The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR published its report “Protest and Human Rights” in December 2019. It appears timely when massive demonstrations are being held in the streets and squares across the region. The reasons behind the demonstrations vary, but the response of most governments is common: repression and human rights abuses. Peaceful protest remains a misunderstood right. This report aims to correct this situation by defining the inter-American standards applicable to protest and denouncing the criminalization of protest as an anti-human rights process.
It has been several decades since the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) began to address the situation of indigenous peoples in the region. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), since the mid-1980s, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, since the beginning of the 2000s, have adjudicated complaints and addressed the historical problems faced by indigenous peoples, especially in claims related to their lands, territories, and natural resources. The decisions of both bodies have created solid standards, especially on the subject of indigenous peoples’ property, with a level of detail that has been incorporated into other international human rights systems.
But never, until now, had the IAHRS looked beyond the state borders that separate these peoples, to adopt a comprehensive view of the biogeographic regions that they share, as is the case of the Pan-Amazon region. Such an approach is key because within this territory they share elements of their history and cosmovisión (worldview), as well as a contemporary reality marked by multiple patterns of rights violations that require joint efforts. The Report on the Situation of Human Rights of the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Pan-Amazon Region, which the IACHR presented a few days ago in Quito, Ecuador, is therefore both groundbreaking and timely.