Americas: Inter-American system is crucial for guaranteeing human rights in the region

The Inter-American system is crucial for guaranteeing human rights in the Americas and must be protected, Amnesty International said today, in response to a recent statement signed by the governments of five South American countries.

“The statement signed by Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Chile is a major blow for the victims of human rights violations on our continent because it seeks to reduce the independence and autonomy of the organs of the Inter-American system”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“Instead of complying with its resolutions in good faith, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Chile are making another blatant attempt to weaken and shackle the Inter-American system”.

“The statement signed by Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Chile is a major blow for the victims of human rights violations on our continent because it seeks to reduce the independence and autonomy of the organs of the Inter-American system.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

Press releases issued by the foreign ministries of Chile and Paraguay on 23 and 24 April respectively indicated that the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Chile have delivered a statement on the Inter-American system to the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The statement says that, when taking action, the organs of the Inter-American system should take into account: the critical importance of the principle of subsidiarity; the measure of autonomy enjoyed by States “to decide the most appropriate way of ensuring rights and guarantees, in order to give effect to their democratic processes”; the strict application of the law in resolving cases brought to their attention; and consideration of the “political, economic and social realities of States”.

The IACHR and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IAHR Court) have played a leading role in guaranteeing human rights and fighting impunity at times of state repression and armed internal conflicts, and in cases of individual human rights violations. The latter has ensured that when States fail to investigate human rights violations committed on their territory, the victims can resort to an independent protection mechanism able to guarantee truth, justice, reparations and measures to promote non-repetition.

Instead of complying with its resolutions in good faith, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Chile are making another blatant attempt to weaken and shackle the Inter-American system.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

The validity and guarantee of human rights in the Americas assumes the presence of a robust, independent and autonomous Inter-American system able to assist anyone on the continent whose human rights are violated. States should therefore not make the operation of this mechanism subservient to its own interests in a way that threatens the rights of victims.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Duncan Tucker: duncan.tucker@amnesty.org