Reforms to Inter-American System must fully protect victims – UN rights chief

21 March 2013

A United Nations senior official today stressed that reforms to the Inter-American System for protection of human rights must not weaken its capacity to protect victims.

“In every country, in the entire American continent, all victims of human rights violations must be protected,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, stressed on the eve of a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. to vote on proposed reforms to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

“I encourage OAS Member States to seize this opportunity in the reform process to strengthen its exemplary human rights system, by promoting universal access for citizens throughout the continent, respecting the Commission’s autonomy to progressively improve its policy and practice in response to the needs of victims and concerns of Member States, and providing the necessary resources to allow for an even greater contribution to safeguarding human rights in the Americas.”

Created by the OAS in 1959, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights aims to promote and protect human rights in the American continent, and to act as a consultative body to the organization in this area.

“During the past five decades, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has been a beacon of hope in the American continent, providing recourse to countless victims of human rights violations, consolidating democratic institutions and inspiring the development of human rights machinery worldwide,” Ms. Pillay said.

She added that the Inter-American system and the universal human rights system have increasingly been working together and complemented each other to maximise human rights protection and prevent abuses.


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