The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has filed the first sexual orientation-based discrimination case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The IACHR published the following press release:
IACHR TAKES CASE INVOLVING CHILE TO THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT
Washington, D.C., September 20, 2010 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a case involving Chile.
On September 17, 2010, the IACHR filed an application in the Karen Atala and daughters, which concerns the discriminatory treatment and arbitrary interference in the private and family life Karen Atala experienced due to her sexual orientation. In the Merits Report 139/09, the Commission concluded that the State of Chile was responsible for the discrimination against Karen Atala in the course of judicial process that resulted in the decision to deny her the care and custody of her daughters. The case also concerns the failure to observe the best interest of her daughters, whose custody and care the Commission considered were determined in violation to their rights. The case was referred to the Inter-American Court because the IACHR concluded the State did not comply with the recommendations contained in its Merits Report.
This is the first case that the Inter-American Commission decides on discrimination based on sexual orientation. This case will allow the Inter-American Court to decide for the first time on the incompatibility of this type of discrimination with the American Convention.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or reside.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, created in 1959, is primarily charged with the taskf promoting the observance and defense of human rights in the Americas. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was created in 1979. It is an autonomous judicial institution of the OAS whose task is to interpret and enforce the American Convention on Human Rights. Decisions from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights can be found here on the website of the Court and can also be found, along with select decisions from the IACHR, in the Oxford Reports on International Law - Human Rights module.
The Inter-American human rights system helps explain the differences between the commission and the court. We also have manuals on practice and procedure before the Court. In addition, we have a wealth of information about the Court and Commission in Spanish. Simply search the catalog for Inter-American Commission on Human Rights or Inter-American Court of Human Rights as subject headings.
---- Ryan Harrington