New Report: Civil Society Access to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

civil society meets with IACHR

The International Justice Resource Center (IJRC) has published its second report in an ongoing series examining the barriers to civil society’s engagement with supranational human rights oversight bodies. See IJRC, Civil Society Access to International Oversight Bodies: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2019). This edition analyzes the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a principal autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) charged with addressing human rights conditions and human rights violations in the 35 OAS Member States. The 65-page report focuses on the informal policies and practical factors, as well as formal rules, that help or hinder civil society’s participation in IACHR sessions and other activities. The Executive Summary, which includes the report’s main findings and a complete list of recommendations to the IACHR, is available in both Spanish and English.

To clearly identify and contextualize some of the obstacles to civil society participation before the IACHR, IJRC interviewed civil society members from various organizations in the Americas whose work spans several thematic topics and most of the region. The findings draw on these interviews, survey responses, desk research, and in-person observation carried out between March 2018 and December 2018, including at the IACHR’s 167th, 168th, and 170th Periods of Sessions, which took place in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and the United States, respectively.

The goal of this series is to increase understanding of the ways in which civil society’s participation in international human rights spaces is hindered or helped by formal or informal requirements, practical considerations, and the nature of the relationships between the various stakeholders. Ultimately, IJRC hopes that these reports will facilitate civil society’s efforts to develop recommendations for preserving and expanding civil society space at the international level. The first report in the series examined the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. See IJRC, Civil Society Access to International Oversight Bodies: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (2018). Forthcoming reports will analyze the United Nations Human Rights Council and Committee on the Status of Women. Access additional information and future reports on the IJRC webpage, Civil Society Access to International Human Rights Spaces.