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Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
ANNUAL REPORT 1970
OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMISSION
During the period covered by this report, the Commission considered 217 communications or complaints from persons and groups, denouncing 103 specific cases of alleged violations of human rights. In addition, it received many the communications of an informational nature on general situation regarding these rights.
After the processing of each case, the Commission examined the evidence supplied by the government in question or by the claimant, or evidence gathered by the Commission itself, in accordance with Article 50 of the Regulations, applying when appropriate, the principle of presumption of truth set forth in Article 51.
The Commission considers that, in its annual report to the General Assembly, it is appropriate to make recommendations only on cases whose processing and examination were completed during the period covered by the report, and in which a disregard of human rights has been verified. For information purposes, the Secretariat of the Commission has prepared a statistical table of all communications received (Appendix).
Accordingly, in compliance with Resolution XXIII of the Second Special Inter-American Conference (paragraph 4) and the Charter of the OAS (Article 150), the Commission submits to the General Assembly, for consideration, the observations it deems appropriate regarding cases that meet the conditions mentioned above.
- El Salvador and Honduras
- Recommendations based on the experience of the Commission
In addition to the preceding recommendations, based on the findings made by the Commission in examining specific complaints or denunciations, we believe it is appropriate to make other recommendations derived from the experience acquired during the performance of our work. We believe that if these recommendations are carried out, the effectiveness of our task will be increased, in benefit to the cause for which all of us are striving.
In this connection, we hereby propose:
- That a recommendation be made to all governments that, insofar as possible, they reply promptly to request for information made to them by the Commission in accordance with Article 42 of the Regulations. An examination of the cases processed and of those pending resolution would demonstrate the difficulties that the Commission has faced in many cases because of delays in obtaining such information. The Commission would prefer that it never be required to invoke the power conferred by Article 51 of its Regulations, to presume the events to be confirmed when the information requested is not supplied within 180 days. Furthermore, there are cases in which the delay of information for 180 days makes the action the Commission can take ineffective.
- That a recommendation be made to all the governments that, given the high purposes of the task entrusted to us, they make it possible to observe fact within their territory, whenever appropriate and when the Commission so request pursuant to Article 50 of its Regulations. We are living in an age beset with difficulties, when, as experience has shown, in many cases the mere presence of members of the Commission at the scene of the event permits unwarranted denunciations to be rejected, others to be reduced to their proper proportions, and, in any case, the factual bases indispensable for just findings to be obtained.
- That a recommendation be made to al the governments that they take measures to publicize and make known the Inter-American instruments on human rights, as well as the studies and informational materials prepared by the Commission. A matter that is as serious as the crisis confronting human rights in the hemisphere is the ignorance on the part of many millions of men and women of the content and limits of those rights and of the measures afforded by municipal and international law for their adequate protection. The Inter-American Commission does everything in its power to help overcome these deficiencies, by preparing studies on the various human rights for use in secondary schools, universities, and so on and by preparing pamphlets or handbooks for distribution in schools, institutions of secondary education, labor unions, professional associations, and the like. Unquestionably, however, the resources available to it do not permit the Commission to disseminate these publications as widely as would be desirable. The support of the governments for these purposes would be of the highest importance, especially regarding the inclusion of regular or short courses at all levels of public education, dealing with human rights and protection of them. Financial factors also have required the postponement of other types of publicity work, such as the preparation of programs on human rights and means for their protection, for broadcasting on radio and television. The establishment of national commissions on human rights is another objective proposed by the Inter-American Commission, with high expectations as to the results that may be obtained.
- That a recommendation be made to all the governments that they supply to the Commission the information requested of them, in accordance with its Statute and Regulations, so that it may prepare the annual report, especially as regards the progress achieved in realization of the goals set forth in the American Declaration. In spite of the efforts of its members and staff, it is extremely difficult for the Commission to fill the gap in direct information regarding new constitutional, legal, or administrative provisions, or new judicial decisions handed down in their countries, that represent progress in the struggle to consolidate human rights in the Americas. The Commission is particularly interested in knowing of all measures aimed at punishing violations of human rights, protecting individuals against improper or inhuman acts in prisons or committed by guards, guaranteeing the use of legal resources against violations of human rights, or adopting standards that satisfy the requirements of social justice. The inescapable duty of reporting on these measures, imposed upon the Commission by Article 9 (bis) of its Statute, places it in the distressing position of having to present an incomplete statement in this regard; because of the lack of documentation from the government, its report contains omissions that are no less annoying because they are involuntary. Each year the Commission will request all governments to send this essential information, which is extremely useful to disseminate because the accomplishments of each state can serve as an inspiration or model for the others. The Commission expresses its deep thanks for the attention that may be given to its requests for information.
- That a recommendation be made to all the governments that, as an effective means of moving toward the full force of human rights in this hemisphere, they promptly ratify the convention approved at the Inter-American Specialized Conference held in San José, Costa Rica. This instrument, which gives convention status to standards defining human rights and which improves the organization of this Commission and established the Court, represents the most substantial progress recorded in the history of our regional organization toward the establishment of an adequate legal system of protection of the human individual and his fundamental freedoms.
But the final recommendation that this Commission would wish to
have made by the Assembly is that all governments consider the adoption
of measures to strengthen the economic condition of their peoples.
We cherish the conviction that the vigorous development of our national
economies, grounded upon just international cooperation and an equitable
exchange of our products, is the indispensable basis for the sound building
of an American community made up of men and women free from fear, poverty,
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