agreed to continue examining this subject in its forthcoming session and, to that effect, has entrusted its secretariat with the preparation of a supplement to the abovementioned preliminary study. The Commission considers that in order to accomplish a careful study of this important subject, it should have a background document which contains all of the information regarding the problem of Latin American political refugees. Accordingly, the Commission trusts that the necessary means to prepare the abovementioned document will be made available to the secretariat.

It gives me pleasure to enclose a copy of the preliminary study prepared by the Commission.

Sincerely yours,

(s) Manuel Bianchi Chairman Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

General application of the "State of Siege." Draft prepared by Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins

60. At its Seventh Session, the Commission considered the document on the history and general application of the "State of Siege", and appointed Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins as rapporteur for this topic, so that, on the basis of that document prepared by the secretariat, he might make a more extensive study, to be considered by the Commission during its Eighth Session.

61. At the sixth meeting, held an April 14, the Commission considered the report prepared by Dr. Martins entitled "La Proteccion de los Derechos Humanos frente a la Suspension de Garantias o Estado de Sitio" [Protection of Human Rights in face of the Suspension of Guaranties or State of Siege (OEA/Ser.L/V/ II.9, Doc. 14, April 13, 1964)].

62. As the rapporteur points out in his study of the topic, the aims proposed in this program are the following: (1) to study the structure and application of the state of siege, in order to determine up to what point and in what manner its practice is a violation of human rights; (2) to study whether it is possible to establish common principles for all the countries, so that they may be incorporated into the domestic law of each; and (3) to determine whether the legality of the practices followed during the state of siege might be supervised by international organizations. Regarding the first aim, the rapporteur felt that the "Preliminary Study of the State of Siege and the Protection of Human Rights in the Americas" (Doc. 6-VII) prepared by the secretariat of the Commission was sufficiently explanatory, being as it was a serious and well documented research work. Consequently, the rapporteur limited his own study to the two following matters: codifying and defining principles that might be observed throughout the hemisphere and determining whether methods of applying the state of siege could be controlled by international organizations.

In his report, the author tries to determine what guaranties there are for the exercise of individual rights; what is the effect of their suspension, and what is the nature of each of the institutions that determine this suspension (Chapter II). He then lists general principles that in his judgment, should govern the legislators of each of the American states in regulating the suspension of guaranties (Chapter III). In Chapter IV, the author mentions the formulas established in the Convention of Rome, the Draft Convention on Human Rights of Santiago, Chile, and the Draft Pact on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations, and then offers criticisms and suggests changes to serve as a basis for later work. Chapter V contains questionnaires and comparative tables.

63. The Commission congratulated Dr. Martins on the document and agreed to give the members two months to make their observations on it in order that the rapporteur may prepare a final report to be submitted to the Ninth Session.

C. Study of the Most Effective Measures for the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in the American States

64. At its First Session (October 3 to 28, 1960), the Commission decided to make, within its general work program, a study of the most effective measures for the judicial protection of human rights in the American states, and it appointed Dr. Gabino Fraga as rapporteur for this subject.

65. In compliance with the instructions given to it during the first session, to compile background material on each of the topics of the general work program, the secretariat of the Commission prepared the document entitled "Legislation of the American States on the Judicial Protection of Human Rights."

66. In the course of the sixth meeting, held on April 14, 1964, the Commission considered the document entitled "Proteccion Jurisdiccional de los Derechos Humanos en los Estados Americanos" [Judicial Protection of Human Rights in the American States, (Doc. 13, April 13, 1964)], prepared by Dr. Gabino Fraga.

In the introduction to this document, the rapporteur says that his purpose is to study and make a critical judgment of the various methods of judicial protection, in order that advantage may be taken of the contributions of each country in this field and that the respective institutions may be gradually improved. The report is limited to the examination of the institutions of amparo, habeas corpus and Writ of Security, and, in its last chapter, gives an account of the legislation in force in this field in the American countries. The rapporteur for the topic, Dr. Fraga, said that he considered this study only a preliminary attempt, which would have to be completed with a more detailed and profound study of the legal institutions existing in the various American countries.

67. The Commission congratulated Dr. Fraga on his excellent work and decided to examine the revised text of the document at its next session. The members were given a month in which to submit observations and comments on this preliminary study.

D. Comparative Study of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Corresponding Texts of the Constitutions of the American States

68. Since the rapporteur of this topic, Dr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, was unable to present his paper during the Eighth Session, the Commission agreed to postpone consideration of this important part of its general work program until a future session.

E. Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage in the Americas (Part II)

69. During the Seventh Session, the Commission asked the Secretary General of the Organization to transmit to the governments of the member states the report entitled "Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage in America," prepared by Professor Manuel Bianchi, with the request that they send the Commission their laws on the subject and other pertinent material, in order that it might continue to consider this important matter. In accordance with that decision, the General Secretariat addressed the governments of the member states on December 2, 1963. The Governments of Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, and El Salvador sent the pertinent material to the General Secretariat.

The rapporteur for this topic, Professor Manuel Bianchi, said that he would use the material sent in for preparing the second part of the report and would submit it to the Commission for consideration at its next session.

Draft Inter-American Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information, and Investigation

70. In compliance with the decision adopted by the Commission at its Seventh Session, the aforementioned draft was submitted to the Council of the Organization on October 30, 1963, with the request that it be included in the topic "Human Rights" of the agenda of the Eleventh Inter-American Conference.

In view of the fact that the April 1 date set for the opening of that conference was canceled, the Commission, at its fourth meeting, held on April 9, decided to submit this draft to the governments for consideration, regardless of whether it was later considered at the Eleventh Conference, in order to obtain from them any observations and comments they might have. The Commission decided to study this draft at its next session in October, in the light of the observations and comments made by the governments, and to prepare a revised draft for consideration by the Eleventh Conference.

VII. REQUESTS BY NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS TO ACCREDIT

OBSERVERS TO THE SESSIONS OF THE COMMISSION

71. During its third and fifth meetings, held on April 8 and 13 respectively, the Commission considered the matter of requests by non-governmental organizations to accredit observers to the sessions of the Commission.

At the third meeting, the Commission took cognizance of the report prepared by the secretariat on this matter, in compliance with the instructions given to it during the Seventh Session (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 3, March 17, 1964).

72. At the fifth meeting, the Commission approved the following draft resolution, regarding the request of non-governmental organizations to accredit observers to the sessions of the Commission:

WHEREAS:

In its Resolution of October 24, 1960, the Commission requested the cooperation of non-governmental organizations that are interested in the promotion of human rights;

Numerous organizations have expressed their desire to cooperate in the work of the Commission and to accredit observers to its sessions; and

The sessions of the Commission are usually private due to the nature of its work.

THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

RESOLVES:

1. To state that there will be no special observer status at the sessions of the Commission.

2. To consider requests made by organizations interested in the promotion of respect for or the protection of human rights that wish to express their viewpoints on any matter related to the work of the Commission.

3. To invite qualified organizations or individuals of recognized knowledge and experience in the field of human rights to cooperate with the Commission in the exercise of its mandate to promote respect for human rights in the American states.

VIII. REPORT TO THE ELEVENTH INTER-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

73. During its ninth and tenth meetings, held on April 17 and 20, the Commission considered the document entitled: "Proyecto de Informe sometido por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos a la Undécima Conferencia Interamericana" [Draft Report submitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference], prepared by the secretariat (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 18, April 16, 1964).

74. The aforementioned document contains a report of the activities of the Commission since its establishment, with special reference to the activities of this body with respect to the situation regarding human rights in certain American countries, the general work program, the fellowship program, national committees on human rights, and decisions and conclusions reached by the Commission in complying with its mandate of promoting respect for human rights in the American countries.

75. In view of the fact that the members made several observations on the draft presented by the secretariat and that the date set for the Eleventh Inter-American Conference had been canceled, the Commission, at its tenth meeting, agreed to instruct its secretariat to prepare a revised draft, which would be considered by the Commission at its Ninth Session.

IX. NATIONAL COMMITTEES ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

76. The Commission considered these topics at its fourth meeting, held on April 9. With reference to national committees on human rights, the members reported on the action being taken in their countries to establish such committees. On its part, the secretariat reported on some requests that had been received from certain institutions engaged in promoting respect for human rights which wanted to establish relations of cooperation with the Commission, in accordance with the resolution adopted on October 24, 1960.

Regarding the fellowship program, it was decided to initiate this in January 1965, provided that the necessary funds included in the proposed budget of the Pan American Union for the fiscal year 1964-65 are approved.

X. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENTS AND TO THE

COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION

77. In accordance with the provisions of Article 36 of its Regulations, the Commission, at its second and eighth meetings, decided to address the governments of some of the American states to request information on alleged violations of human rights in those countries. It also decided to reiterate similar requests for information addressed at previous meetings to other governments, from which no reply had yet been received.

78. As it had done at previous sessions, the Commission, at its last meeting, held on April 20, decided to send a note to the Chairman of the Council of the Organization of American States, Ambassador Juan Bautista de Lavalle, acquainting him with the activities of the Commission during its Eighth Session.

XI. DATE AND PLACE OF THE NINTH SESSION

79. The Commission decided to hold its Ninth Session at its permanent headquarters at the Pan American Union, beginning on October 5, 1964. It also decided that the subcommittee should meet one week in advance, that is, on September 28.

XII. OTHER MATTERS

A. Tribute to President John F. Kennedy

80. As a tribute to the memory of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America and a renowned defender of human rights, the Commission on Friday, April 17, placed a wreath on the tomb of the eminent deceased.

B. Closing of the Eighth Session

81. At the tenth meeting, held on April 20, the Chairman of the Commission declared the Eighth Session closed. On that occasion, the Chairman, Professor Manuel Bianchi, said a few words to thank the members for their excellent contribution to the success of the work of the Commission since its establishment in 1960.

APPENDIX

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

Document Number Title

OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9 DOCUMENTS OF THE EIGHTH SESSION

Doc. 1 Documentos de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, registrados por la Secretaria hasta el 25 de mayo de 1964

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

Doc. 3 Report of the Secretariat on the Status of non-governmental organizations and their accreditation as observers to the sessions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Doc. 4 Libertad de Expresion, Informacion e Investigacion (conferencia pronunciada por el Dr. Gonzalo Escudero)

Doc. 5 Antecedentes sobre la situation de los derechos humanos en la Republica del Ecuador

Doc. 6 Antecedentes sobre la situacion de los derechos humanos en la Republica Dominicana

Doc. 7 Antecedentes sobre la situacion de los derechos humanos en Guatemala

Doc. 8 Informe sometido por la Subcomisión a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

Doc. 9 Acta resumida de la primera sesión celebrada el 6 de abril de 1964

Doc. 10 Acta resumida de la segunda sesion celebrada el 7 de abril de 1964

Doc. 11 Estudio preliminar sobre refugiados politicos en América

Doc. 12 Acta resumida de la tercera sesión celebrada el 8 de abril de 1964

Doc. l3 Proteccion jurisdiccional de los derechos humanos en los Estados Americanos (Informe preparado por el Dr. Gabino Fraga, Vicepresidente de la Comisión)

Doc. 14 La proteccién de los derechos humanos frente a la suspension de garantias o estado de sitio (Informe preparado por el Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins)

Doc. 15 Acta resumida de la cuarta sesión celebrada el 9 de abril de 1964

Doc. 16 Acta resumida de la quinta sesión celebrada el 13 de abril de 1964

Doc. 17 The relationship between human rights and representative democracy. Statement presenting the Second Report to the Seventh Session (Report prepared by Dr. Durward V. Sandifer)

Doc. 18 Proyecto de Informe sometido por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos a la Undécima Conferencia Interamericana

Doc. 19 Acta resumida de la sexta sesión celebrada el 14 de abril de 1964

Doc. 20 Acta resumida de la séptima sesion celebrada el 15 de abril de 1964

Doc. 21 Acta resumida de la octava sesión celebrada el 16 de abril de 1964

Doc. 22 Acta resumida de la novena sesión celebrada el 17 de abril de 1964

Doc. 23 Acta resumida de la décima sesión celebrada el 20 de abril de 1964

Doc. 24 Informe sobre la labor desarrollada durante el Octavo Periodo de Sesiones

Doc. 25 Informe del Secretario Ejecutivo sobre la labor realizada por la Secretaria entre el Séptimo y el Octavo Periodos de Sesiones