Supporting the Inter-American Human Rights System is supporting dignity for human beings

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Open letter to the delegations of the Organization of American States (OAS) member states

16 June 2017

Respected Representatives,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its 22 member organisations in the Americas here undersigned wish to express our support for the proposal to be debated at the next meeting of the OAS General Assembly which takes place between 19 – 21 June this year in Cancún, Mexico. This proposal plans to increase the OAS budget allocated to the Inter-American Human Rights System.

We must remember that this is a principle which was expressed by all American States when they voluntarily signed and accepted the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man in 1948, which states in its preamble that:

“(…) The affirmation of essential human rights by the American States together with the guarantees given by the internal regimes of the states establish the initial system of protection considered by the American States as being suited to the present social and juridical conditions, not without a recognition on their part that they should increasingly strengthen that system in the international field as conditions become more favorable.”

The Inter-American Human Rights System played a pioneering role in the world and has acted as a blueprint for the development of regional mechanisms, for example in Europe and Africa, and, as such, it is of fundamental importance to continue to strengthen and support this system.

Despite this, the Inter-American Institutions for the protection of human rights receive the least funding worldwide. Last year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) suffered the worst financial crisis in its history and despite the willingness of different OAS member states to ensure it has stable and independent funding, a budget increase was not approved at the OAS General Assembly special session on 31 October 2016, leading to the adoption of an emergency clause to ensure the financing of its work.

It is for this reason that we urge all member states in attendance to unanimously show their support for democratic values, from which the defence of human rights is indivisible, so that the Court as well as the Commission are able to continue their activities autonomously and independently. We urge you to vote in favour of the proposal to double the budget to these institutions.


Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Bolivia (APDHB)

Ligue des Droits et des Libertes du Quebec (LDL)

Observatorio Ciudadano

Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR)
Comité Permanente por la Defensa De Los Derechos Humanos (CPDH)
Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos (ILSA)

Dominicanan Republic
Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH)

Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU)
Accion Ecológica

El Salvador
Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)

Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH)

Centre oecuménique des Droits de l’Homme - CEDH
Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH)

Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH)
Comité de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)

Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (LIMEDDH)

Centro Nicaraguense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)

Centro de Capacitación Social (CCS)

Centro de Asesoría Laboral (CEDAL)
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)
Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos – EQUIDAD

United States of America
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

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