Since our inception, one of our main focuses has included strengthening the core functions and effectiveness of the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights. For over 25 years, we´ve issued recommendations and proposals to develop transparent and simplified procedures to ensure that the IAHRS can provide the most vulnerable groups across the region easy access to international courts and legislation; as well as with information on effective instruments for protection from and response to serious human rights violations.
In our Position Papers (see publications below) we have discussed these multiple approaches, including how some procedures should change; how to improve the system of precautionary measures; how to solve the procedural backlog faced by the IACHR and the Court; and how to improve the development of standards or the necessary legitimization of these bodies, so that more people can enjoy their rights.
We are also committed to promoting the value of IAHRS through different groups of jurists, organizations, students, journalists, not only from the Americas but from around the world.
For example, the creation of SUMMA, an online database of jurisprudence of the IAHRS, allows people from across the globe to gain further understanding on the role of Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights and access all information regarding their rulings issued to date.
Additionally, our work seeks to bolster the legitimacy and effectiveness of the IAHRS as well as the scope of protections the system offers. On the one hand, CEJIL works to improve nomination and selection processes for members of the Commission and Court. To achieve this, we´ve partnered with other organizations to advocate for greater transparency in the nomination processes for senior positions within both human rights organs. Through this work, we´ve called attention to the selection processes of commissioners and judges. This area also focuses on the post of Executive Secretary and rapporteurships at the IACHR, such as freedom of expression and social rights.
By developing a national and international advocacy agenda, we´ve generated changes while nomination and voting processes take place, helping with their establishment, and installing groups of experts to monitor the nominations for the IASHR. This year, for example, has been the third edition of this initiative.
Moreover, the Gqual campaign advocates for gender parity in international representation, and stress the elements of merit and equality. These points were explicitly mentioned in the 46th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in which a landmark resolution highlighting the need for parity, diversity and geographical balance with the membership of the Inter-American System were called upon. Undoubtedly, this represented a milestone in our work of strengthening the IAHRS.
The proper functioning of the IAHRS depends, to a large extent, on the implementation of its rulings and on the compliance of the States with its decisions. By working on multiple fronts, we strive to ensure this happens. Among the approaches CEJIL takes are academic, in order to spread knowledge to stimulate a more efficient cooperation between national and international systems of human rights protection. To this end, we facilitate debates to promote compliance with the decisions and ensure an untroubled fulfillment.
Through a series of books (see publications below), events, advocacy actions, etc., we have achieved changes in local public policies and even within the judicial branch, that incorporate human rights standards. We understand that judgment compliance and strengthening the IAHRS implies sustained work, lobbying, mobilization of decision makers and also of society and key parties, to ensure that States commit to fulfilling the measures ordered by the Inter-American Court.
Campaigns such as the campaign for judicial independence in Honduras (sentence of the Inter-American Court, López Lone) or our support for the campaign for the 43 students who disappeared in Ayotzinapa (formation of the GAIPE by the IACHR), are examples our work in this area.
Your voice is our voice. We take on your struggle and demands as our own.
So this will never happen again.
We are with you in your search for truth and justice.
Your constant struggle has awakened and inspired the world to defend human rights.
Justice can take time but it will come.
Implementation of the Inter-American Human Rights System’s decisions (Only in Spanish)
Implementation of the Inter-American Human Rights System’s decisions. Contribution to legislative processes. (Only in Spanish)
Implementation of Decisions of the Inter-American Human Rights System. Jurisprudence, Regulations, and National Experiences.
Compliance with the Inter-American Human Rights System’s decisions: challenges regarding justice (Only in Spanish)
Human rights in the Inter-American system. Compilation of instruments
Human rights in the Inter-American system. Compilation of instruments. 2009 edition.
Human rights in the Inter-American system. Compilation of instruments. 2011 edition.
Human rights in the Inter-American system. Compilation of instruments. 2014 edition.
Guide for collecting data to support a petition before the Inter-American system
The protection of economic, social and cultural rights and the Inter-American system
Protection of the right to the freedom of expression in the Inter-American System
Due diligence on the investigation of grave human rights violations (Only in Spanish)
Gazette Nº 12 – Economic, social and cultural rights in the Inter-American System
Gazette Nº 13 – The new rules of the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights
Gazette Nº 18 – Strengthening the Inter-American System
Gazette Nº 19 – Current challenges faced by the Inter-American System
Gazette Nº 22 – Human rights protection repairs in the Inter-American system
Position Paper Nº. 1 – Inputs to the selection process of committee members of the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights
Position Paper Nº. 4 – The Urgent Need for a Legal Aid Fund in the Inter-American System for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Position Paper Nº. 5 – Contributions to the debate on possible reforms to the function of the Commission and Inter-American Court on Human Rights
Position Paper Nº. 6 – Proposals to Improve the Inter-American System of Human Rights: CEJIL’s response to the proposal of the OAS Permanent Council
Position Paper Nº. 7 – Proposals to Improve the Inter-American System of Human Rights: Comparative Analysis of the Practice of Precautionary Measures
Position Paper Nº 8 – Notes on the reforms to the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure (Only in Spanish)
Position Paper Nº 9 – Debate on the role of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Democracy 2011/2014. (Only in Spanish)
Position Paper Nº. 10 – Process of selection of members of the Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Reflections on a reform
CEJIL plays a key role in the IASHR. Our work is not only reflected at the procedural level, within the Inter-American Court or Commission, but we also sponsor and participate in events such as the first IASHR Forum, which took place in Washington, D.C.; denouncing corruption at the VIII Summit of the Americas, in Lima; building advocacy capacity at the General Assembly of the OAS , or increasing awareness on the importance of in-country visits by the IACHR.
However, despite the unquestionable value and importance of the IAHRS in the Americas for its role safeguarding human rights, the System has experienced several moments of crisis, either by attacks against the human rights bodies of the IAHRS by detractors or by a decreasing availability of funds.
At CEJIL, we have always categorically stated that despite the structural weaknesses the System suffers, its existence and its work are essential for the defense of human rights in the region.
The IAHRS is a useful tool in protecting the lives of millions of people throughout the continent, especially those found living in situations of vulnerability and exclusion.
For these reasons, we started at the end of 2012 a regional campaign called “It is time to defend the IAHRS”. With the participation of many organizations and human rights defenders from across the region, and with the technical assistance of the Colombian channel Canal Capital, CEJIL developed a video series that was broadcast live and denounced the attacks made by several States against the Inter-American Commission and Court. Through the testimony of different victims of human rights violations on the continent, we underscored the critical role played by the IAHRS in protecting our human rights.
In more recent years, the System experienced a serious financial crisis. This led the Inter-American Commission and Court to ask States to maintain their contributions in order for both organs continue functioning. As a result, civil society rushed to support this demand in international settings by requesting the Organization of American States to increase the budget allocated to both bodies to ensure their sustainability.
To understand our mission and our work methods, both must be viewed from a perspective that understands the importance of building empowered Human Rights System to address the insufficient actions undertaken by States in the wake of serious human rights violations, that allow many of these crimes to remain in impunity. CEJIL was formed to spread its knowledge around the region so that the entire continent can have access to representation and protection.
To fulfill that mission we began 25 years ago, we keep reinventing ourselves year after year and innovating our legal, advocacy and communication strategies.
Even today, in CEJIL, we believe that by working hand-in-hand with hundreds of partner organizations, funders, non-organized civil society, academies, groups of young people, journalists, etc., we help strengthen the IAHRS, and we can continue to defend rights to change realities.
Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional · Center for Justice and International Law · Centro pela Justiça e o Direito Internacional · Centre pour la Justice et le Droit International · Pemonton Kowantok Wacüpe Yuwanin Pataset