OAS Resolution on the Funding of the IACHR

Upon concluding the 44th Extraordinary General Assembly, the OAS issued a resolution thwarting an attempt at weakening the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in general and the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in particular.

In the Resolution a note was made about the recommendations of the Special Working Group to Reflect on the Workings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights while reaffirming the need to keep the Commission´s activities fully funded and allowing for the continuity of current outside mechanisms until such funding is obtained.

This Resolution partially concludes an almost two-year process which started upon the initiative of the representatives from Ecuador and Venezuela, supported by Nicaragua and Bolivia, who proposed a comprehensive amendment of the IACHR Statute. As stated in previous documents, such amendment entailed an impairment of the IACHR capabilities, in particular the capabilities of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, by limiting its powers and tightening up its budget drastically.

In this document the General Assembly has fortunately reaffirmed its committment with the IACHR functions, and has stated the importance of providing such body with adequate financing.

Indeed, despite the fact that the Resolution was unanimously supported by the member countries, the process has however not been definitively closed and the group of countries in favour of cutting back on the powers of such agencies has declared that they intend to insist on revising the Statute.

Fundación LED (Libertad de Expresión + Democracia) is pleased that the OAS has persisted in its traditional support of organizations for the defense of human rights, and that with the resolution issued it has managed to keep them funded.

Further, we call upon citizens and civil society organizations, urging them to keep a close watch on how things evolve. The situation is far from finished given that some governments insist on restricting the powers of the Office of the Special Rapporteur so as not to have to answer for their own policies concerning Freedom of Expression.