Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

16 April 2009

Amnesty International puts human rights on Americas Summit agenda

Amnesty International puts human rights on Americas Summit agenda
An Amnesty International delegation has arrived in Trinidad and Tobago to take part in the Summit of the Americas. At the four-yearly meeting 34 heads of state and government will discuss some of the key challenges facing the Americas region.

The summit – the fifth such regional encounter bringing together governments from every country in the Americas, except for Cuba – will discuss three principal issues: human prosperity, energy security and environmental sustainability.

The Amnesty International delegates will participate in the Civil Society forum to urge governments to put human rights at the centre of their discussions and the Declaration to be adopted at the Summit. The organization’s delegates will also participate in the parallel People’s Summit, where social and human rights movements, trade unions, Indigenous Peoples, women’s and environmental organizations will discuss their recommendations to governments.

"We are not convinced governments in the region have paid enough attention to human rights in the past. It is now time to bring human rights to the forefront and to stop leaving them as a second-class issue in the background," said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International's Canadian section, who is leading the organization’s three-person team in Trinidad and Tobago.

In particular, Amnesty International will emphasize the following points:
  • Public security laws and practices, including those dealing with terrorism and organized crime, should comply fully with human rights obligations, such as the right not to be arbitrarily detained, extrajudicially executed, tortured or subjected to enforced disappearance.
  • Governments should make an explicit commitment that all measures taken in response to the global economic crisis should protect the most vulnerable sectors of society from the impact of the crisis.
  • The negative impact of energy projects on people’s right to health, housing, food and livelihood and particularly on the land rights of the hemisphere’s Indigenous Peoples.
  • The need for strong legislation to hold corporations to account for their potentially negative impact on human rights.
  • The need for policies that put human rights considerations at the centre of both reversing and mitigating climate change.
When asked about his expectations for the Summit, Alex Neve said: " We believe there will be some results on human rights but the question is: will there be enough? We need governments to make very concrete commitments to improve human rights in the Americas for any real change to take place.

Talking about the importance and possible long-term impact of the Summit, Amnesty International’s Americas Director Susan Lee said:

"The rights of people living in slums, of Indigenous Peoples facing dislocation from their land, and of people caught-up in abusive public security laws must be unequivocally recognized and firmly protected. Human rights provide the blueprint for the 'secure future' the Declaration envisions for citizens of the Americas."

Cuba is the only country in the western hemisphere not invited to attend the Fifth Summit of the Americas. Amnesty International considers that its exclusion from the Summit is not helpful in achieving improved respect for human rights in Cuba. The organization has called on the USA to lift its economic embargo against Cuba, which is preventing Cubans from enjoying human rights such as adequate healthcare, education and housing and has called on the Cuban government to free prisoners of conscience and to respect the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Read More

Alex Neve, head of Amnesty International's team, blogging from the Summit
Americas: A secure future built on human rights for all: Recommendations to states in advance of the Fifth Summit of the Americas
(Briefing, 30 March 2009)
Cuba and the Fifth Summit of the Americas (Public Statement, 26 March 2009)

Issue

Activists 
Discrimination 
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 
Indigenous peoples 
Women 

Country

Anguilla 
Antigua & Barbuda 
Antilles 
Argentina 
Bahamas 
Barbados 
Belize 
Bermuda 
Bolivia 
Brazil 
Canada 
Cayman Islands 
Chile 
Colombia 
Costa Rica 
Cuba 
Dominica 
Dominican Republic 
Ecuador 
El Salvador 
Falkland Islands 
French Guiana 
Grenada 
Guadeloupe 
Guatemala 
Guyana 
Haiti 
Honduras 
Jamaica 
Martinique 
Mexico 
Montserrat 
Nicaragua 
Panama 
Paraguay 
Peru 
Puerto Rico 
St Kitts-nevis 
St Lucia 
St Vincent 
Suriname 
Trinidad & Tobago 
Turks & Caicos Islands 
Uruguay 
USA 
Venezuela 
Virgin Islands (UK) 
Virgin Islands (US) 

Region

Americas 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

19 August 2014

The World Bank endorsed the Lagos state government’s inadequate compensation package for thousands of people forcibly evicted from an informal settlement.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

19 August 2014

Court ruling directing the release of prisoner of conscience Irom Sharmila because there were no grounds for charging her with attempted suicide is a legal and moral victory... Read more »

06 August 2014

Ukrainian MP and former presidential candidate Oleg Lyashko has been “detaining” – in effect abducting – and ill-treating individuals across eastern Ukraine with total impunity... Read more »

19 August 2014

The resumption of Israeli air strikes and rocket fire from Gaza underscores the imperative need to grant human rights groups immediate access to monitor the situation.

Read more »