Strengthening the Inter-American human rights system.
IN ITS FIRST SESSION OF THE YEAR, the Permanent Council of the OAS approved the report of the Special Working Group to Reflect on the Workings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) with a view to Strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System. The report contained recommendations relating to: the challenges and goals of the System, precautionary measures, criteria for drafting the Commission's Annual Report, ways to broaden the availability of friendly settlements between parties, the promotion of all human rights, and the financial consolidation of the System.
Challenges highlighted by the report include: the need to achieve the universality of the System, the need to have adequate funding for its various bodies, the need to reach a better balance between the promotion and the protection of human tights, the need to guarantee strict observance of the legal frameworks in the individual petitions system, and the need for the petitions and cases to be processed in a faster, more efficient way.
The Working Group recommended that countries "Actively incorporate as a priority.., the signing of, ratification of, and accession to the American Convention en Human Rights and all other inter-American human rights instruments in those countries that have not yet done so."
In terms of IACHR-authorized precautionary measures for protecting citizens who are in situations of risk, the report recommends improvements in procedural aspects and strict observance of the legal frameworks of the Commission. As for friendly settlements, the Working Group stated that "other proposals could be explored to give the IACHR a more active role in friendly settlement procedures, to promote and facilitate them through its conciliation and monitoring function."
In general, the members of the Permanent Council approved the report as a demonstration of an open, transparent, and multilateral process of dialogue and stated their belief that the recommendations should serve to highlight the continued importance of human rights on the continent. They reiterated that the financial strengthening of the human rights system is a matter in need of urgent attention and made a strong call for measures to ensure budgetary viability and guarantee its independence, sustainability, and ability to plan.
As she welcomed the compendium of recommendations, IACHR Chair, Dinah Shelton, said that she would be very pleased to see formal and informal dialogue about the recommendations and on other measures that could be adopted to strengthen the System and support the independence and autonomy of the Commission. She announced that she would give "high priority" to the study and application of the approved recommendations----------Please note: Some tables or figures were omitted from this article.