Human rights body at risk
OAS-proposed reforms could limit power of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The Organization of American States has accepted to debate reforms in its human rights watchdog, which has helped victims of rights violations across the region achieve justice for decades.
At the hemispheric body’s annual meeting held June 3-5 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, its Special Working Group for Strengthening the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights proposed reforms that could limit the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ power, including changes in precautionary measures and friendly settlements. The reforms will be debated by members in an extraordinary assembly at the end of the year.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ president, José de Jesús Orozco, said the proposed reforms could put at risk “future generations´” ability to enjoy their human rights.
“It’s about regional guarantees and efficient mechanisms so that no one in the Americas feels their most essential rights have been trampled on,” he said in a statement. “So that the governments, through the current ones and those in the future, are obligated to respect those values that they had internationally decided to safeguard.”
Amnesty International slammed the attacks on the Inter-American Human Rights System by some countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, which accuse the body of defending the interests of the United States.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro demanded “the respect of the sovereignty and self-determination of the [member] states, respect of legality, jurisdiction and laws of each country.”
“Instead of using this opportunity to constructively reflect on how to promote and protect human rights in the hemisphere, some states have come to this assembly with new or repeat accusations, often derived from mistaken interpretations” of the rights body, said Amnesty International in a statement.
It urged the region’s governments to respect the IACHR’s independence and consider its recommendations.
Other rights groups, such as the International Federation for Human Rights, raised concern that the measures could weaken protection of basic rights in the region. —Latinamerica Press.