Regional Decisions: Inter-American Commission

Gonzalez and Fries v. Chile

(Admissibility Decision), Report No. 14/09

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights found petitioners’ claim, alleging that Chile unlawfully restricted the petitioners’ right to seek and receive bio-safety information and violated their right to participate in public affairs regarding these topics, admissible as an alleged violation of Articles 8 and 13  but inadmissible with regards to Article 23 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. Articles 8, 13, 23, and 25 of the American Convention recognize the right of American peoples to a fair trial, freedom of thought and expression (including the right to information), participation in governmental affairs, and judicial protection, respectively. The claim was held inadmissible with regards to Articles 23 and 25 because petitioners failed to fully substantiate their claims with respect to these articles.

Community of San Mateo de Huanchor (Peru)

Admissibility Decision, Report No. 69/04

The Inter-American Commission found petitioners’ claim, alleging that Peruvian authorities permitted the continuing use of a toxic waste dump near San Mateo that caused serious contamination and negative health effects, notwithstanding criminal and civil litigation orders to shut down the dump, admissible as an alleged violation of Articles 4, 5, 8, 17, 19, 21, 25, and 26 of the American Convention on Human Rights. Articles 4, 5, 8, 17, 19, 21, 25, and 26 recognize the right of American peoples to life, humane treatment, fair trial, family, rights of the child, property, judicial protection, and progressive development, respectively.

The Kichwa Peoples of the Sarayaku Community and Its Members (Ecuador)

Report No. 64/04

The Inter-American Commission found petitioners’ claim, alleging that the State permitted oil companies to carry on activities on the tribe’s ancestral land without consent resulting in damage to the Kichwa way of life, admissible as an alleged violation of Articles 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 of the American Convention on Human Rights but inadmissible as to Article 3. Articles 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 of the American Convention recognize the right of American peoples to life, humane treatment, personal liberty, fair trial, freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of thought and expression, freedom of association, rights of the child, property, freedom of movement and residence, political participation, equality, judicial protection, and health and culture, respectively. The Court held the claim inadmissible under Article 3, recognizing the right to a juridical personality, for insufficient factual information to support such a violation.

 

Maya Indigenous Communities of the Toledo District v. Belize

Report No. 40/04

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found petitioners’ claim, that Belize refused to recognize the Mayan form of communal land use and possession, granted logging and oil concessions on ancestral land resulting in environmental damage, and delayed processing of the tribe’s land claims to be a violation of Articles 2, 23, and 28 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Articles 2, 23, and 28 of the American Declaration recognize the right of American peoples to equality before the law, property, and fair trial, respectively. The Commission found the claim to be inadmissible under Articles 1, 3, 6, and 10, which recognize the right to life, religious freedom, family, and political participation, respectively. The Commission recommended that the State carry measures to delimit and demarcate the ancestral Mayan land and repair the environmental damage resulting from the logging concessions.

Mary and Carrie Dann v. The United States

Report No. 75/02

The Inter-American Commission found that the United States violated Article 2 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man by utilizing unfair procedures before the Indian Claims Commission (ICC) to appropriate the Shoshones’ ancestral lands and permitting gold prospecting activities within that territory. Additionally, the Commission found a violation of Articles 18 and 23 because the process before the ICC did not allow the petitioners to be fully informed or involved in the determination of the land title. Articles 2, 18, and 23 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man recognize the right of American peoples to equality under the law, fair trial, and property, respectively. The Commission recommended the United States to adopt the necessary legislative and administrative measures to ensure respect for the petitioners’ right to property.

Yanomami Indian Case (Brazil)

Resolution No. 12/85

The Inter-American Commission found that Brazil violated Articles 1, 8, and 9 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man by constructing a highway and allowing mining in traditional Yanomami territory, resulting in the introduction of diseases causing considerable death, notwithstanding a law giving ownership and exclusive rights of the territory to the indigenous people. Articles 1, 8, and 11 of the American Declaration recognize the right of American peoples to life, movement and residence, and preservation of health and well-being, respectively. The Commission recommended that Brazil take preventative and curative measures regarding the health of the tribe, demarcate the boundaries of the Yanomami property, and carry out educational, medical, and social integration programs with the consultation of the tribe.