Regional Decisions: Inter-American Commission

Tagaeri and Taromenani Indigenous Peoples v. Ecuador

(Admissibility Decision), Report No. 96/14

On May 4, 2006, the petitioners filed a petition claiming that the State has failed to adopt effective mechanisms to protect the existence of the Tagaeri and Taromenani indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation and in their ancestral territory.  They claim that these peoples have suffered acts of violence and killings, including massacres in May 2003 and April 2006 that were allegedly committed by illegal loggers and members of the Waorani indigenous people.  In particular, the application alleged that on April 26, 2006, in the Cononaco Chico sector of the Yasuni National Park, as many as thirty Taromenanis were killed by illegal loggers.  The petition “contended that the incident was related to illegal logging activities and to the absence of effective measures taken by the State to control logging and to prevent attacks on the peoples in isolation and their ancestral territory.”  On May 10, 2006, the Commission asked Ecuador to adopt effective measures to protect the lives and physical integrity of the members of the peoples and to adopt the measures necessary to protect the territory they inhabit, including the steps necessary to prevent the entry of third parties.”  On Sept. 11, 2013, and May 9, 2014, Ecuador indicated to the Commission its belief that the precautionary measures are not provided for in the American Convention or the Commission Statute and “therefore the State will not recognize any of those measures or issue a response in their regard.”

In this decision, the Commission rules that the petition is admissible as regards its claims based on articles 4 (right to life), 8 (right to a fair trial), 19 (rights of the child), 21 (right to property), 24 (right to equal protection), 25 (right to judicial protection), and 26 (progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights) of the American Convention.  It rules that the petition is not admissible regarding the alleged violations of articles 3 (right to recognition) and 23 (right to participate in government).

People of Quishque-Tapayrihua v. Peru

(Admissibility Decision), Report No. 62/14

On Feb. 28, 2003, the Commission received a petition from the National Coordinator of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining on behalf of 54 inhabitants of Quishque-Tapayrihua, in the district of Tapairihua, Apurima, claiming that the State of Peru granted Southern Peru Copper Corporation a mining concession on lands traditionally inhabited by the Quishque community.  The petition claims that since 1996, through its “Los Chancas” mining project, the Southern Peru Copper Corporation, without first consulting the local communities, has conducted prospecting and mining activities that have harmed the inhabitants’ access to drinking water and other natural resources, and have destroyed crops, schools, and archaeological sites.  The petition alleges that the activities caused the pollution of the Negropuguio River basin and the Quishque spring, on which the Quishque-Tapayrihua community depended.  The Commission concludes that the petition is admissible regarding the claims under articles 5 (right to physical, mental and moral integrity), 8 (right to a fair trial), 12 (freedom of conscience and religion), 13 (freedom of thought and expression), 19 (rights of the child), 21 (right to property), 22 (freedom of movement), 23 (right to participate in government), 24 (equal protection), 25 (judicial protection, and 26 (progressive development of economic, social and cultural rights) of the American Convention, and as regards Article 13 (right to education) of the Additional (San Salvador) Protocol to the American Convention.

Communities of the Sipakepense and Mam Mayan People v. Guatemala

(Admissibility Decision), Report No. 20/14

The petition, which was received on Dec. 11, 2007, alleges that the State of Guatemala authorized the Marlin Mine I project without free, prior and informed consultation with the affected indigenous communities, which has allegedly caused grave consequences, including the contamination of the Tzala River and its tributaries, the only sources of water for consumption and subsistence activities.  They allege that a large number of inhabitants, mainly children, have suffered from health problems as a result of the water pollution.  The Commission finds the petition admissible in relation to the claims arising under articles 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 9 (freedom from ex post facto laws), 13 (freedom of thought and expression), 19 (rights of the child), 21 (right to property), 23 (right to participate in government), 24 (equal protection), and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention, and inadmissible in relation to the claims arising under articles 11 (right to privacy) and 26 (progressive development of economic, social and cultural rights).

Aymara Indigenous Community v. Chile

(Admissibility decision), Report No. 29/13

The petitioners filed a complaint on Nov. 21, 2006, alleging that the State of Chile had deprived the Community of its rights in a spring called the Socavon de Chusmiza, by granting the water rights to a corporation.  The Commission decided that the claims based on articles 8 (right to a fair trial), 21 (right to property), 22 (freedom of movement), 24 (right to equal protection), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention were admissible.

Maho Indigenous Community v. Suriname

(Admissibility Decision), Report No. 9/13

This petition, which was originally filed on Dec. 16, 2009, alleged that the State has granted concessions and permits to third parties to allow them to exploit the territory and natural resources that the Maho Community has traditionally occupied and used.  On Oct. 27, 2010, the Commission granted a precautionary measure asking the State to ensure that the Maho Community is able to survive on the territory reserved for it by the State and to prevent any intrusion by persons outside the community, until the Commission decides the merits.  In the admissibility decision, the Commission decided that the Community’s claims based on articles 3 (right to recognition), 5(1) (right to physical, mental, moral integrity), 13 (freedom of thought and expression), 21 (right to property), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention were admissible, and that the claim based on article 4(1) (right to life) was not admissible.

 

Raposa Serra Do Sol Indigenous People (Brazil)

(Admissibility Decision), Report No. 125/10,

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found petitioners’ claim, that presence of non-indigenous people on Raposa Serra Do Sol has led to severe environmental degradation affecting their right to life, integrity and a healthy environment, admissible as to alleged violations of Article 4, 5, 8, 12, 21, 22, 24, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. Articles 4, 5, 8, 12, 21, 22, 24, and 25 of the American Convention recognize the right of American peoples to life, humane treatment, fair trial, freedom of conscience and religion, property, freedom of movement and residence, equal protection, and judicial protection, respectively.

Mossville Environmental Action Now v. United States

Report No. 43/10

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found petitioners’ claim, that Mossville residents were suffering from health problems caused by pollution released from fourteen industrial facilities that were granted permits to operate in the area, admissible as to alleged violations of Articles 2 and 5 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Article 2 and 5 of the American Declaration recognize the right of American peoples to equality before the law and protection of honor, personal reputation, and private family life, respectively. The Commission determined that petitioners’ claims under Articles 1, 9, 11, and 23, which recognize the right of to life, inviolability of home, preservation of health, and property, respectively, were inadmissible due to lack of evidence presented.

Ngobe Indigenous Communities v. Panama

Report No. 75/09

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held that petitioners’ claim, alleging that the State ordered the construction of a hydroelectric dam on Ngobe ancestral land without consent, resulting in damage to the land and the Ngobe way of life, admissible as an alleged violation of Articles 5, 7, 8, 13, 19, 21, 22, 23, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. Articles 5, 7, 8, 13, 19, 21, 22, 23, and 25 of the American Convention recognize the right of American peoples to humane treatment, personal liberty, fair trial, freedom of thought and expression, rights of the child, property, freedom of movement and residence, participation in the government, and judicial protection, respectively.

Community of La Oroya (Peru)

(Admissibility Decision), Report No. 76/09

The Inter-American Commission found petitioners’ claim, that Peru allowed a metallurgic plant to operate causing serious pollution and contamination resulting in illness and death of residents, admissible as an alleged violation of Articles 4, 5, 8, 13, 19, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. Articles 4, 5, 8, 13, 19, and 25 of the American Convention recognize the right of American peoples to life, humane treatment, fair trail, freedom of thought and expression, rights of the child, and judicial protection, respectively. The Court held the claim to be inadmissible as an alleged violation of Article 11, recognizing the right to privacy, after consideration of the factual events proffered.

Kuna of Madungandi and Embera of Bayano Indigenous Peoples and Their Members (Panama)

Report No. 58/09

The Inter-American Commission concluded that petitioners’ claim, alleging that Panama’s construction of a dam in their ancestral lands led to flooding and constituted a violation of their collective rights, is admissible as an alleged violation of Article 21, and further retained the possibility of admissibility under the principle of iura novit curia as an alleged violation of Articles 8,  24, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, to be determined in the merit stage. As to admissibility under Articles 4, 7, 10, 12, 17, and 19 of the Convention, the Court ruled the claim inadmissible due to lack of sufficient information. Articles 21, 8, 24, and 25 of the American Convention recognize the right of American peoples to property, fair trial, equal protection and judicial protection, while Articles 4, 7, 10, 12, 17, and 19 recognize the right to life, personal liberty, compensation in the event of a miscarriage of justice, freedom of conscience and religion, family, and rights of the child, respectively.