En la revista Human Rights Law Review (No. 11:2) Judith Schönsteiner, Alma Beltrán y Puga y Domingo A. Lovera, investigadores del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Diego Portales, publicaron el artículo titulado Reflections on the Human Rights Challenges of Consolidating Democracies: Recent Developments in the Inter-American System of Human Rights. Este es la introducción del artículo:
“Since democracies in the Americas began to consolidate themselves, the improvement in their human rights record2 is reflected in the petitions and cases that reach the international human rights systems. In the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAS), the diversification of topics is apparent: there are more and new human rights issues at stake, as well as more petitions and new types of claimants bringing them. While until the late 1990s, the majority of petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (‘the Commission’ or IAComHR) dealt with massacres, extrajudicial executions and arbitrary killings occurring during authoritarian regimes, since the early 2000s, issues like political participation, unfair dismissal, rape by public officials and private persons, wire-tapping, and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation have been brought before the IAS in much greater proportion. This does not mean that transitional justice is not any more an issue in the IAS: in 2010, three cases on amnesty laws were before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’or IACtHR), and in 2008 and 2009 several cases on disappearances, massacres and torture that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s were decided against Guatemala and Bolivia.
In the IAS, the Commission chooses the cases that are referred to the Court. It also determines the speed at which cases are processed, grants precautionary measures, requests provisional measures to be ordered by the Court and decides whether a case is admissible or inadmissible. Outside the system of petitions, the Commission can set thematic priorities for its so-called political mechanisms as stipulated in Article 41 of the American Convention on Human Rights (‘the American Convention’) regarding hearings, on-site visits and thematic and country reports.
When exercising these roles, despite constant budget constraints, the Commission has been able to address systemic and structural violations in the recently consolidated democracies in the continent. For example, it has awarded a series of provisional measures in favour of persons deprived of liberty, addressing poor prison conditions especially in Venezuela and Argentina and in juvenile detention centres in Brazil. A major focus of the Commission’s work in 2009 and 2010 was the coup d’état in Honduras, and the ensuing human rights violations. The Commission undertook on-site visits, regularly gave information about the human rights situation in Honduras through its press releases and issued a long series of precautionary measures in favour of politicians, journalists, justice officials and human rights defenders.
It is impossible in the short overview that follows of the work of the Commission and the Court between 2006 and 2010 to cover all that they have achieved. Therefore, three themes for each of the Commission and the Court respectively have been chosen to show the recent developments of international human rights law in the Americas. These areas have been chosen as they reflect the major jurisprudential developments and the major institutional changes. In the case of the Commission, these are freedom of expression; discrimination on grounds of gender and sexual orientation; and human rights with regard to large-scale economic activities of private actors. For the Court, they are privacy and access to information; violence against women; and property rights of indigenous and afro-descendant peoples. Finally, the article takes stock of the recent procedural and institutional reforms in the IAS.”