Press Release

IACHR and Inter-American Court Trust that OAS Will Double Budget for Inter-American Human Rights System at General Assembly

June 12, 2017

   Contact info

María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001

   More on the IACHR
A+ A-

Washington, D.C./San José, Costa Rica — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights trust that the Organization of American States (OAS), in its upcoming General Assembly, will approve a budget for the proper and sustainable functioning of the inter-American human rights system.

The proposal under discussion would double the annual budget from the OAS Regular Fund allocated to the inter-American human rights system. This budget would seek to ensure the sustainability and predictability of the funds available for the two bodies of the human rights system by covering their total current costs through the annual contribution of the Member States, improving their planning and management capacity. All this would be to the direct benefit of victims of human rights violations in the region.

Currently, the Commission and the Court are excessively dependent on voluntary financial donations and contributions, which by their very nature are variable and unpredictable. This proposal would make it possible to change this situation, maintaining the current institutional capacity of both bodies to fulfill their respective mandates. Moreover, this initiative seeks to adjust the budget allocation so that it is the OAS Member States themselves that provide the main funding for the bodies of the human rights system, as it is the States that are responsible for providing them with the necessary funds to fully comply with their mandate in promoting and protecting human rights with complete autonomy and independence.

The Commission and the Court hope that the OAS Member States will unanimously support the joint proposal and that this proposal will be approved at the General Assembly that will take place this month in Mexico. This would put an end to the financial uncertainty under which both bodies of the inter-American human rights system operate.

On June 14, 2016, the regular session of the OAS General Assembly in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, approved a resolution on “Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,” in which the Member States expressed their determination to find a lasting and structural solution to the serious problem of inadequate funding of the inter-American human rights system. In that resolution, the General Assembly resolved to reaffirm its commitment “to attaining full financing of the IACHR through the Regular Fund” of the OAS.

The General Assembly instructed the OAS General Secretariat to present proposals, in consultation with the Commission and the Court, to strengthen the financial sustainability of both human rights bodies. The result was that the IACHR and the Inter-American Court agreed on a joint proposal for the adequate and sustainable financing of the inter-American human rights system, a consensus action without precedent. However, this was not approved at the special session of the OAS General Assembly held on October 31, 2016, in which the 2017 budget was approved. Instead, an emergency clause was adopted to ensure the functioning of essential activities this year and the continued search for a permanent solution for 2018, which was to be decided in Mexico.

The Commission and the Court trust that the regular session of the OAS General Assembly, which will take place this month in Mexico, will represent a historic opportunity to confirm this positive expectation for the 2018 program-budget. All in all, the approval of this proposal will be a critical step in reaffirming human rights as a pillar and shared commitment of the Americas.                                          


No. 074/17