The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, proposed yesterday to the Permanent Council of the institution the creation of a capital fund with one hundred million dollars to finance the operation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CorteIDH), with funds from a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean Development Corporation.
"If we really want to increase the financial resources for the Commission and the Court, it can be achieved with a substantial increase to the Oliver Jackman Voluntary Capital Fund," said the Secretary General of the OAS in an special meeting of the Council, which continued the discussion of proposals from Member States on the "Report of the Special Working Group to Reflect on the Functioning of the IACHR for the Strengthening of the Inter-American Human Rights System. The Oliver Jackman Voluntary Capital Fund to Finance the Inter-American Human Rights System (ISHR)was created by the Permanent Council in December 2007, and currently holds one hundred fifty two thousand dollars.
The leader of the OAS explained that, with current resources, both organizations are far from having sufficient means to meet the number of cases that occur annually, which has led to a significant delay in their tasks. As an example, he noted that a few months ago during a visit to a Latin American country, a citizen filed a protest with him because he had presented his case before the Commission five years ago and had not yet received a response as to whether his application was accepted or rejected.
In his proposal, Secretary General Insulza stated that the loan would be paid "by the OAS Member States with partial payments, over 20 years -or another term- and with contributions proportional to the quotas paid to the hemispheric organization.” The capital fund, he added, would be "allocated proportionately to the Commission and the Court to make viable in the short and medium term the contents of the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan of the IACHR, and the 2010-2015 Guidelines of the Inter-American Court."
The OAS leader said his proposal "does not replace any of the other contributions that are given to the two organizations, either from the regular budget of the OAS, or from the voluntary contributions of Member States or Observers for specific projects." He added that the suggestion "aims to ensure that the Commission and the Court are not forced to seek more resources each year to fulfill their mission. The basic aim is to give both organizations financial stability and guarantee their proper functioning."
The proposal of Secretary General Insulza was well received by the Permanent Council, where most of the ambassadors welcomed the initiative, notwithstanding that the regular procedure involves consulting their respective foreign ministries.
During the meeting, the representatives of the Member Countries discussed three central issues in the process of strengthening the Inter-American System of Human Rights: the criteria for the compiling of Chapter IV of the Annual Report of the IACHR, entitled "Human Rights Developments in the Region," the promotion of Human Rights, and the financial strengthening of the ISHR. The representatives of Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Canada, the United States, Honduras, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, El Salvador, Peru, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Mexico all took part during the meeting.
The Chair of the Permanent Council and Representative of Mexico, Joel Hernandez, said that the Council will continue discussions on Friday, December 7, with two sessions in which users of the Inter-American System and civil society organizations will participate, and on Tuesday December 11, when a meeting will be held with the Chair of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Diego Garcia Sayan, in attendance.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
The audio of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.