Letter to States members of the OAS: Not financing IACHR would be a historic mistake

Open Letter
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For the attention of States members of the Organization of American States

The members of the International Board of FIDH, human rights defenders from five continents, gathered in Paris from the 10-12 of June 2016, in the context of the Board meeting, would like to address State members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to express our deepest concern regarding the current financial crisis faced by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

The Inter-American System of Human Rights Protection has played and continues to play a crucial role in democratic transitions and to the end of conflicts in parts of the Americas in the recent past. Moreover this system constitutes an example to other human rights systems and contributes strongly to the international protection of human rights.

Equally important is to voice our alarm after learning the impact of the emergency measures that the Commission will be forced to take in light of this crisis if it does not obtain in the next days the one million dollars missing in their annual budget. These measures include the reduction of almost half of its regular personnel and the cancelation of an important part of the activities planned for the second half of 2016, namely its hearings to take place in next October.

Members of FIDH Board call on the States, to be gathered at the occasion of the General Assembly of the OAS in Santo Domingo –Dominican Republic- from 13 to 15 June 2016, to concretize and finalize an extraordinary financial contribution to the Commission to avoid the paralysis of one of the two pillars of the Inter-American Human Rights Protection System. Acting in a different way would constitute an historic mistake with a significant and negative impact on the protection of human rights throughout the Americas.

This emergency financial support to the Inter-American Commission has to be accompanied by a strong political statement of support from all OAS states. States should also take this opportunity to set up a financial mechanism to allow the Inter-American System of Human Rights Protection to work under a stable and long-lasting way.

The existence of a strong regional protection human rights system is a reflection of existing democratic states, societies who value and affirm full respect of human rights, including political, civil, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. Members of the International Board recall the States´ duty to respect these rights and their obligations regarding the human rights protection.

Karim Lahidji - Iran, FIDH President
Souhayr Belhassen – Tunise, Honorary President
Patrick Baudouin - France, Honorary President

Secretary Generals :
Debbie Stothard - Burma
Pierre Espérance - Haiti
Dan Van Raemdonck - Belgium
Amina Bouyach – Morocco
Paul Nsapu Mukulu – DRC

Vice Presidents :
Yusuf Alatas – Turkey
Ales Bialiatski – Belarus
Dimitris Christopoulos – Greece
Juan Carlos Capurro – Argentina
Katherine Gallagher – United States
Tolekan Ismailova – Kyrgyzstan
Dismas Kitenge Senga – DRC
Sheila Muwanga – Uganda
Drissa Traore – Ivory Coast
Zohra Yusuf – Pakistan
Shawan Jabarin – Palestine
Elsie Monge – Ecuador
Rosemarie R. Trajano – Philippines
Paulina Vega Gonzalez – Mexico

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