Sunday, November 22, 2015

IACHR Publishes Report on "Access to Information, Violence Against Women, and the Administration of Justice in the Americas

The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a report titled, Access to Information, Violence Against Women and Administration of Justice.  According to an IACHR press release:

"The report aims to provide an introduction to the challenges faced by women in the Americas in gaining adequate access to State-controlled information on violence and discrimination. It also seeks to systematize the international standards that have been developed in the inter-American system on this subject, and to identify good practices in the region with regard to the application of and compliance with those standards.

The right of access to information is closely related to the exercise of other human rights, and in that sense, the failure to comply with the obligations of respecting and guaranteeing women’s free access to information can be understood to lead to various violations of their rights to live free from violence and discrimination.

The IACHR has observed that even in States with institutionalized mechanisms for gathering, processing, and producing information on violence against women, often that information is not adequately disseminated. Likewise, the IACHR has noted that there is a widespread lack of coordination in the region between the various systems that coexist in the States for gathering and producing information, for example records kept by free legal aid offices, data collected by observatories on violence or discrimination, and mechanisms for compiling judicial statistics."

The IACHR has identified effective domestic implementation of international legal standards as a priority. According to the IACHR, "although the vast majority of countries in the region have constitutional and/or legal regulations in place on this matter, concrete information about the practical implementation and effectiveness of those regulations is not available, which makes it difficult to evaluate the level of compliance with State obligations." 

With respect to access to information in the realm of the administration of justice, the IACHR has identified the following are priority challenges: ensuring access by women and their family members to information on their pending violence or discrimination cases; the availability of appropriate and sufficient free legal aid services; and access to interpreters and information in other languages for women who do not speak the official State language, among other challenges.

The IACHR urges the Member States of the Organization of American States to adopt measures to guarantee the availability of high-quality free legal aid services, the training of justice operators and other public employees who are involved with violence-related issues, and the implementation of action protocols for cases in which violence is imminent. The Commission also reiterates its willingness to work with the States in their efforts in this sphere of protection which is so essential for women to be able to fully exercise their rights.


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IACHR is the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, not International Commission on Human Rights as incorrectly stated in this post.

Posted by: IntLawyer | Nov 24, 2015 12:40:44 AM

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