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

OEA/Ser.L/V/II.10
Doc.21 (English)
February 19, 1965

Original: Spanish




INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

REPORT ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED

DURING ITS NINTH SESSION

October 5 to 16, 1964


PAN AMERICAN UNION

General Secretariat, Organization of American States

Washington, D. C.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ORGANIZATION OF THE NINTH SESSION 1

Opening Date and Length of Session 1

Election of Officers 2

Members of the Commission and their Participation in the Session 3

Meetings and Documents 3

II. AGENDA 4

III. REPORT PREPARED BY THE SECRETARIAT ON THE WORK

ACCOMPLISHED BY THE COMMISSION DURING ITS

EIGHTH SESSION 6

IV. REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ON THE ACTIVITIES

OF THE SECRETARIAT BETWEEN THE EIGHTH AND NINTH

SESSIONS OF THE COMMISSION 8

VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN AMERICAN COUNTRIES 10

Report of the Subcommittee 10

New Communications or Complaints 10

The Case of Cuba 11

The Case of Guatemala 16

The Case of Haiti 17

The Case of Paraguay 18

The Case of Honduras 19

The Case of the Dominican Republic 19

The Case of Ecuador 20

VI. ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE GENERAL WORK PROGRAM 20

Human Rights and the State of Siege 20

Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage 21

Situation of Political Refugees in the Americas 23

Judicial Protection of Human Rights 25

Draft Convention on Freedom of Expression,

Information and Investigation 25

General Work Program 27

Matters of Study During the Next Session 31

VII. AMENDMENTS TO THE STATUTE OF THE COMMISSION 31

VIII. REPORT TO THE ELEVENTH INTER-AMERICAN CONFERENCE 32

IX. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENTS AND TO THE

COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION 33

DATE AND PLACE OF THE TENTH SESSION 34

XI. CLOSING OF THE NINTH SESSION 34



APPENDIX 35

INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

REPORT ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED

DURING ITS NINTH SESSION

October 5 to 16, 1964

1. ORGANIZATION OF THE NINTH SESSION

A. Opening Date and Length of Session

1. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held its Ninth Session between October 5 and 16, 1964, at its permanent headquarters in the Pan American Union, Washington, D.C.

2. The subcommittee established for the preliminary consideration of communications or complaints directed to the Commission and the formulation of pertinent recommendations to it met on September 29 and 30.

3. The opening meeting took place at 10:30 a.m. on October 5 in the Columbus Room of the Pan American Union. Present at that meeting as guests of honor were the Secretary General of the Organization, Dr. José A. Mora, and the Director of the Department of Legal Affairs of the Pan American Union, Dr. Francisco Garcia Amador.

4. In declaring the Ninth Session open, Professor Manuel Bianchi expressed his pleasure at the re-election of almost all its members and praised the high principles by which they were inspired and the way in which they had been working for the cause of human rights. Dr. Bianchi welcomed with words of praise a new member of the Commission, Dr. Carlos Alberto D. Abranches. Next, he thanked the Secretary General and the Director of the Department of Legal Affairs for their presence at the meeting, pointing out that "thanks to Dr. Mora's constant cooperation and encouragement the Commission had been able to successfully carry out its work".

5. Replying, the Secretary General of the Organization expressed pleasure at being present at the opening meeting of a new phase in the Commission's work and thanked Dr. Bianchi for his kind words. He reiterated his resolve to cooperate in every way necessary for the fulfilment of its tasks by the Commission, which he described as "one of the most important elements of the Inter-American System whose members, inspired by the highest moral principles and a deep sense of responsibility, had brought about the advancement, expansion and consolidation of human rights". Dr. Mora stated that the Commission had a most important role to play within the juridical-political activities of the OAS and expressed the view that a propitious climate existed in the Americas for the full and successful accomplishment of its high mission within the Inter-American System.

B. Election of Officers

6. At this same opening meeting, the Commission proceeded to the election of its new officers, the-two-year period having expired for which Dr. Manuel Bianchi and Dr. Gabino Fraga had been elected as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively.

7. In accordance with its statute, the Commission proceeded to elect its new officers for a period of two years. The present officers were re-elected, namely:

Chairman Professor Manuel Bianchi

Vice Chairman Dr. Gabino Fraga

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

8. The Commission is composed of the following persons:

Name Country of Origin

Mrs. Angela Acuña de Chacón Costa Rica

Prof. Manuel Bianchi Gundián 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 of the members attended the Ninth Session.

D. Meetings and Documents

9. During this session the Commission held ten meetings. The secretariat prepared the summary minutes of these meetings, which are restricted to the exclusive use of the members.

10. In accordance with Article 34 of the Regulations, the secretariat prepared a list of the communications or complaints received prior to this session and of those that were received while it was in progress, together with a summary of their contents. The list was prepared in chronological order and by countries to which the communications related (Doc. 4-X Rev.).

11. In compliance with the decision taken by the Commission at its Eighth Session, the secretariat prepared background documents on the situation of human rights in Haiti and Paraguay and a supplement to the background document on the situation of human rights in Guatemala (Docs. 5, 2 and 3-X).

12. The secretariat also prepared the document entitled "Supplement to the Preliminary Study on Political Refugees in the Americas" (Doc. 6-X). This document contains an amplification of the data and background circumstances relating to the refugees from various American countries within the territory of other American states, with particular emphasis on the number of refugees and on the economic problems that they pose in the asylum-granting countries.

13. The secretariat published a document containing the observations of various American countries relative to the situation of the political refugees in the Americas (Doc. ll-X).

14. The secretariat of the Commission was also responsible for preparing and publishing a series of observations and commentaries on the study presented by Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins, entitled "Protección de los Derechos Humanos Frente a la Suspensión de Garantías o Estado de Sitio" [Protection of Human Rights in face of the Suspension of Guarantees or State of Siege] (Doc. 7-X).

15. 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, Alvaro Gómez and Guillermo Cabrera.

16. 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

17. At its first meeting, held on October 5, 1964 the Commission adopted the following agenda for the Ninth Session:

1. Election of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Commission.

2. Report prepared by the secretariat on the work accomplished by the Commission during

its Eighth Session.

3. Report of the Executive Secretary on the activities of the secretariat between the Eighth

and Ninth Sessions.

4. Violations of human rights in American countries:

a) Report of the subcommittee regarding the communications or complaints received.

b) The case of Cuba.

c) The case of Guatemala.

d) The case of Haiti.

a) The case of Paraguay.

f) Study of the situation regarding human rights in other American countries: Honduras and

the Dominican Republic.

5. General work program:

a) Situation of political refugees in the Americas. Background document prepared by the secretariat.

b) "La Protección de los Derechos Humanos Frente a la Suspension de Garantías o Estado de Sitio" [Protection of Human Rights in face of the Suspension of Guarantees or State of Siege], report prepared by Dr. Daniel Hugo Martins.

c) "Protección Jurisdiccional de los Derechos Humanos en los Estados Americanos" Judicial Protection of Human Rights in the American States], report prepared by Dr. Gabino Fraga.

d) "Proyecto de Convención Interamericana sobre Libertad de Expresión, de Información y de Investigación" [Draft Inter-American Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information and Investigation] approved by the Commission during its Seventh Session.

e) "Los Derechos Humanos y el Derecho de Sufragio en América" [Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage in the Americas], Part II, prepared by Professor Manuel Bianchi.

f) Examination of the topics included in the general work program of the Commission approved during the Fifth Session.

6. Amendments to the Statutes.

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

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

States.

9. Date and place of the Tenth Session.

10. Other matters.

III. REPORT PREPARED BY THE SECRETARIAT ON THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED

BY THE COMMISSION DURING ITS EIGHTH SESSION

18. At the first meeting, held on October 5, 1964, the Commission approved the report of the secretariat on the work accomplished by the Commission during its Eighth Session, held in Washington, D.C.,from April 6 to 20, 1964. (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.9, Doc. 24).

19. The report contains a list of the various matters considered at the Eighth Session. One chapter of the report refers to the situation of human rights in various American countries, especially in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua and Paraguay, and contains a summary of the background documents prepared by the secretariat on the cases of Haiti (Doc. 5-VII), Ecuador (Doc. 5-VIII), Guatemala (Doc. 7-VIII) and the Dominican Republic (Doc. 6-VIII).

20. Another chapter of the report relates to the work carried out by the Commission in accordance with its general work program. In regard to the topic of the program relating to the situation of political refugees in the Americas and to the preliminary study prepared by the secretariat on that subject (Doc. 11-VIII), the report contains the conclusions reached by the Commission and the recommendations made by it to the governments of the member states of the Organization. This chapter also contains a study of the topic "State of Siege and Human Rights," and a summary of the document prepared by the secretariat entitled "Estudio Preliminar del Estado de Sitio, y la Protección de los Derechos Humanos en los Estados Americanos" [Preliminary Study of the State of Siege and the Protection of Human Rights in the American States] (Doc. 6-VII), and also of the report prepared by Dr. Martins entitled "la Protección de los Derechos Humanos Frente a la Suspensión de Garantías o Estado de Sitio" [The Protection of Human Rights in face of the Suspension of Guarantees or State of Siege] (Doc. 14-IX).

21. Other topics of the general work program considered by the Commission during its Eighth Session and dealt with in the report are the Protocción Jurisdiccional de los Derechos Humanos en los Estados Americanos [Judicial Protection of Human Rights in the American States] (Rapporteur, Dr. Gabino Fraga); Estudio Comparativo entre la Declaración Americana de los Derechos y Deberes del Hombre, la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos y los correspondientes textos Constitucionales de los Estados Americanos [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] (Rapporteur, Dr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl), los Derechos Humanos y el Derecho de Sufragio en América [Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage in the America] (Rapporteur, Prof. Manuel Bianchi); and the decision adopted with respect to the Draft Inter-American Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information and Investigation, drawn up by the Commission during its Seventh Session.

22. Another Chapter Of the report relates to the request of nongovernmental organizations to accredit observers to the meetings of the Commission and to the corresponding resolution adopted by the Commission. The remaining chapters contain the decisions reached by the Commission relative to the Draft Report to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference, national committees on human rights and the fellowship program.

IV. REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE

SECRETARIAT BETWEEN THE EIGHTH AND NINTH SESSIONS OF THE COMMISSION

23. At the first meeting, the Executive Secretary submitted to the consideration of the Commission the report of the secretariat on its activities between the Eighth and Ninth Sessions (Doc. 9-X).

24. This document contains a report of the work done by the secretariat in compliance with the decisions taken by the Commission. In regard to the situation of human rights in the American countries, the report records the action taken on the communications or complaints received, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the regulations-, the preparation of a list and a summary of those communications (Doc. 4-X), which document was duly submitted to the Commission; and the preparation of background documents on the situation regarding human rights in Guatemala (Doc. 3-X) and Paraguay (Doc. 2-X) and a supplement to the preliminarystudy on political refugees (Doc. 6-X). Reference is also made in the report to the preparation by the secretariat of a supplement to the report on the case of Cuba in accordance with the decision taken by the Commission during its Sixth Session.

25. In regard to the general work program of the Commission, the report of the secretariat refers to the activities carried out in connection with the topics "La Protección de los Derechos Humanos Frente a la Suspensión de Garantías o Estado de Sitio" [The Protection of Human Rights in Face of the Suspension of Guarantees or State of Siege], with respect to which the secretariat prepared a document containing observations on the report of the Rapporteur, Dr. Martins. Reference is also made to the study entitled "Protección Jurisdiccional de los Derechos Humanos en los Estados Americanos" [Judicial Protection of Human Rights in the American States, prepared by Dr. Gabino Fraga, with respect to which the secretariat requested the comments and observations of the members of the Commission, and to Part II of the study by Prof. Manuel Bianchi entitled "El Derecho de Sufragio en América" [The Right of Suffrage in the Americas].

With regard to the Draft Inter-American Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information and Investigation, the report of the secretariat refers to the action taken by the Secretary General to obtain the observations and comments of the governments on that report.

26. With regard to the general work program adopted by the Commission during its Fifth Session, the report suggests the possibility that the Commission begin its study of matters related to the economic and social rights provided for in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Finally, the report refers to the draft amendments to the statute of the Commission and to the draft report to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference.

27. The Commission took note of the said report by the secretariat at its meeting on October 5.

V. VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN AMERICAN COUNTRIES

A. Report of the Subcommittee

28. The subcommittee is composed of three members of the Commission, namely:

Chairman: Professor Manuel Bianchi

Members: Dr. Gonzalo Escudero

Dr. Durward V. Sandifer

29. As provided for in the regulations the subcommittee met one week prior to the opening of the session to make a preliminary study of the communications or complaints addressed to the Commission and to prepare a draft agenda for the Ninth Session.

30. After concluding its work, the subcommittee prepared a report (Doc. 8-X) which was submitted to the Commission for consideration. The report contains a summary report of the study and consideration of the 51 communications or complaints submitted to the subcommittee (Doc. 4-X) and also the recommendations of the subcommittee relative to the cases studied. The report also contains the draft agenda for the Ninth Session.

31. The report was considered by the Commission at its fourth meeting, held on October 8. The Commission accepted the recommendations of the subcommittee and gave instructions for the processing of outstanding cases. The Commission also adopted the draft agenda for the Ninth Session, with slight changes. The Commission approved the report of the subcommittee at this fourth meeting.

B. New communications or complaints

32. The Commission considered new denunciations received at the fifth meeting. At the ninth meeting, held on October 15, the secretariat submitted an Addendum containing a list of the communications or complaints received since the opening of the Ninth Session. The Commission decided on the processing of these communications in accordance with the regulations.

C. The Case of Cuba

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

34. In accordance with the decision taken at the Seventh Session the secretariat started the preparation of a draft of an additional report on the situation regarding human rights in Cuba, using as a basis the communications or complaints received on specific cases of violation of those rights. This draft report has been restricted to three main aspects, namely: a) the existence in Cuba of movable or ambulatory courts whose composition and proceedings constitute, according to the information received, a gross violation of human rights; b) the holding of retrials followed by the imposition of a more severe penalty; and c) the treatment of minors by the Cuban judicial and prison authorities.

35. At the fifth meeting, the secretariat reported to the Commission on the desirability of expanding the background documentation on the three points referred to in the draft report and of continuing with the preparation of that draft.

36. In view of the number of communications and complaints received on serious and repeated violations of human rights in Cuba, the Commission resolved to transmit to the Cuban Government an urgent note with the object of bringing to its attention the specific denunciations that had been received with respect to the three points referred to in paragraph 34 of the present Report. The Commission also decided that the note should also contain the following points: a) reiteration of the information requested in communications to which no reply had yet been received from the Cuban Government; b) a reminder of the offer made by the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Chairman of the Commission to supply ample data on the Cuban legislation relating to human rights; c) a request to the Cuban Government that if the alleged violations are trust it take progressive measures in favor of human rights and also appropriate steps to promote the faithful observance of those rights; d) a list of the communications addressed to the Government of Cuba to which no reply had been received to date.

37. At its ninth meeting, held on October 15, the Commission studied draft note prepared by the secretariat and instructed the Chairman and the Executive Secretary to prepare the final text, taking into account the comments made on the draft by the members of the Commission. On October 22. 1964 the Chairman, in the name of the Commission, transmitted the following note to the Cuban Government:

October 22, 1964

Sir:

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has received numerous communications or claims denouncing serious and repeated violations of the human rights set forth in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man on the part of authorities and other public officials of the Government of Cuba.

His Excellency

Dr. Raúl Roa García

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Havana, Cuba



In accordance with the provisions of Article 9.b and d. of the Statute of the Commission, I should like, through you, to acquaint the Cuban Government with the acts denounced and to request that you furnish us with all pertinent information. In the event that the allegations are correct, we also request that, within the framework of your domestic legislation, you adopt "progressive measures in favor of human rights" and those that may be appropriate "to further the faithful observance of those rights".

Summarized below are the denunciations made against your governin signed communications addressed to the Commission:

1. The Commission has been informed of cases of minors who have been condemned by the Cuban courts, with no consideration what- ever of their age and their physical and mental immaturity. The Commission has also been informed that in some instances minors have been sentenced to death by firing squad, as was true in the case against Rubén Acosta and Justo García both 16 years of age, who were tried in Calimete, Matanzas Province, on April 12, 1964, for having committed acts of sabotage against sugar cane plantations. Moreover, the Commission has been advised that other minors accused of what have been described as "counterrevolutionary" crimes have been sent to prisons for adult criminals. This seems to have been the case with the young man who wrote to the Commission as follows: "At 17 years of age, I was sentenced to 20 years in prison. For 31 days I was housed in a cell measuring two and a half meters in length. These cells were veritable torture chambers; one had to sleep fully dressed on a damp, dirt floor, infested with rats."

The Commission has likewise been informed that as many as 100 minors have been detained in La Cabafia prison, with sentences ranging from three to thirty years imprisonment. Specifically, it has learned of one minor of 15 years of age, four of 16, and one of 17 who have been imprisoned in that fortress and are serving sentences of up to thirty years.

If these allegations were true, the Commission is of the opinion that the Cuban authorities

would not only be violating the principles set forth in Article I of the American Declaration, which refers to the right to life and liberty, but would also be applying a punishment that violates the Cuban Code of Social Defense. This code contemplates extenuating circumstances for minors between the ages of 12 and 18, stipulating that, at the most, they be confined to a juvenile reformatory (Art. 37. B.2 and Art. 586. 10.a).

The Commission has also been informed that minors are frequently recruited for compulsory military service, by virtue of law 1,129 of 1963, whereupon they are allegedly subjected to a regime of compulsory labor "in an arbitrary manner, with no prior drawing of lots or equitable or qualified system of selection," and in undesirable places, unsuited to their condition as minors.

If the above denunciations are correct, the authorities of the Government of Cuba would be violating Articles 16 and 17 of the Inter-Americam charter of Social Guarantees, which it signed in 1948. These articles provide that "persons less than fourteen years of age, and those who, having reached that age, are still subject to the compulsory education laws of the country, may not be employed in any type of work," and that "night work and work hazardous or injurious to health is forbidden for persons under eighteen years of age." Moreover, it should be pointed out that the Fundamental Law of the Republic of Cuba expressly prohibits work to persons of less than 14 years.

2. Communications addressed to the Commission denounce the fact that the Government of Cuba has ordered the revision of already executed legal sentences under which criminals are serving prison terms. The Commission has been informed that the new trials result in penalties that worsen rather than improve the situation of the accused, that they do not offer them even the minimum procedural guaranties, and that there is intimidation of lawyers who attempt to defend them.

For example, the Commission has learned of the cases of the following Cuban citizens: Ignacio Fonseca Rodríguez, Celso Modesto Torres González, Pitágoras Cisneros Cambra, Arnaldo Jiménez, and Marcelino Vidal, who had been serving prison terms since 1959, by virtue of the sentence imposed on them that year, and now, in a new trial, have been condemned to death by firing squad.

Should these allegations be true, the Cuban authorities would be failing to observe Article

XXVI of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, which reads in part: "Every person accused of an offense has the right to be given an impartial and public hearing and to be tried by-courts previously established in accordance with pre-existing laws, and not to receive cruel, infamous or unusual punishment." The Commission also believes that in the event that certain of the allegations were correct, the Cuban authorities would be violating Article 21 of the Fundamental law of the Republic, which establishes that "penalties shall have retroactive effect when they would be favorable to the criminal."

3. Many, communications addressed to the Commission assert that the new type of court, commonly referred to as a "mobile" or "ambulatory" court, which moves around from one part of Cuban territory to another and summarily hands down decisions in schools, labor unions, and places of work, "is composed of members selected from the militia, who lack education, know nothing of judicial procedure, and only obey orders of the prosecutor."

It has also been alleged to this inter-American organization that the sentences of these courts, whose trials are conducted in the presence of throngs of people, called together in advance to witness the judicial proceeding, are handed down in an atmosphere of political terror.

If these charges made to the Commission were correct, the authorities and public officials

of the Cuban Government would be ignoring the provisions of Article XVIII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, which states that "every person may resort to the courts to ensure respect for his legal rights" and that there should "be available to him a simple, brief procedure whereby the courts will protect him from acts of authority that, to this prejudice, violate any fundamental rights."

I should appreciate your asking your government to give this note its most careful attention and to be good enough to furnish this Commission with any information that it deems pertinent to the matters described above.

I also wish to remind you of your offer of April 27, 1961, to furnish "full information" on

the Cuban law in force, which would reveal according to your cable, "the earnest concern of the Government of Cuba to promote all human rights and to guarantee to the masses full exercise of those rights."

The Commission takes this opportunity to remind the Government of Cuba that it has still

received no reply to the requests addressed to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for information on alleged violations of human rights in Cuba. A list of the notes written to you is appended herewith.

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

Manuel Bianchi

Chairman

On December 28, 1964, the Chairman of the Commission received the following note of the Cuban Government:

REPUBLIC OF CUBA

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Havana, November 4, 1964

Mr. Manuel Bianchi Gundián

Chairman of the Inter-American Commission

on Human Rights

Washington, D.C.

Sir:

Merely as a matter of courtesy I acknowledge receipt of your letter of October 20, 1964.

As you know, and as everyone knows, Cuba was arbitrarily excluded from the Organization of American States through pressure exerted by the imperialistic Government of the United States, and therefore, there is no occasion for providing the information you request. The Organization of American States has no jurisdiction or competence, legally, factually or morally, over a state that has illegally been deprived of its rights.

Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(S) Raúl Roa

Minister of Foreign Affairs

D. The Case of Guatemala

38. The commission considered the case of Guatemala at its fifth meeting, held on October 9.

39. In accordance with the decision taken by the Commission during its Fighth Session, the secretariat revised the background document prepared in April, 1964 (Doc. 7-VTTI) taking into account the legislation recently issued by the Government of Guatemala and the information received by the Commission. This revised document (Doc. 3-X) was submitted to the consideration of the Commission under the title "Suplemento al documento de antecedentes sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en la República de Guatemala" [Supplement to the Background Document on the Situation Regarding Human Rights in Guatemala]. This document includes the note addressed by the Commission to the Government of Guatemala on August 11, 1964, transmitting various specific claims of violations of human rights in that country.

40. At its eighth meeting held on October 14, the Commission heard the evidence of a Guatemalan exile who had requested a hearing. The witness furnished new data on the situation regarding human rights in Guatemala and amplified the claims previously made to the Commission in writing . He also delivered various documents in corroboration of his claim.

41. On the basis of the background information set forth in the communications received by the Commission and also of the additional data obtained during the Ninth Session, the Commission decided to transmit a note to the Government of Guatemala repeating the request for information made in the note of August 11, 1964 and asking for new information on additional claims made to the Commission, and requesting that if the allegations contained in these claims are corrects progressive measures in favor of human rights be taken within the framework of Guatemala's domestic legislation.

E. The Case of Haiti

42. In accordance with the decision taken during the Eighth Session, the Commission continued its study of the case of Haiti in the light of the new claims made to the Commission. At its fifth meeting, the Commission studied the document prepared by the secretariat, entitled "Antecedentes sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en Haiti" [Background information on the situation regarding human rights in Haiti} (Doc. 5-X). This document contains a list of the claims received regarding violations of human rights in Haiti and presents data on the constitutional changes carried out in that country.

43. At the same meeting, the Commission decided to address a note to the Government of Haiti for the purpose of: a) repeating the request for information made in the note of April 29, 1964; b) transmitting the relevant parts of new claims received, in which Haitian authorities are accused of acts in violations of human rights; c) to request the Haitian Government, in the event that the accusations made were found to be true, to adopt progressive measures to promote the faithful observance of human rights.

F. The Case of Paraguay

44. Upon studying the situation regarding human rights in Paraguay, the Commission during its Eighth Session, instructed its secretariat to prepare a background document. In accordance with this instruction, the secretariat prepared a document entitled "Informaciones sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en la República del Paraguay" [Information on the situation regarding human rights in Paraguay] (Doc. 2-X). This document contains a summary of the main political events that have taken place in Paraguay since 1960, a study of the present Constitution, with special reference to the guarantees of human rights established therein, and a list of the claims received with respect to the violations of human rights.

45. At the sixth meetings held on October 12, the Commission again considered the situation of human rights in Paraguay and decided: a) to adhere to the decision taken during its Fifth Session to visit the territory of the Republic of Paraguay, for which purpose it requested the Chairman to take the necessary steps to enable a subcommittee to visit Paraguay before the Tenth Session; b) to request the secretariat to prepare a draft report on the situation regarding human rights in Paraguay, using as the basis the background documents already prepared by the secretariat; and c) to devote part of the next session to a thorough study of this matter.

G. The Case of Honduras

46. With respect to the situation regarding human rights in Honduras, the Commission first of all considered the question of visiting that country in accordance with the authorization granted by the Government of Honduras in a cable of November 4, 1963, in which it authorized the Commission to select responsible representatives to visit Honduras and confirm the falseness of the alleged violations of human rights. The Commission decided to authorize the Chairman to take the necessary steps to determine the date on which that visit to Honduras could take place.

47. At the same meetings the Commission studied the communications or complaints received on violations of human rights in Honduras and decided to transmit the relevant portions to the Honduran Government with a request for the corresponding information.

H. The Case of the Dominican Republic

48. At the Eighth Session, the Commission studied the situation of human rights in the Dominican Republic and instructed its secretariat to bring the background document on the situation of human rights in that country up to date (Doc. 6-IX) so that, if this should be considered necessary, it might serve as a basis for the preparation in due course of a report on the

situation of human rights in the Dominican Republic.

49. Since the Commission had already requested information from the Dominican Government on alleged specific violations of human rights during the present session it was decided that the study of the human rights situation in that country, would be continued at the next session, on the basis of the information to be furnished by the Dominican Government and the background material to be compiled by the secretariat.

I. The Case of Ecuador

50. At its sixth meeting, the Commission considered the situation of human rights in Ecuador.

51. The Government of Ecuador had informed the Commission, in respect to the claims transmitted to it that the alleged violations of human rights in Ecuador, particularly with respect to the events in the city of Guayaquil, were not acts contrary to the fundamental rights of the person but the arrest of certain persons who had conspired against the security of the state, and added that most of these persons had already been freed, while others were being tried by legal process and with all the guarantees established in the Constitution of Ecuador.

52. The Government of Ecuador also transmitted to the Commission a list of the persons still

imprisoned in that country and a number of newspaper clippings confirming the release of the

other persons arrested.

The Commission decided to bring the information transmitted by the Government of Ecuador to the attention of the informants.

VI. ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE GENERAL WORK PROGRAM

A. Human Rights and the State of Siege

53. The Commission considered the matter of human rights and the state of siege at its third meeting, held on October 7.

The members continued their study, initiated at the Eighth Session, of the report prepared by Dr. Hugo Martins entitled "la Protección de los Derechos Humanos Frente a la Suspensión de Garantías o Estado de Sitio" [The Protection of Human Rights in Face of the Suspension of Guarantees or State of Siege] (Doc.14-IX).

54. In conformity with the decision taken at the Eighth Session, the members presented a series of observations and comments on the text of Document 14-IX for the purpose of clarifying concepts, defining the objectives of the study and orienting its conclusions.

The Commission decided to collect the observations and comments of the members into an appendix to the summary minutes of the third meeting.

55. The secretariat also prepared a document entitled "Observations and Comments on the Protection of Human Rights in Face of the Suspension of Guaranties or State of Siegel" (Doc. 7-X), preceded by an introduction containing a brief account of the study prepared by Dr. Martins. This document was discussed and considered at the third meeting.

56. The Commission decided to request the Rapporteur, Dr. Martins to make the appropriate amendments to Document 14-IX, taking into account the observations made by the members and those submitted by the secretariat and, at the same time, to draft the conclusions that he considered pertinent.

The Commission also entrusted to Dr. Martins the preparation of draft recommendations to the American governments in the light of Document 14-IX and of the observations and comments made by the Commission, for discussion and approval during the Tenth Session.

57. The Commission also decided that, upon approval at the Tenth Session the final text of this draft be adopted as an official report of the Commission.

B. Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage

58. The Commission considered the topic of human rights and the right of suffrage at

its seventh meeting, held on October 13.

The secretariat supplied the Rapporteur, Dr. Bianchi, with the background material for the preparation of Part II of the document entitled "Los Derechos Humanos y el Derecho de Sufragio en América" [Human Rights and the Right of Suffrage in the Americas] (Doc. 14-V).

The secretariat also reported to the Commission on materials on electoral legislation that had been furnished by the governments of certain American countries namely: Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, the United States and Venezuela. This report also incorporated the most recent electoral legislation of Chile and Guatemala.

59. At the seventh meeting, the rapporteur for this topic reported on the progress achieved by the American countries in the field of electoral legislation and drew comparisons and pointed out differences between some of them.

60. The Commission considered the possibility of formulating recommendations to the governments, on the basis of Article 20 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and pursuant to Article 9 (b) of the Statute of the Commission, to the effect that they incorporate into their domestic legislation progressive measures for the improvement of electoral procedures.

61. The desirability was suggested of including in those recommendstions such matters as compulsory voting universal suffrage, secrecy of the ballot and legal guarantees for the exercise of the vote, all matters directly related to the field of human rights. The suggestion was made by members of the Commission that in preparing his draft recommendations the rapporteur might utilize, among other sources, the experience of the technical electoral committes sent by the Organization of American States to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Honduras and, in particular, the Report of the Primer Simposio sobre Democracia Representativa [First Symposium on Representative Democracy], held in the Dominican Republic in 1962.

The rapporteur volunteered to include in Part II of his study a draft of recommendations to the American governments, taking into account the observations and suggestions made by the members of the Commission.

C. Situation of Political Refugees in the Americas

62. The Commission considered the matter of political refugees at its sixth meeting, held on October 12.

The Commission had continued its study of this problem during the Eighth Session, at the suggestion of the Secretary General of the Organization and in the light of the document prepared by the secretariat entitled "Preliminary Study on Political Refugees in the Americas" (Doc. 11-IX).

At the Eighth Session, the Commission had decided to instruct the secretariat to expand that study, with special reference to the number of American refugees in the various American countries and to the problems brought about by these refugees.

In compliance with that decision, the secretariat had prepared a Supplement to the Preliminary Study (Doc. 6-X), which was submitted to the consideration of the Commission at this Ninth Session.

Document 6-X contains a brief account of the activities of the Commission in connection with refugees and, in addition, two chapters dealing respectively with the number of refugees and their situation.

In regard to the number of refugees, the document presents approximate figures for Cuban, Paraguayan, Bolivian, Dominican, Haitian and Honduran refugees. With respect to the problems posed by the presence of refugees in American countries, the document makes reference mainly to economic and social problems.

63. The secretariat informed the Commission that subsequent to the publication of the abovementioned Supplement (Doc. 6-X), the Government of the United States had furnished abundant informational material on the political refugees present within its territory and on the problems to which they give rise. The secretariat also reported on the number of countries that had not yet replied to the note sent by the Secretary General of the Organization requesting information on the refugee problem.

The Commission discussed this matter thoroughly on the basis of the Supplement submitted by the secretariat and decided to reiterate to the governments that had not yet anbwered the request to send the information requested by the Secretary General on May 11, 1964.

64. The Commission decided to postpone the preparation of a report on political refugees until the Tenth Session and instructed the secretariat to prepare a draft report, taking into account the following recommendations: (1) That the important problem is that of American refugees in the Americas; (2) That the refugee problem is directly related to that of the violation of human rights in American countries; (3) That the topics of political refugees and of diplomatic asylum are different without prejudice to the possibility that the diplomatic asylee may become a refugee; (4) That it is desirable to distinguish the statute governing diplomatic asylees from the statute governing refugees, as is done in the legislation of Uruguay; (5) That the problem of political refugees in American countries is also an economic problem; and (6) That the problems be studied of issuing travel documents to refugees and the possibility of granting assistance, with particular reference to the right to work.

D. Judicial Protection of Human Rights

65. The Commission considered the topic of "Protección Jurirdiccional de los Derechos Humanos en los Estados Americanos" [Judicial Protection of Human Rights in the American States] (Doc. 13-VIII) at its sixth meeting.

On the proposal of the Rapporteur, Dr. Gabino Fraga, the Commission decided to postpone the study of this topic until the Tenth Session, to enable Dr. Fraga to submit a revised text of that document.

E. Draft Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information and Investigation

66. This draft convention was approved by the Commission during its Seventh Session, held in Santiago, Chile, in 1963. During its Eighth Session, the Commission decided to submit this draft (Doc. 15-VII) to the consideration of the American governments, regardless of whether it were later considered by the Eleventh Inter-American Conference, in order to obtain from them their pertinent observations and comments.

67. The Secretariat reported to the Commission that the governments of the United States, Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador had replied to the Commission's request and had communicated their views on the draft convention.

The secretariat added that the governments of Brazil and Ecuador had indicated their agreement with the draft, without reservations. The governments of the United States and Venezuela had both made a number of observations.

The secretariat distributed the document entitled "Observaciones al Proyecto de Convención Interamericana sobre Libertad de Expresión, de Información y de Investigación" [Observations on the Draft Inter-American Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information and Investigation] (Doc. 13-X), which contains the texts of the notes sent by those two governments.

68. The observations of the United States Government with respect to Articles I, III, V, VI, VII, VIII, XII, XIV, XVI, XVII and XVIII relate to questions of wording, accuracy of terminology and clarity of concepts.

With respect to Article IX, which deals with the right of correction, the United States Government considers that that question "could be dealt with more advantageously in a separate instrument" and therefore suggests that the article be deleted from the draft.

The United States Government considers that Article X, which lays down penalty standards for certain offenses, is "too severe" and should therefore be amended.

69. The observations of the Venezuelan Government are limited to Articles VI, VII, IX and X of the draft, with respect to which it reserves the right to present new observations "when the detailed study of their enforcement clauses is commenced" although it "approves in principle the terms of the draft, whose wording is on the whole reasonable and judicious".

70. The Commission decided to request the General Secretariat of the Organization to reiterate the request that they submit their observations and comments on the draft to those Governments that have not yet done so.

It also decided to request the rapporteur to present the amendments that he considers appropriate, taking into account the observations formulated by the governments, during the Tenth Session, when the study of the draft convention will be continued.

.

General Work Program

71. Study of topics. The Commission considered the general work program at the eighth and ninth meetings of this Ninth Session.

At the ninth meeting, the secretariat presented a memorandum in which it analyses the general work program adopted by the Commission during its Fifth Session. The memorandum points out that of the five topics included in the general work program, three are still being studied and developed by the Commission, namely: a) The judicial protection of human rights; b) Human rights and the right of suffrage in the Americas; and c) The protection of human rights in face of the suspension of guarantees or state of siege. The memorandum states that the Draft Convention on Freedom of Expression, Information and Investigation approved by the Commission during its Seventh Session is under consideration by the governments.

The memorandum suggests the desirability that the general work program be studied with a view to determining what studies should be undertaken by the Commission during the coming years. Three subjects are suggested:

1) The right to petition (Article XXIV of the American Declaration).

2) The right of association of labor unions (Article XXII).

3) The right to education (Article XII).

The memorandum points out that the first of these three subjects is provided for in the work program itself, since paragraph 3 of Chapter I states that the Commission undertakes to study and determine "methods by which the right to petition can be accorded more substantive content" and the most suitable method of providing means "for the redress of grievances by citizens when no specific legal remedies exist". The memorandum points out that; the inclusion of the topics of freedom of association of labor unions would be justified by the fact that the Commission has received many communications alleging the absence of that freedom in certain American countries. In suggesting the inclusion of education, the secretariat acted in compliance with the text of Chapter II of the general work program, which specifically provides

for the study of that subject.

The memorandum also raises the possibility of sponsorship by the Commission of seminars on human rights that would contribute to the full development of the subjects included in the general work program.

The Commission favorably received the memorandum of the secretariat and indicated its approval of the three subjects proposed for study during the new phase of activities covered by the new general work program.

Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches suggested the desirability of amplifying the three subjects proposed by the secretariat by an additional topic entitled "la Protección Internacional de los Derechos Humanos desd e 1959" [The International Protection of Human Rights since 1959] in view of the considerable progress achieved in the field of human rights since then.

Dr. Gabino Fraga suggested the inclusion of the subject "los Derechos Humanos Fundamentales" [The Fundamental Human Rights], because he considered it desirable that the Commission undertake the study of those rights established by the American Declaration that are regarded as fundamental rights of the individual, and also suggested that account be taken for this purpose of an old set of draft statutes that had been drawn up for the Commission.

The Commission approved the inclusion in its work program of the additional subjects suggested by Drs. Abranches and Fraga.

As a result of its consideration of this matter, the Commission decided to study the following subjects within its general work program at its future sessions:

1) The right of petition;

2) The right to association of labor unions;

3) The right to education;

4) The international protection of human rights since 1959; and

5) The fundamental human rights (right to life, liberty and personal security; right to freedom of investigation, opinion, expression and dissemination; right to a fair trial; right of protection from arbitrary arrests and right to due process of law).

The Commission designated Dr. Durward V. Sandifer as rapporteur for topic 1 (The right of petition), and Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches as rapporteur for topic 4 (The international protection of human rights since 1959).

With regard to the other topics, the Commission decided to designate rapporteurs for the other topics at its Tenth Session.

72. International Conference on Human Rights. The Commission also considered during its Ninth Session the possibility of holding a high level conference for the purpose of: a) appraising the experiences of the international commissions that are active in the field of human rights, and b) making a thorough study of the problems that arise in that field and of the possibilities, objectives and limitations of those international bodies. At the end of the Ninth Session, the Commission instructed the secretariat to take the necessary steps to that end and to submit a draft report on the subject at the next session.

In the Ninth Session the secretariat prepared a memorandum relating to the Commission's general work program, in which it had referred at some length to the possibility that the Commission sponsor a conference which could be held in conformity with paragraph 6 of Chapter I of the work program, which provides that the Commission shall "study the appropriate measures for promoting and defending human rights, which constitutes the mandate of the Commission, and the problems related to the international protection of those rights".

The secretariat also suggested in the above memorandum the desirability of the participation in a conference of such importance of members of representatives of the United Nations or European commission, and also of eminent experts in the field of human rights. It was also stated that the secretariat had studied this matter with the Chairman of the Commission and that certain steps had already been taken with a view to obtaining the necessary financing through certain foundations.

The Commission signified its complete agreement with the points contained in the secretariat's memorandum and authorized the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the Chairman of the Commission, to take the necessary action through the Pan American Development Foundation with a view the to obtaining financial assistance from some foundations.

G. Matters for study during the next session

73. The Commission decided to consider the following matters under its general work program at its Tenth Session: a) Report on the protection of human rights in face of the suspension of guarantees or state of siege; b) Report on the judicial protection of human rights in the American states; c) Part II of the report on human rights and the right of suffrage in the Americas; d) Consideration of the observations presented by the governments on the draft convention on freedom of expression, information and investigation; a) Report on the situation of political refugees in the Americas; and f) Report on the international protection of human rights since 1959.

On the proposal of Mrs. Angela Acuña de Chacón, the Commission decided to include among the matters to be studied at the next session the subject "Amparo a la posesión de la tierra que es derecho humano por excelencia".

VII. AMENDMENTS TO THE STATUTE OF THE COMMISSION

74. In October 1960, the Commission submitted a draft of amendments to its statute (Doc. 31-I) to the Council of the Organization, which requested its Committee on Juridical-Political Affairs to study the matter. In addition, the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs recommended, in its Resolution IX, that the Council of the Organization amend the statute of the Commission so as to broaden and strengthen its powers to the extent necessary to permit it effectively to promote respect for human rights in the American countries.

75. The Committee on Juridical-Political Affairs of the Council of the Organization studied this matter at a number of meetings. However, in view of the fact that on June 22, 1964 the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, in a note to the Chairman of the Council, requested him, in the name of the Commission to defer consideration of this matter, the Committee on Juridical-Political Affairs decided to postpone its study of the draft amendments to the statute until the Human Rights Commission could consider the matter again.

76. The Commission considered the question of amendment of its statute at the meeting held on October 13. In view of the statement made within the Commission that it was planned to hold a Special Inter-American Conference for the purpose of studying certain matters of importance, including the matter of human rights, the Commission decided to defer its consideration of this matter to a more suitable occasion, after the results of that conference were known.

VIII. REPORT TO THE ELEVENTH INTER-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

77. At the Seventh Session (Doe. 35-VIII), the Commission instructed the secretariat to prepare a draft report for submission to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference.

In compliance with this instruction, the secretariat had prepared the document entitled "Proyecto de Informe sometido a la Undécima Conferencia Interamericana" [Draft Report submitted to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference] (Doc. 18-IX), which was considered by the Commission during its Eighth Session. On that occasion, the Commission decided to instruct the secretariat to prepare a revised draft of that report, taking into account the observations made by the members, particularly those relating to Chapter II, for consideration by the Commission at its Ninth Session.

In view of the fact that some of the members had not presented their observations on the draft report concerned, the Commission decided at its eighth meeting of this Ninth Session, to allow the members until December 1, 1964 to present their observations or comments so as to enable the secretariat to proceed to prepare a final draft of the Report to the Eleventh Inter-American Conference.

The Commission also instructed the secretariat to prepare a second draft report for submission to the members before the next session of the Commission.

IX. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENTS AND TO THE COUNCIL OF THE

ORGANIZATION

78. In accordance with the provisions of Article 36 of its Regulations, the Commission addressed notes to the governments of certain American countries requesting information on specific cases of alleged violations reported to the Commission.

It also reiterated to a number of governments requests for information, to which no reply had been received, on cases previously brought to the attention of those governments.

The Commission also decided, as it had done at previous sessions, to send a note to the Chairman of the Council of the Organization of American States informing him about the activities of the Commission during its Ninth Session.

X. DATE AND PLACE OF THE TENTH SESSION

79. At its eighth meeting, the Commission decided to authorize the Chairman to fix the date and place of the Tenth Session.

XI. CLOSING OF THE NINTH SESSION

80. At the meeting held on October 15, 1964 the Chairman of the Commission declared the Ninth Session closed. He expressed his satisfaction at the work that had been carried out and thanked the members of the Commission and the staff of the secretariat for their cooperation.

APPENDIX

DOCUMENTS OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

(OEA/Ser.L/V)

Document Number Title

OEA/Ser.L/V/II.10 DOCUMENTS OF THE NINTH SESSION

Doc. 1 Documentos de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos registrados por la Secretaría hasta el 5 de noviembre de 1964

Doc. 2 Informaciones sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en la República del Paraguay

Doc. 3 Suplemento al documento de antecedentes sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en la República de Guatemala

Doc. 4 Resumen de las comunicaciones recibidas por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, correspondientes al Noveno Período de Sesiones

Doc. 5 Documento de antecedentes sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en la República de Haití

Doc. 6 Preliminary study on political refugees in America (Supplement)

Doc. 7 Protection of human rights in face of the suspension of guaranties or state of siege (Observations and Comments prepared by the Secretariat)

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

Doc. 9 Informe del Secretario Ejecutivo sobre la labor realizada por la Secretaría entre el Octavo y Noveno Períodos de Sesiones

Doc. 10 Acta resumida de la primera sesión celebrada el 5 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 11 Situation of political refugees in America - Information received from the Governments

Doc. 12 Acta resumida de la segunda sesi6n celebrada el 6 de octubre de 1964



Doc. 13 Observations on the draft Inter-American Convention on freedom of expression, information and investigation

Doc. 14 Acta resumida de la tercera sesión celebrada el 7 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 15 Acta resumida de la cuarta sesión celebrada el 8 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 16 Acta resumida de la quinta sesión celebrada el 9 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 17 Acta resumida de la sexta sesión celebrada el 12 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 18 Acta resumida de la séptima sesión celebrada el 13 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 19 Acta resumida de la octava sesión celebrada el 14 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 20 Acta resumida de la novena sesión celebrada el 15 de octubre de 1964

Doc. 21 Informe sobre la labor desarrollada durante su Noveno Período de Sesiones