Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 12.28.29 PMThe Interamerican Commission on Human Rights focuses on refugees

As part of the 149th period of the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, hearings were held in Washington, D.C. at the end of October on a variety of issues before this organ of the Organization of American States.

For the first time, a regional event on Refugee access to RSD was held, a move led by IDC members Asylum Access Ecuador, Sin Fronteras and other organizations. IDC contributed information on international and regional standards as well as detention practices and alternatives to detention in Latin America. Participants pressed for the need to guarantee non detention of asylum seekers, refugees and persons in need of international protection in the region, and expressed particular concern for the continued detention of asylum seekers in Canada, the US and Mexico. Although there is important precedent in the Interamerican Human Rights Court on detention and, significantly, a call for States to consider alternatives to immigration detention, to date there has been no regional or national report on this issue by the Commission.

With the upcoming commemoration of the Cartagena Declaration, during the hearing organizations also called for progress to be made regionally on the application of the broader refugee definition accepted in this agreement, as well as strengthening of refugee status determination procedures in Latin America and especially the Caribbean.

Both these issues, that of detention and alternatives, and regional progress under the Cartagena Declaration, will be pursued by IDC at a regional level, in conjunction with our members, during 2014. Organizations are welcomed to contact the IDC Americas office for further information or send relevant research on these topics.

Watch the full hearing in Spanish:  (detention mentioned minute 18- )