Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report on Public Policies with a Human Rights Approach

September 16, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published today a report on public policies with a human rights approach. The main goal of this report is to put forward a conceptual framework on public policies with a human rights approach, to help states to achieve structural impact for the prevention and non-repetition of human rights violations.

The IACHR has observed that Latin American States need to strengthen their democratic institutions and to brace their ability to implement public policies aimed at promoting the conditions required to ensure the full enjoyment and exercise of the human rights of individuals, groups, and communities, enforcing equality and access to justice.

The IACHR has therefore decided to publish this report, to give an effective tool to people in charge of planning, formulating, implementing, and monitoring or evaluating public policies, and to provide these people with the relevant inter-American principles and standards, and also with a series of practical lines to guide State action on the different stages of any public policy with a human rights approach.

The IACHR understands that a public policy with a human rights approach is a series of decisions and actions that the state designs, implements, monitors, and evaluates—on the basis of an ongoing process of effective social inclusion, deliberation, and participation—for the purpose of protecting, promoting, respecting, and guaranteeing the human rights of all the persons, groups, and communities that comprise a society, under the principles of equality and nondiscrimination, universality, access to justice, accountability, transparency, and cross-cutting and intersectional perspectives.

Through different promotion and protection mechanisms, the IACHR has made progress in defining Inter-American standards on each of the principles of the human rights approach. As noted in this report, a human rights approach rests on two main pillars: the State as the guarantor of rights and as the subject responsible for promoting, defending, and protecting these rights; and individuals and social groups as holders of rights with the ability and the right to complain and to participate. In this report, the Commission develops general guidelines on how to apply the two pillars to the process of formulating, executing, monitoring, and evaluating public policies. The IACHR further presents a series of relevant examples of public policies, put together through the Commission’s mechanisms.

The IACHR seeks to encourage States to adopt human rights as the central axis of the whole process of designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating their public policies. By strengthening State institutions and promoting public policies with a human rights approach, we may make progress on an agenda for prevention and social transformation, to prevent further violations of these rights.

“This report is an innovative tool through which the Commission stresses its willingness and disposition to give technical assistance to States, regional organizations, and other institutions. The IACHR’s ultimate goal is to strengthen institutions and their efforts to formulate, implement, and evaluate public policies aimed at strengthening and ensuring respect for human rights in the Americas, based on Inter-American standards and on standards concerning the various issues where States may be intervening,” said the IACHR President, Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño. “The IACHR, through its Strategic Plan 2017-2021, highlighted as a priority the need for technical cooperation with Member States, regional organizations, and other institutions, aimed at helping to strengthen institutions and to formulate, implement, and evaluate public policies,” said IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão.

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 and to defend 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. 227/19