Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

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Military Courts and Human Rights Violations in Brazil from the Perspective of the Inter-American Human Rights System

The Supreme Federal Court of Brazil will soon rule (under a constitutional review case called Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade no. 5032, commonly referred to as ADI 5032) whether members of the armed forces that commit crimes against civilians during peacetime should be tried before civilian or military courts. This judgment is critical for Brazil, a country with a long (and recent) period of authoritarian military rule (1964-1985) but without comprehensive transitional justice mechanisms and State accountability for human rights violations. While the current Brazilian Constitution (adopted in 1988) restricted the institutional role of the military, starting from the 1990s, governments began to routinely employ the Armed Forces in public security contexts – from fighting organised crime in the Favelas or the Amazon rain forest to assisting local security forces with mega-events, such as the 2016 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup (often called “operations to guarantee law and order”). This resulted in a complex and conflictual institutional context: unresolved political and human rights issues combined with increasing reliance on the military for…

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The IACtHR Advisory Opinion: one step forward or two steps back for LGBTI rights in Costa Rica?

On 9th January 2018, the IACtHR issued Advisory Opinion No. 24 on gender identity, equality and non-discrimination for same-sex couples, a ground-breaking decision for the advancement of LGBTI rights in the Americas. However, the adverse effect it had on the recent presidential elections in Costa Rica may jeopardise this achievement. The Advisory Opinion was requested by…

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Venezuela denounces American Convention on Human Rights

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has given notice of its intention to withdraw in a year’s time from the leading regional human rights treaty in the Americas, with the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) having confirmed receipt of the notice of denunciation here: (Rumours back in July had suggested that Venezuela…

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More Human Rights Reforms Under Discussion

Readers interested in reform within the international human rights system, including the reform of the UN human rights treaty monitoring system previously discussed here, may be interested in yesterday’s announcement by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), adding a regional dimension to discussions. The IACHR serves as the focal point…

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