Sunday, August 21, 2011
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recently made public its report finding that the United States violated its obligations under the American Declaration on Human Rights by failing to protect a mother and her daughters from domestic violence. In Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States, the police failed to respond to Jessica Lenahan's repeated calls for help over several hours when her estranged husband took their children despite the fact that Ms. Lenahan had a restraining order against him. By the time the father was located, he had already killed the three girls. The Commission found that the United States had failed to take adequate measures to protect the girls' right to life under article I of the Declaration in conjunction with their right to special protection as girl children under article VII; and had failed to provide Ms. Lenahan with judicial protection under article XVIII of the Declaration because it failed to conduct a proper investigation into the incident. The Commission recommended that the US conduct a full and proper investigation and that it amend its laws to provide more effective protection for victims of domestic violence. The full report no. 80/11 may be found at www.OAS.org or by clicking here.