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Status of the Study by the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights on Citizen Security and Human Rights Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Avance.

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Presentation on theme: "Status of the Study by the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights on Citizen Security and Human Rights Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Avance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Status of the Study by the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights on Citizen Security and Human Rights Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Avance del estudio de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre seguridad ciudadana y derechos humanos

2 The relationship between human rights and citizen security in the Americas has been a constant in the work of the IACHR (in hearings during its sessions, the petition system and precautionary measures, thematic reports, and specific reports issued following on-site visits to various countries of the region).

3 Purpose of the Report To propose recommendations to the member states to help improve institutions, laws, policies, programs, and practices regarding crime and violence prevention and control. To identify international human rights standards in relation to citizen security, in accordance with the provisions of international human rights law, particularly the instruments of the inter-American system.

4 Preparation of the Report Hearing on October 14, Presentation of a concept document by nongovernmental organizations. Consideration of the drafting of a thematic report by the IACHR IACHR decision to prepare the report Meeting of experts in Washington, D.C., on May 30 (technical and methodological aspects) December 2007: Questionnaire to member states and nongovernmental organizations

5 Cooperation Agreement With the Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Inclusion of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)

6 Second meeting of experts (Bogotá, September 18, 2008) Subregional consultations with representatives of member states, nongovernmental organizations, and experts: Southern Cone (Asunción, Paraguay, November 2008); Central America, Caribbean, and Mexico (San José, Costa Rica, March 2009); Andean countries (Bogotá, March 2009) Analysis of advances made in this regard in research, studies, and other academic work in the region

7 Need to Define the Concept of “Citizen Security” In order to determine the source of member state obligations under international human rights instruments. The international human rights legal system does not specifically embody the right to security in cases of crime or interpersonal or social violence.

8 Source of the State’s International Obligations Integrated body of rights made up of rights that must be guaranteed because of their special vulnerability in the face of violent or criminal acts and whose prevention and control are the objective of citizen security policies In particular: the right to life, the right to physical integrity, the right to liberty, the right to the peaceful use of property (without prejudice to the other rights examined in the report)

9 The definition of citizen security is at times overly broad (incorporating the guarantee of other human rights) and at other times overly restrictive (limiting itself to action by the state’s system for police and judicial control). Moreover, different terms are used to refer to the subject of the study (“public security,” “human security,” “law and order,” etc.)

10 Citizen Security This is the most appropriate concept to address the problems of crime and violence from a human rights perspective. Because it focuses the topic on the development of higher levels of democratic citizenship. Because it clearly indicates that the main objective of the policies established in this regard is the individual, and not state security or the security of a specific political system.

11 Definition of Citizen Security Adopted in the Report A situation in which people can live free from the threats generated by violence and crime, and in which the state has the necessary capacity to guarantee and protect the human rights directly jeopardized by those threats. From a human rights perspective, it is a situation in which people can live free from the violence perpetrated by state and non-state actors. In this context, citizen security is one of the dimensions of human security, a guarantee of human development.

12 Citizen Security in the Americas Structural adjustment policies began, as of the 1980s, to lead to a marked deterioration in the government’s role as a guarantor of the pact on social harmony and triggered profound cultural changes, primarily with regard to a restructuring of social and personal relations. This cultural transformation is one of the factors that have had the greatest impact on citizen security in the countries of the region, which have some of the world’s highest rates of crime and violence, with young people the primary victims and perpetrators. Moreover, crimes against property or theft, which generally affect middle-income and low-income sectors, have risen steadily.

13 Traditional citizen security policies in the Hemisphere have been characterized by their isolation from international human rights standards. This has happened with the two most representative models of these policies: the repressive model and the denial model. Both models agree on negating the possibility of implementing citizen security policies from an effective human rights approach.

14 Repressive Model Characterized by the implementation of “zero tolerance” or “heavy-handed” strategies. Ineffective in lowering crime rates; on the contrary they have led to increased social violence and have become a source of human rights violations. Impunity and development of criminal power structures.

15 Denial Model Posits that problems of insecurity in the face of crime and violence do not exist objectively (they are merely a fabrication of society’s most conservative power groups). The relationship between human rights and citizen security is limited exclusively to an indication of the negative obligations of states, with attention given to the restrictions they must respect in implementing security policies.

16 Citizen Security Matters in the Americas as Human Rights Problems Consideration of the scope of the obligations to respect, protect, and guarantee these human rights internationally assumed by the member states: Negative obligations (or obligations to refrain from acting or interfering in the enjoyment of specific rights) Positive obligations (or obligations to act or take measures), which may involve not only relations between persons and the state but also relations among persons or groups of persons in a democratic society

17 The report evaluates the actions of member states in terms of whether or not they contribute to protecting and guaranteeing the body of human rights jeopardized in the face of situations of crime and violence, for which the entire government apparatus must be organized and the corresponding measures taken with regard to laws, rules, and regulations as well as institutional procedures.

18 In this Context: Any limitations or restrictions that can be legally imposed on the exercise of specific human rights must be applied in light of international standards, as a guide and at the same time as an inviolable limit for government intervention. The design, implementation, and assessment of citizen security policies in the region must be defined by the context of international human rights principles, especially the principles of participation, accountability, and nondiscrimination.

19 Public Citizen Security Policy Understood as the guidelines or courses of action that are established by government officials to achieve an established goal and help create or alter the conditions in which the individuals and groups that make up society operate. An instrument for member states to meet their obligations to protect and guarantee human rights, taking into account the various dimensions of the problems caused by crime and violence, by means of a comprehensive approach to said problems.

20 The positive obligations assumed by states require states to create public citizen security conditions that envisage, as a matter of priority, the functioning of an efficient institutional structure that guarantees the people the effective exercise of human rights related to crime and violence prevention and control.

21 Difficulties Noted Care for victims of violence and crime Privatization of security services Citizen security governance Professionalization and modernization of police forces Intervention of armed forces in citizen security activities

22 The report specifically analyzes the following human rights that are related in particular to public citizen security policy and the negative and positive obligations incumbent on the member states to protect and guarantee them: Right to life Right to physical integrity Right to personal liberty and security Right to the peaceful enjoyment of property It also examines: the right to procedural guarantees and judicial protection, the right to privacy and to the protection of honor and dignity, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly and association, and the right to participate in matters of public interest.

23 Conclusions Specific recommendations to the member states

24 Thank you very much. RM00044E


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