Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Issued Precautionary Measures for Detained Persons in the U.S. on Death Row so far in 2022

By Manni Jandernoa, rising 2L at St. Louis University School of Law

Since the start of 2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has granted precautionary measures for three Americans sentenced with the death penalty who were at “serious and urgent risk of irreparable harm to [their] rights.” When the IACHR grants precautionary measures, the Commission “aims to safeguard the rights at risk “...until the Commission makes an eventual decision on “whether or not there were violations of human rights. In this regard, precautionary measures enable the State concerned to comply with the final recommendations made by the IACHR.” All three Americans who were granted precautionary measures had execution dates set in 2022. The IACHR also continues to maintain its stance in support of the abolition of the death penalty, as explained in their 2011 report.The three precautionary measures are enumerated below:

Resolution No. 12/22 PM 74-22 – Richard Eugene Glossip, United States

The IACHR issued precautionary measures for Richard Eugene Glossip on March 3, 2022. According to the allegations reported in the related press release, Glossip has been held in Oklahoma  for 23 years in solitary confinement on death row. It is further alleged in the press release that Glossip “was not adequately represented during the criminal trials against him,  claiming negligence by his legal defense in not carrying out an exhaustive investigation into the alleged crimes he was charged with, as well as lack of location of witnesses, non-collection of relevant records and documents, and little performance of cross-examination.”

Resolution No. 10/22 PM 1170-21 – Melissa Lucio, United States

Melissa Lucio’s execution date was set in Texas for April 27, 2022. The IACHR issued precautionary measures for Lucio on February 18, 2022, and further issued a press release on April 22, 2022, urging the United States to withdraw her death penalty. At that time, Lucio had been held in solitary confinement for fourteen years. Ultimately, related or not to the IACHR’s actions, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals granted Lucio a stay of execution. Following the stay of execution, the IACHR issued a press release welcoming the decision. This decision made by the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals also orders the trial court to review four claims to determine whether a new trial should be granted: “that the conviction is based on the use of false and scientifically invalid testimony by the State, that new scientific evidence undermines her conviction, that the State suppressed information favorable to Lucio, and that she is truly innocent.”

Resolution No. 22/22 PM 331-22 – Clarence Wayne Dixon, United States

Clarence Wayne Dixon was issued precautionary measures on May 10, 2022, with an execution date set for May 11, 2022, in Arizona. The related press release recounted the allegations that Dixon is “a person of Navajo origin, who suffers from multiple mental and physical health conditions, such as paranoid type schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, glaucoma with secondary blindness, among others.” Further, it was alleged in the request for precautionary measures that Dixon faced “violations of several of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man particularly in relation to access to justice, due process, and adequate defense.”  Before the IACHR could reach a decision on the allegations, Dixon was executed on May 11th, 2022, prompting a  from the IACHR. condemnation from the IACHR.

July 7, 2022 in IACHR | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 6, 2022

News: IACHR Statement on the Mass Shooting at Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States

On June 1, 2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released this statement condemning the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people—19 children and two teachers—lost their lives. In the face of this tragedy, the IACHR sent its condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to survivors of the shooting and to anyone who may have been affected by these events. The IACHR urged the federal authorities and the state of Texas to comprehensively investigate what happened and its underlying causes and take immediate legislative action to prevent gun violence.

The IACHR noted that the shooting in Uvalde happened just 10 days after the one in Buffalo, New York, where a man attacked a supermarket in a predominantly African American community and killed 10 people.  Additionally, the IACHR noted with particular concern that according to Gun Violence Archive—an independent research and data collection organization—, during 2021, 690 indiscriminate mass shootings occurred, that resulted in multiple murders and injuries. So far in 2022, at least 213 events of this nature have been recorded.

The IACHR noted that the current federal administration has adopted measures to control gun violence, mainly through the implementation of executive orders. In this context, the Commission reiterated its call on the U.S. government to adopt urgent and effective legislative measures, to eradicate the series of armed violence in the country, such as effective gun control. It has been noted that many scientific studies, conducted over several decades and comparatively, show that factors that lead to violent environments include easy access to firearms and therefore, a high number of weapons in the hands of individuals.

In order to prevent human loss, the IACHR stated that it is essential for the United States to implement more restrictive laws to control the possession and carrying of weapons. This includes restrictions concerning assault weapons, like the AR-15 type rifle used in this and other attacks, including the one that took place on October 1, 2017 in Nevada. Further, the IACHR urged the U.S. to take effective action to enable greater supervision of the issuance of licenses, registration requirements, and access to ammunition.

To read the IACHR's full statement, visit https://www.oas.org/en/IACHR/jsForm/?File=/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2022/122.asp.

June 6, 2022 in Guns, IACHR | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 13, 2021

Event: 12/16 First Ever IACHR Thematic Hearing on the right to housing in the United States

On Thursday, December 16th at 14:00-15:30 ET, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a hearing on the right to housing in the United States. Participants include the Center for Human for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law has convened a delegation of experts working to combat the criminalization of homelessness in the United States, including advocates from the National Homelessness Law Center, the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Southern California, and California-based NGO Reach for the Top.   Directly impacted people from across the country will also testify to the Commission, calling attention to human rights violations and offering emerging better practices.

The hearing is virtual and open to the public; click here to register.  Further information on the IACHR’s hearings, schedule, and registration is available here

December 13, 2021 in Homelessness, IACHR | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 25, 2021

IACHR 181st Period of Sessions

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is current holding its 181st Period of Sessions virtually from October 18th until October 29th of 2021. 

 To view the hearings, pre-registration is required: https://oas.org/en/iachr/sessions/calendario.asp?S=181. All times are listed in United States Eastern Standard Time.

Tip: look for the registration link Registrationnext to each hearing listed on the website.

 

Some of the upcoming hearings that might be of interest to our readers include: 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021:

16:00 – 17:30: Protection of people in Human Mobility in the United States, Mexico, and the Northern Central America

Wednesday, October 27, 2021:

9:00 – 10:30: Use of surveillance technologies and their impact on freedom of expression in the context of the pandemic in the region.

Thursday, October 28, 2021:

14:00 – 15:30: Human rights situation of persons deprived of liberty in the Americas.

For basic information and guidelines about the proceedings and hearings, please visit https://oas.org/en/iachr/jsForm/?File=/en/iachr/sessions/coverage.asp.

October 25, 2021 in IACHR | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights News

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has announced that the 180th Period of Sessions (June 21-July 2nd) will be again held virtually.  The portal for requesting hearings and working meetings for the 180th Period of Sessions is open until April 21, 2021.  Information available here.

In other news, the United States has nominated human rights law professor Alexandra Huneeus for the position of Commissioner on the IACHR for the 2022-2025 term.  The United States has nominated Ms. Alexandra Huneeus, J.D., Ph.D., for the position of Commission on the IACHR for the 2022-2025 term.  Her CV is available here and the nomination letter from the U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS is available here.

Thank you to Professor Sarah Paoletti for this info!

April 18, 2021 in IACHR, Lauren Bartlett | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Event: IACHR Hearing on Internet Content Moderation and the Freedom of Expression in the Americas

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is in the middle of its 179th Period of Sessions, which is being held again in an all-virtual format.  While there are no hearings scheduled this week focusing solely on the US, of interest may be the hearing on "Internet content moderation and freedom of expression in the Americas" scheduled for Thursday March 25, 2021, from 2-3:30pm ET. This hearing was called by the IACHR on its own initiative (an ex officio hearing).

To register to watch the virtual hearing on Internet Content Moderation, visit: https://cidh-org.zoom.us/j/85942567179?pwd=SWY1cTVTOUp6MmhyTjR6bFNPZTV1Zz09

March 21, 2021 in IACHR, Lauren Bartlett | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Police Violence Against Afro-Descendants in the United States

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recently issued its report on police violence against African Americans in the United States.   Approved in November 2018, the report assesses structural discrimination against African-Americans with a particular focus on "deepseated racial disparities in policing and the criminal justice system".  The IACHR notes that concerns that the long-standing violence against African Americans raises a larger concern with US failure to enforce international human rights norms.  

The report goes beyond assessment of violation of individual civil and human rights. The report includes a history of the race discrimination in the US as well as examining "modern structural discrimination" and over-policing.  

The IACHR press release notes that the report's "conclusions are perhaps most succinctly expressed in a note on the cover art, which reads, “the United States has systematically failed to adopt preventive measures and to train its police forces to perform their duties in an appropriate fashion. This has led to the frequent use of force based on racial bias and prejudice and tends to result in unjustified killings of African Americans.”

 

March 28, 2019 in Criminal Justice, IACHR, Margaret Drew, Police, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)