Last year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter IACHR) announced the beginning of several reforms to their rules of procedures, policies and practices in order to accomplish its mission to properly enforce human rights protection in the hemisphere and strengthening all the Inter-American Human Rights System.
The IACHR, part of the Inter-American Human Right System, was created with the purpose of promoting and granting an effective protection of human rights in the American Hemisphere. This commission is part of the Organization of American States (OAS) whose mission is to promote Democracy as a way to encourage peace, security, and development in the American Hemisphere. The OAS charter recognizes the IACHR as one of their primary structures and main consultative organ in matters concerning Human Rights.
The reforms, that are now being applied, arose as a response to several challenges identified in the Commission’s inner processes, such as the guarantee of the universality of human rights, the effective access to victims, compliance and the distribution and management of its resources. Therefore, these reforms appeal to the use of measures and mechanisms that may guarantee the integrity and more efficiency on their processes and the accountability of their actions and decisions in the region.
The IACHR recognizes the set of rights guaranteed in the constitutions of the Member State of the OAS, this though to the full acknowledgement of this human rights protection system of these Member States in their own domestic law. Consequently, this commission may take action in both, situations of violation of Human Rights of individual cases or when there are structural problems that affect thousands or even millions of lives.
We may consider that these set of reforms are a visible advance on the matter of Human Rights and Human Dignity. Furthermore, as part of ensuring the IACHR mission to promote respect of Human Rights by the 35 Member States of the OAS, it is important to consider the need to provide mechanisms that would translate these reforms into domestic law applicable to the Members States, including more efficient and precise sanctions against states that do not comply with the IACHR mandate or violate the Human Rights of their citizens. We should not forget that every law is an approximation of how we interpret what the human person is and it is deeply related to our understanding of life and our relation with others. Therefore, the application of the law would rely on what is the vision chosen to interpret life and it would determine our decisions and the effect towards others. At this point, this is why it is important to recall the Dignity of the Person, as it is the foundation of every Human Right.
By Kateri Salas, Director of Operations, World Youth Alliance Latin America.