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INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS FINANCIAL CRISIS

“WE CANNOT LET IT GO BANKRUPT” – TWO KEY UN RIGHTS BODIES URGE CRUCIAL FUNDING FOR REGIONAL RIGHTS ORGAN
3 June 2016

GENEVA (Issued as received) – The two largest independent bodies and mechanisms in the United Nations human rights system* express their grave concern about the future of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) as it faces a financial crisis that threatens its existence.

The Coordination Committee of Special Procedures and the Chairpersons of Human Rights Treaty Bodies call on all Governments and human rights stakeholders in the Americas to provide the necessary funds to save one of the leading regional rights systems.


“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is in crisis, deep financial crisis. A crisis so acute that it was compelled to put on hold all the visits and the two sessions planned for later this year. In addition, 40 per cent of its staff in Washington will not have their contracts renewed at the end of July, unless funds or pledges are received by 15 June.

Such drastic measures will inevitably endanger the capacity of the Commission to effectively and independently implement its mandate.  

Should no solutions be found urgently, the impact on victims, petitioners and the broader civil society, as well as the whole human rights situation in the region, would be unmeasurable.

The IACHR is one of the oldest regional human rights bodies. It has developed over the years a solid mechanism for protecting hundreds of thousands of individuals against human rights violations. It has also provided invaluable guidance to States on how to promote and protect human rights.

All of this has no equivalent in monetary terms. States should value this much higher than the amount needed to avoid this unprecedented weakening of the IACHR.   

This will not only negatively affect the Inter-American region but also all those who have developed cooperation with the IACHR over the years, in particular other regional and international human rights protection systems.

The IACHR is a well-respected and valued partner for the UN human rights mechanisms, particularly Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies. The UN human rights mechanisms have taken crucial inspiration from the forward-looking and ground-breaking work of the IACHR and its unrelenting commitment in promoting and protecting human rights in the region.

The twenty-first century should be characterized by strong support from States, regional and universal organizations to international bodies for the protection of human rights, including the provision of sufficient human and material resources to effectively fulfill their mandate. No budgetary reason can justify the weakening of international and regional mechanisms that monitor human rights.

A strong and independent regional human rights mechanism is a key ally for the UN human rights protection system. The very fact that the IACHR is threatened in its core mandate and function by a financial crisis is unacceptable.

However, this crisis can be resolved.
  
We call on all States to urgently pledge the funds necessary for the IACHR, without any conditions, to resume its work for the benefit of all in the region, in line with their international and regional human rights obligations. We also call on other stakeholders to come forward with financial resources to support the Commission.

We simply cannot let it go bankrupt.”


(*) The UN human rights mechanisms:


‘Special Procedures’
-the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system- is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. For more information, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

The Human Rights Treaty Bodies
are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties. Each State party to a treaty has an obligation to take steps to ensure that everyone in the State can enjoy the rights set out in the treaty. There are ten human rights treaty bodies composed of independent experts of recognized compe­tence in human rights, who are nominated and elected for fixed renewable terms of four years by State parties. The experts are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.  Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/Pages/TreatyBodies.aspx  

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HR16/211E