Press Release

IACHR Publishes Compendium on Equality and Non-discrimination

November 22, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published today its “Compendium on Equality and Non-discrimination: Inter-American Standards”. The main aim of the document is to function as a tool for technical cooperation in this area. It will be made available to people and stakeholders who use the Inter-American system, such as public policymakers and other people working in the different branches of government, along with representatives of civil society and social movements, academics, and other relevant stakeholders. The IACHR developed this publication in compliance with its mandate and in view of the objectives set out in its Strategic Plan 2017–2021.

The IACHR has repeatedly established that the principle of non-discrimination is one of the pillars holding up any democratic system and that it is one of the fundamental aspects of the human rights protection system established by the Organization of American States (OAS). The IACHR also wishes to note that international obligations regarding the principle of equality and non-discrimination are obligations of immediate compliance that states must take into account when designing and implementing relevant public policies on people or groups in situations of vulnerability or who have been the object of historical discrimination. States are obliged to refrain from actions that in any way seek to create situations of discrimination, be it directly or indirectly, and must adopt positive measures to revert or change existing discriminatory situations in their societies, based on the notion of equality and the principle of non-discrimination.

The compendium draws on a systematic review of the Inter-American standards that the IACHR has developed on this matter through a crosscutting approach based on equality and non-discrimination. The objective of the publication is to update the core notions of the Inter-American system, so as to facilitate understanding of the concepts they contain. This document also systematizes information on issues relating to the various contexts in which these standards are applied.

The IACHR deems it essential to broaden and strengthen activities to promote, publicize, and apply the principle of equality and non-discrimination, which was its aim in creating this tool for technical cooperation of Inter-American standards on these guarantees. Through the compendium, the IACHR seeks to reinforce its commitment to collaboration as a way of promoting greater knowledge and use of Inter-American human rights standards. It is also seeking to provide a tool to further build the capacities of stakeholders at the local and regional levels.

The compendium is part of the “Regional Human Rights and Democracy Project”, which is being implemented in partnership with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). The project seeks to strengthen knowledge of the Inter-American Human Rights System and its standards among key local stakeholders who are involved in protecting and defending human rights.

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. 307/19