The United Nations human rights office today said it is disturbed by the severe financial crisis the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is facing, warning that the Commission's capacity to respond to victims of rights violations across the Americas may be seriously diminished if it doesn't receive the necessary funding in the coming weeks.
In a briefing note to reporters in Geneva earlier today, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said the Commission's pioneering work as an agent of constitutional, legislative and policy reform has had a strong impact on human rights in the region and beyond.
“It has provided a vital recourse for victims of human rights violations in the region and has played an important role in advocating for the rights of vulnerable groups,” the spokesperson said.
The Commission is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere. Created in 1959, it has headquarters in Washington, D.C., and is composed of seven independent members who serve in a personal capacity.
Ms. Shamdasani noted that the Commission is also a strategic partner for the UN Human Rights Offices in the region and a point of reference for the development of human rights standards worldwide.
Emphasizing that in recent years, the Commission has faced “undue pressure from a number of States,” the spokesperson urged States to reaffirm their commitment to human rights by providing the Commission with the required resources to fulfil its crucial mandate and, indeed, to strengthen the institution.
“The Commission's robust defence of human rights in the region should be encouraged – not punished,” the spokesperson said.