Amnesty International

Americas: Human rights are essential for a renewal of the region

If states in the Americas really want to see a genuinely renewed continent, they need to seek comprehensive solutions to the historic and structural problems of the region, focusing their efforts on guaranteeing and respecting human rights, said Amnesty International today in an open letter to the heads of state attending the 51st General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).

“The OAS will only achieve its vision of ‘a renewed America’ if states commit to putting human rights at the centre of any proposal to rebuild the region following the multiple crises exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“There is an urgent need to address the grave human rights crises facing the region, put an end to the repressive tendencies we have seen in several countries and address serious structural shortcomings in the region regarding economic, social and cultural rights.”

In light of the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Americas, Amnesty International urges states in the region to guarantee universal access to vaccines; ensure the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of medical centres and medicines for the whole population; and adopt laws and policies to ensure that pharmaceutical companies comply with human rights standards.

There is an urgent need to address the grave human rights crises facing the region

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

The organization also highlights the situation of migrants and refugees in need of international protection and the restrictive and often inhumane responses of various states in the region. It is particularly concerned about the mismanagement of the pandemic in Brazil, the violent repression of protests in Colombia, and the arbitrary detention of people perceived as opponents of the government during the pre-election period in Nicaragua, all examples of the worrying setbacks regarding human rights experienced in the region.

Finally, Amnesty International strongly urges OAS member states to take particular care when electing those who will make up the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, bearing in mind the guiding principles of transparency, impartiality, suitability, and the importance of having a strong commitment to the victims of human rights violations, their families and communities.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Duncan Tucker: [email protected]