Press Release

IACHR and Inter-American Court Extend Invitation to First Forum of the Inter-American Human Rights System and Call for Proposals for Side Events

November 3, 2017

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San José, Costa Rica / Washington, D.C.—For the first time in their history, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights are organizing an event of their own to generate and promote a debate on the present and future of human rights in the region, the effectiveness of the inter-American human rights system, the need to increase Member States’ levels of compliance with the recommendations of the IACHR and the judgments of the Inter-American Court, and other key issues on the human rights agenda in the Americas. The IACHR and the Inter-American Court are co-organizing the First Forum of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS Forum), to seek a constructive exchange among all participants. States, civil society, international organizations, universities, social and union movements, and the public are all invited to participate in the event, which will take place at IACHR headquarters in Washington, D.C., on December 4-5, 2017.

The opening session of the IAHRS Forum will focus on “The Future of Human Rights in the Americas.” Also on December 4, a panel will discuss the subject “Taking Stock: Challenges and Main Developments in the Inter-American Human Rights System,” with the participation of Judges of the Inter-American Court and Commissioners of the IACHR.

“The inter-American human rights system is in constant renewal, learning from itself, improving its mechanisms, listening to all actors, always looking to be more efficient in its important role,” said the President of the Inter-American Commission, Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren.

“The system’s bodies are dynamic and adapt to new realities, take on new challenges, and progressively evolve to efficiently fulfill their mandates and functions. This forum will allow us to reflect, along with all the key actors, on the past, present, and future of the human rights system, and also provides a great opportunity to promote and disseminate a culture of respect for human rights in the region,” said the President of the Inter-American Court, Roberto Caldas.

On the second day of the IAHRS Forum, a panel on “The Effectiveness of the Inter-American System” will focus on mechanisms, systems, legislation, and best practices in terms of compliance with international decisions and recommendations, and will include exchanges between States and civil society organizations. The panel will seek to encourage dialogue between the member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) and civil society organizations on progress and challenges in compliance with both bodies’ decisions and recommendations for the effectiveness of the inter-American system, with discussion about specific experiences in the region.

The two-day forum will also include side events in the afternoons, such as workshops, talks, roundtables, expert consultations, and other activities that may be offered by the Inter-American Court, the Inter-American Commission, and other interested organizations.

The Commission and the Court invite those interested to present proposals for holding side events in the context of the IAHRS Forum (see preliminary agenda). The organization of these events will be the responsibility of those proposing them; in other words, anyone interested must cover the costs of participants’ lodging and travel and any other organizational costs involved. The Court and the Commission will accept proposals through November 10, 2017, at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] with the subject line “Proposal for IAHRS Forum Side Event.” Applications should include the title of the proposed event, the name of the organizers, a conceptual description of the event (background, approach to the issue, presenters, proposed invitees), and any other information considered relevant. The proposal should be sent in a document not to exceed two pages. The Commission and the Court will select up to 10 activities, keeping in mind a balance of subject matter, geography, and organizations, as well as the physical space available. Preference will be given to proposals that come from more than one organization. The proposals will be presented in a format that assumes a start time of 2:00 or 4:00 p.m. on either day (with a maximum duration of two hours), in line with the event schedule attached to this announcement.

Once the complete program is available, including side events, participants who wish to attend the various activities during the forum will be able to register. Registration will be open November 15-24, 2017, and a link will be activated for that purpose.

The Inter-American Forum is a self-supporting event. All costs of participation must be covered by those who attend and by the organizations that hold side events.

A principal, autonomous body of the 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 the respect for and defense of 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.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is an autonomous judicial institution whose purpose is the application and interpretation of the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Court is made up of seven judges, elected by the OAS General Assembly in an individual capacity from among jurists of the highest moral authority and of recognized competence in the field of human rights. The Court’s judgments are binding on the States.

No. 172/17