Organizations present letter to President of the Permanent Council of the OAS
The document presents several requests on behalf of civil society regarding the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly, as well as considerations with respect to the full financing of the IACHR and the Inter-American Court.
02.November.2016

October 28, 2016

Her Excellency
Audrey Marks
President of the Permanent Council
Organization of American States

 

Her Excellency Audrey Marks:

Please accept a respectful salute on behalf of the Coalition of Organizations for the Human Rights of the Americas (hereafter “Coalition”). Through the present communication, we address you in relation to the Extraordinary General Assembly that will be carried out in Washington D.C on October 31, 2016, in which will be debated propositions to achieve the full financing of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereafter “IACtHR”) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereafter “IACHR”).

This session will be carried out following Resolution 2887, adopted in the last 46th General Assembly of the OAS, in which States committed to “achieve the full financing of the Court and the Commission through the Regular fund of the OAS”.

Consequently, we are conveying some requests regarding the holding of the next Extraordinary General Assembly, as well as considerations regarding the full financing of the IACHR and the IACtHR, in order for them to be known by the States representatives ahead of said Assembly. Through you, we request that this letter should get to the missions accredited to the Organization.

  1. Requests regarding the Extraordinary General Assembly and previous meetings

In the Permanent Council session held last October 19, the Ambassador of Mexico mentioned that from this day informal consultations would be held with the objective of coming back to the Council with a solution before October 31, 2016.

In that regard, due to the importance that this topic holds for the effective protection of human rights in this continent, and based on the principles of participation and transparency that must guide the actions of the OAS, we request that the propositions presented by the States on this topic be made public. In the same spirit, in order to avoid the limitations to the participation of civil society that occurred during the last General Assembly, in the Dominican Republic, we request that the OAS ensure the greatest possible participation to this Extraordinary General Assembly.

Additionally, addressing the difficulty most organizations for civil society, victims, and users of the Inter-American human rights system have to travel to Washington D.C. and in order to facilitate the follow-up of the topics from various parts of the continent, we request that this session be broadcasted through webcast.

  1. Considerations regarding the financing of the IACHR and the IACtHR

The IACHR and the IACtHR are the two main bodies for the promotion and protection of human rights in the region, with a scope of action reaching around 500 million of inhabitants. The two constitute the Inter-American System of Human Rights (hereafter “IASHR”), the only regional mechanism that supervises international obligations with regard to human rights of all the member countries of the OAS. Therefore, the IASHR constitutes the last line of defense against violations of human rights in the continent.

While in the past the General Assembly adopted resolutions committing to address the serious financial situation the IACHR and the IACtHR are experiencing, they did not result in a significant increase in resources that would allow both bodies to rely on adequate resources to carry out their mandates.

Given the commitment made by the States in the 46th General Assembly to seek mechanisms to achieve the full financing of the IASHR bodies, the organizations of the Coalition consider that the following principles should guide the next Extraordinary GA of October 31:

a) The solution to be adopted should take into account the universality and integrality of the IASHR. It involves that the increase in resources should come from every State of the OAS and that any promoted solution should be specifically oriented to fund the IACHR and the IACtHR. Hence, the budget destined to the IASHR should meet the needs and mandates of the IACHR and the IACtHR. In order to guarantee the integrality of the IASHR, the contributions should not be done jointly with other bodies or agencies of the OAS, involved in similar tasks of promotion or protection of human rights without being part of the independent monitoring system created by the institution.

b) The financing system adopted by the States should ensure the utmost respect of the independency and autonomy of the IACHR and the IACtHR. It is the own bodies which decide and determine their own work plans and activities based on their conventional mandates. To this effect, we observe that the IACHR has undertaken a review process of its 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, which is announced to be an open, transparent and participative process that will take place in the next months. Although in the future, States will be able to consider the financial requirements that the IACHR and IACtHR would explicitly state in their corresponding plans, in relation with results and planned activities, the adoption of an increase in the budget of the two bodies should not be conditioned by the presentation of such strategic plans. Indeed, the budget increase answers to an acute financial crisis that requires immediate response from the States in order for the IACHR and the IACtHR to carry out their work properly.

Furthermore, the States should consider that an adequate financing of the IASHR coming from the Regular Fund of the OAS, will contribute to strengthen the autonomy of the IACHR and the IACtHR as well, by not having to depend on voluntary contributions, that will keep on contributing to the work of the IASHR nevertheless but should not constitute the main sources of financing.

c) The financing model of the IASHR should be governed by the principle of viability and sustainability. Namely, States should adopt a solution that would ensure the proper operation of the IACHR and IACtHR, not only in the short term, but also in the medium and long term. In this respect, beyond the current crisis and the need for a substantial increase in the 2017 budget, a solution ensuring that an adequate percentage of the OAS Regular Fund goes to the IACHR and IACtHR should be established. Additionally, the financial sustainability of the human rights system benefits from the inputs of civil associations, universities, observing countries, local tribunals and others. It is vital that the IASHR sustain its strategy for seeking funds in a comprehensive manner and without limitations, beyond the decisions of bodies in the exercise of their power, taking into account the independency of the IASHR.

d) The financing system should preserve the integrity of the competences of the IACHR and the IACtHR. Thus, the financing model should not involve in any way a limitation or termination of functions that are an inherent part of their mandates. For example, by subjecting the contributions to the termination of thematic rapporteurships.

e) The entire discussion related to the full financing of the IACHR and the IACtHR should be guided by the principles of transparency and publicity. We appreciate the willingness of many representatives, members of the bodies and officials to keep open channels for dialogue. In this respect, we consider fundamental that the IASHR and the OAS adopt mechanisms ensuring that the discussion process on the topic be open and participative, and that the propositions and solutions reached become public.

We, the signatory organizations, reiterate the urgent and imperative need for the States to assume their responsibility to take charge of the IASHR, providing a sustainable financing solution that reflects their commitment to the respect and guarantees of human rights for every individual on the continent.

Regards,

 

Cc. James Cavallaro, President of the IACHR.

Cc. Roberto Caldas, President of the IACtHR.

 

Signatory organizations:

Regional

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres (CLADEM)

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Instituto Internacional sobre Raza, Igualdad y Derechos Humanos

Ipas

Oficina en Washington para Asuntos Latinoamericanos (WOLA)

Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD Regional)

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Women’s Link Worldwide

Argentina

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Bolivia

Oficina Jurídica para La Mujer

Canada

Abogados sin fronteras Canadá

Colombia

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz

Colectivo de Abogados "José Alvear Restrepo" (CCAJAR)

Consultorio Jurídico Internacional de la Facultad de Derecho Universidad Santo Tomás Bogotá

Comunidades Construyendo Paz en los Territorios (CONPAZ)

Grupo Interdisciplinario (GIDH)

Paz y Esperanza

Ecuador

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos "Segundo Montes Mozo S.J." (CSMM)

Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos Comisión Ecuménica De Derechos Humanos (CEDHU)

Guatemala

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos, integrada por:

Centro de Análisis Forense y Ciencias Aplicadas (CAFCA)

Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH)

Centro Internacional para Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos (CIIDH)

Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial (ECAP)

Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (ICCPG)

Oficina de Derechos Humanos del Arzobispado de Guatemala (ODHAG)

Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM)

Unidad de Protección a Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala (UDEFEGUA)

Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas (UNAMG)

Fundación Myrna Mack

Honduras

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación

Mexico

Abogadas y Abogados para la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos (ASILEGAL)

Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez

Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH)

Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Investigación

Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristóbal Las Casas, AC

Ipas Mexico

Nicaragua

Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres

Peru

Aprodeh

Asociación Paz y Esperanza

Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (PROMSEX)

Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos

Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad (IIDS)

Venezuela

Acción Solidaria en VIH/SIDA

CIVILIS Derechos Humanos

Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero-Marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC)


México
Abogadas y Abogados para la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos
Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos (ASILEGAL)
Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez
Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH)
Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Investigación
Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristóbal Las Casas, AC
Ipas Mexico

Nicaragua
Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres

Perú
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)
Asociación Paz y Esperanza
Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (PROMSEX)
Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad (IIDS)

Venezuela
Acción Solidaria en VIH/SIDA
CIVILIS Derechos Humanos
Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero-Marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC)