Nº 1/01



On Thursday, February 1 and Friday, February 2, 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the "Commission") will hold its first seminar on the Inter-American System on the Protection of Human Rights in the Caribbean Region in St. George's, Grenada at the invitation of the Government of Grenada. The seminar will be held in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, San Jose, Costa Rica, the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, United Kingdom, and the Caribbean Human Rights Network (Caribbean Rights), Barbados.

The Commission’s delegation is composed of: Commissioners Dr. Peter Laurie, Lic. Marta Altolaguirre, and Professor Robert Goldman; Dr. David Padilla, Assistant Executive Secretary; Dr. Relinda Louisy Eddie, Senior Human Rights Attorney; Dr. Brian Tittemore, Human Rights Attorney; Dr. Eric Rudge, Romulo Gallego Fellow; and Ms. Gloria Hansen, Administrative Assistant.   

Panelists invited to participate in the seminar include: Hon. Patrick Robinson, former Chairman of the Commission and Judge with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; Ambassador John S. Donaldson, former Chairman of the Commission; Dr. Jean Joseph Exumé, Attorney at Law and former Commissioner; the Hon. Senator Lawrence Joseph, Attorney General of Grenada and Minister Responsible for Labour; Judge Monica Joseph, Chair of the Grenada Public Service Commission; Dennis Daly, Q.C, Barrister and Executive Secretary, Caribbean Rights; Lloyd Barnett, Esq., Barrister, President of the Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights and member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights; Nicholas Blake, Q.C., Barrister with Matrix Chambers, London; Mary M. Francis, Esq., Barrister and President of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, Inc.; Victor Cuffy, Esq., Barrister and President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association; Saul Lehrfreund, lawyer with Simons Muirhead & Burton, Solicitors in London; and Charles Moyer, Director of Administration and Finances, Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. 

Officials with the Government of Grenada who are expected to attend the Opening Session include: Hon. Keith C. Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada; Hon. Elvin Nimrod, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Local Government and Carriacou and Petite Martinique; and Hon. Lawrence Joseph, Senator, Attorney General of Grenada and Minister Responsible for Labour.  

These officials will be joined by members of the diplomatic corp in Grenada and other dignitaries from the region, including Chief Justice Sir Dennis Byron of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean Court, other members of the Judiciary, and members of the Eastern Caribbean Bar. 

Grenada was the eleventh State in the Americas and the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to deposit its instrument of ratification, on July 18, 1978, which brought the American Convention on Human Rights (the "American Convention") into force.

The aim of the seminar is to promote the inter-American treaties and procedures for protecting human rights in OAS member states, including the states of the Caribbean region. To this end, regional participants in the seminar are expected to include: attorneys-general; solicitors general; national human rights commissioners; parliamentary commissioners; ombudsmen; prosecutors; public defenders; judges; members of the Bar; law professors; law students; law enforcement officers; correctional officers; psychiatrists; physicians and physician assistants; inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations; and other members of relevant state institutions and civil society. 

The Commission is the principal organ of the OAS entrusted with the responsibility to promote, protect, and defend human rights in the Americas, and serves as a consultative organ to the OAS in these matters. The Commission derives its authority from the OAS Charter, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (the "Declaration"), the American Convention, and the Commission's Statute and Regulations. The Commission is comprised of seven Commissioners who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence. As part of its mandate, the Commission receives individual petitions alleging violations of the rights protected under the American Convention in respect of member states that have ratified that treaty, and of rights under the Declaration in respect of other member states of the OAS. The Commission also studies the human rights situation in the countries of the hemisphere, examines specific issues within its sphere of competence, and prepares and publishes corresponding reports.  

            The Commission wishes to thank and commend the Government of Grenada for hosting and facilitating this event. 

The Commission also extends its thanks to the Inter-American Institute, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Caribbean Rights for their collaboration in funding and organizing the seminar. 

 Washington, D.C., January 31, 2001[1] 


[1] For the Seminar program, please visit the Commission on the Internet at http://www.cidh.oas.org/