Press Release

IACHR Hails the Entry into Force of the Inter-American Convention on the Rights of Older Persons

December 16, 2016

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the ratification by Costa Rica of the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons.

This step means that the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons has now been ratified by two countries and will enter into force. Uruguay was the first country to ratify this convention, which was signed on June 15, 2015, at the OAS General Assembly. The treaty will enter into force, for the two States that have ratified it, 30 days after Costa Rica deposited the instruments of ratification; this took place on December 13, 2016.

On that same date, Costa Rica became the first country to deposit the instruments of ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance. Costa Rica had ratified this treaty on August 5, 2016, and the IACHR welcomed that decision in Press Release 117/16, on August 18.

The IACHR has repeatedly stressed the importance of universal acceptance of the instruments of the inter-American human rights system as a critical ingredient to ensure that human rights are fully respected and guaranteed in the Americas. The Commission understands that the current system of varying degrees of ratification places millions of people at a disadvantage in terms of the degree of international protection of their rights, as it keeps the door shut to an additional, complementary protection system which may be vital for people in a specific situation of vulnerability. This situation has been analyzed by the IACHR in its report “Considerations Related to the Universal Ratification of the American Convention and other Inter-American Human Rights Treaties.”

The scope of the IACHR’s jurisdiction extends to the entire region and in that sense, the Commission may analyze and review petitions related to the 35 OAS member countries, applying the American Declaration, which is a source of international obligations for all Member States of the Organization. However, universal ratification of the inter-American human rights instruments is essential to achieving full protection of the human rights of all persons in the hemisphere.

The IACHR stresses the pressing need for the OAS Member States to use all means available to them to overcome impediments to the ratification and full implementation of all the inter-American human rights instruments.

The IACHR also expresses its appreciation to the State of Costa Rica for its historical commitment to the inter-American human rights system and for the contribution of $21,782 it made on December 9, 2016, to support the IACHR in its mission to promote the defense of and respect for human rights in the Americas.

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. 187/16