New Report: Human Rights Commission Calls for More Transparent Data on Violence Against Women in the Americas
Monday, November 30, 2015 1:00 PM

The Organization of American States released the following news release on November 20, 2015:

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published the report “Access to Information, Violence against Women, and the Administration of Justice in the Americas.” The report aims to provide an introduction to the challenges faced by women in the Americas in gaining adequate access to State-controlled information on violence and discrimination. It also seeks to systematize the international standards that have been developed in the inter-American system on this subject, and to identify good practices in the region with regard to the application of and compliance with those standards. 

The right of access to information is closely related to the exercise of other human rights, and in that sense, the failure to comply with the obligations of respecting and guaranteeing women’s free access to information can be understood to lead to various violations of their rights to live free from violence and discrimination.

The IACHR has observed that even in States with institutionalized mechanisms for gathering, processing, and producing information on violence against women, often that information is not adequately disseminated. Likewise, the IACHR has noted that there is a widespread lack of coordination in the region between the various systems that coexist in the States for gathering and producing information, for example records kept by free legal aid offices, data collected by observatories on violence or discrimination, and mechanisms for compiling judicial statistics.

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Access to information in the realm of the administration of justice is an area of special interest for the IACHR. It presents a number of challenges in terms of guaranteeing access to information as a right that facilitates access to justice for women victims of violence and discrimination. In this context, the IACHR notes that the following are priority challenges: ensuring access by women and their family members to information on their pending violence or discrimination cases; the availability of appropriate and sufficient free legal aid services; and access to interpreters and information in other languages for women who do not speak the official State language, among other challenges.

The IACHR underscores the importance of having public information on justice system operations, including data on the number of arrests, prosecutions, convictions, restraining orders, and judgments handed down; the amount of time it takes to decide cases; the gender makeup of the justice systems; the budgets allocated to judicial activities; and the internal accountability mechanisms.

This report was prepared by the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women, with technical assistance from the IACHR Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

See full text of news release at: IACHR Publishes Report: “Access to Information, Violence against Women, and the Administration of Justice in the Americas”, Organization of American States (November 20, 2015).