Press Release

New Report IACHR: 60 Years Promoting and Protecting Human Rights, in Photos (1959–2019)

September 16, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presents the book IACHR: 60 Years Promoting and Protecting Human Rights, in Photos, with photographic records of its work from 1959 until its 60th anniversary in 2019.

This book marks 60 years of tireless efforts made by the Inter-American Commission with a photograph collection showing the work done by the main institution of the Organization of American States (OAS) for human rights, as well as the IACHR’s impact on the lives of countless individuals around the Americas. It is available as a pdf and also on a website featuring all photos with their descriptions.

This selection of photographs invites us to look back on the past six decades through events that have marked the history of the Americas. One example is the proliferation of authoritarian governments and military dictatorships, internal armed conflicts, and systematic mass human rights violations that were characteristic of the first half of the IACHR’s mandate and were later gradually replaced with democratically elected governments. A further example is the emergence and growth of civil society organizations and the expansion of mechanisms and platforms for national and international human rights protection. Yet another example is the gradual independence of States in the English-speaking Caribbean and their integration into the OAS, which has changed the history of the Americas and also contributed great cultural diversity.

With this book, the Inter-American Commission remembers the contribution it has made to the Americas—through its mandate—in terms of the protection and promotion of human rights. At the same time, the Commission stresses its commitment to cooperating with States and with human rights defenders, whose efforts over the past 60 years have not been in vain. These defenders continue to provide every day the most noble source of inspiration to fight impunity and promote the rights of all people,” said Commissioner Joel Hernández, the IACHR’s President.

“Over these six decades, the work of the IACHR has been significant for the lives of thousands of individuals and communities. In that sense, the book we are presenting is a way to renew the Commission’s firm, supportive commitment to complying with the mandate to observe, promote, and defend the human rights of residents of the Americas,” said Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño.

The book shows that the Inter-American Human Rights System has been built through the hard work, commitment, will, intelligence, and courage of thousands of individuals. Many of them appear in this selection of photographs, which also serves to pay tribute to all the people in the Americas who have made it possible for the history of the region to be built around 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. 222/20