Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled on April 7, 2010 that discrimination against a parent in a child custody dispute because of his or her sexual orientation violates the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission's ruling came in a case brought against Chile by Karen Atala. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Chile ruled that Karen's children could be removed from her custody because she is a lesbian. The Inter-American Commission's ruling repudiates that Chilean Supreme Court decision.
The decision is not publicly available (it was given only to the parties), and Chile is now considering how to respond to the ruling. The case is described in a bulletin issued by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Click here to read that bulletin and to see links to other information about the case.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an autonomous body within the Organization of American States (OAS). The Commission was created to promote observance of human rights in the Americas. It consists of seven Commissioners, elected by the General Assembly of the OAS, and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Commissioners are independent human rights experts whose role is primarily to investigate and monitor human rights violations, promote public education about human rights, and resolve violations in a collaborative way as between the individual and the state. It is not a judicial body, as such but it can refer cases to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Hat tip to Paula Ettelbrick and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.