Press Release

IACHR Thanks Donors and Urges Redoubled Efforts to Overcome Financial Crisis

July 28, 2016

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights acknowledges and appreciates the many expressions of support and the financial contributions it has received since announcing two months ago that it was going through a severe financial crisis. Since the announcement of the crisis, the IACHR has received contributions or letters of commitment totaling $681,800.

The Inter-American Commission continues to receive and process petitions, cases, and precautionary measures; monitor the human rights situation in the member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS); and carry out other aspects of its mandate. However, essential aspects of the Commission’s work program remain on hold, including on-site visits and the session that had been scheduled for the second half of this year. The IACHR makes an urgent call to member countries, observer countries, and other donors to redouble their efforts and urgently increase their contributions so that the IACHR can resume its full work program and thus carry out the mandate and functions assigned to it by the States.

On May 23, 2016, the IACHR announced that the contracts of 40 percent of its personnel would expire on July 31, 2016, and that the Commission did not have the funds to be able to renew them. On the same date, the IACHR announced with deep regret that it had been forced to suspend the visits it had planned for this year, as well as its 159th and 160th regular sessions, originally scheduled for July and October.

The IACHR appreciates the expressions of support and the financial contributions it has received from countries and donors to address the crisis. The IACHR was able to extend the contracts that were expiring on July 31, some until September 30 and others until November 30, thanks to the reallocation of funds contributed by the United States. In addition, the IACHR received voluntary contributions from Antigua and Barbuda ($1,800), Panama ($150,000), and Chile ($20,000, in addition to the funding for the special session the IACHR held in Santiago, Chile, in June of this year).

The IACHR hopes to be able to renew the contracts of its personnel so it can be fully staffed for the rest of the year. This will be possible when it receives the contributions announced via letters of commitment received from Argentina ($160,000 in addition to the $40,000 it had contributed before the crisis was announced), Colombia ($100,000), the United States ($100,000 in addition to the $2,483,146 it had contributed before the crisis was announced), and Peru ($50,000, in addition to its prior contribution of $5,000), as well as from the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency ($100,000). The IACHR also thanks Uruguay for its offer to fund a special session in that country in 2017, in addition to its prior $24,460 contribution to the IACHR.

Despite the contributions that have been received and announced, the crisis is not over. The IACHR’s financial sustainability in the medium and long term is not guaranteed. In addition, basic activities are still on hold, such as the session for the second semester of this year, which is essential to be able to work on the analysis of petitions and cases, approve case reports, and hold public hearings and working meetings, among other important responsibilities. The Inter-American Commission once again calls on the member countries, observer countries, and the international community to provide additional funding so the Commission can resume the functions that are essential to the fulfillment of its mandate.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 104/16