IACHR

Press Release

IACHR and Inter-American Court Appreciate General Assembly Decision on Budget Increase

June 22, 2017

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001
mrivero@oas.org

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Cancún, Mexico — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights appreciate the decision made by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) to double the Regular Fund resources allocated to the two bodies of the inter-American human rights system.

“This is an historic moment that will allow for a gradual increase of 33 percent per year for each body, which will mean doubling the regular budget provided by the OAS by the end of three years,” the President of the Inter-American Court, Judge Roberto F. Caldas, said. “With this positive response,” he added, “the States of the Americas demonstrate their growing commitment to international human rights law and the assurance of the independence, autonomy, and institutional strength of the Inter-American Court and Commission.”

For his part, the President of the IACHR, Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren, underscored the fact that this decision was reached by consensus. “We wholeheartedly applaud this resolution, not only for its content, which is most satisfactory, but for the way it was adopted, with the consensus of all Member States, without any opposition,” the President of the IACHR stated. “This is a clear indication of the Organization’s commitment to human rights and to the goal of having an adequate budget so the Commission and the Court can properly carry out the mandate given to them by the States.”

The resolution adopted by this General Assembly is a first step toward changing the current situation, in which the Commission and the Court are excessively dependent on voluntary financial donations and contributions. By their very nature, these donations are variable and unpredictable, which makes it difficult to properly plan and sustainably carry out the institutions’ functions and mandates. Approximately half of both human rights bodies’ budget currently comes from these types of voluntary funds, which are prone to change and hard to predict.

This resolution paves the way to achieve a goal shared by the IACHR and the Inter-American Court as well as by the Member States: to maintain the inter-American human rights system’s current institutional capacity to fulfill its mandates with funding guaranteed by the OAS Member States themselves. This is the first step toward a shared goal: for the States to be the primary source of funding of the system they created and for them to be the ones to ensure that the inter-American human rights system has the resources it needs to fully comply with its mandate to promote and protect human rights, with complete autonomy and independence.

The Inter-American Commission and Court appreciate the consensus reached in the adoption of this historic and unprecedented decision. They particularly thank Mexico and Argentina for their leadership in this process, as well as the countries that cosponsored the resolution and those that supported this measure. Without a doubt, this marks an important step for the effective strengthening of the inter-American human rights system, one in which the support of the regional human rights community was also crucial.

Both human rights bodies also would like to express, with particular emphasis, their appreciation to the nongovernmental organizations, academic sectors, and United Nations agencies and other international agencies—among other national, regional, and international actors—for the support they have provided over the years. The way civil society in the Americas and beyond has closely followed the search for a solution to the serious problem of inadequate funding for the human rights bodies was essential to the historic result achieved at this General Assembly.

The Inter-American Commission and Court once again commit to manage these resources with the same transparency and accountability that has characterized both bodies thus far, in order to improve their efficiency in implementing their mandate, which is none other than ensuring that around one billion inhabitants of the region can exercise their human rights. This final objective—the respect for and protection of human rights in the Americas—is one of the pillars and main objectives of the Organization of American States’ existence, and is intimately connected to the effectiveness of democracy, since without human rights there is no democracy, and without democracy there is no human rights.

The IACHR and the Inter-American Court value and appreciate the decision adopted by the General Assembly, the impact of which will be seen over the coming years, as the barriers that today hinder millions of people in the region from accessing their fundamental rights are overcome. The commitment of both bodies is to put this increase in funding to use toward the same goal it has worked toward since the States began to create this system nearly 60 years ago, which is—in the words of the OAS itself—a region with more rights for more people.

No. 083/17