The deal was signed in a context of shrinking spaces for the exercise of human rights and civil society participation in the region.
Washington, D.C. / Mexico City - Oxfam and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) signed a cooperation agreement on February 25, 2019 to promote and protect human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, with special emphasis on economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and on the crucial role of defenders in this field.
The agreement is initially set to remain in force for five years, to implement a plan including projects on research and the exchange of information linked to the situation of human rights in the region, the protection of human rights defenders and the provision of joint training processes targeting civil society organizations. All those actions reflect the IACHR’s mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and to act as a consultative body to the Organization of American States (OAS) in this area.
“Cooperating with the IACHR offers Oxfam a great opportunity to strengthen democracy in our countries and to weakening the current pattern of closing spaces for civil society,” said Simon Ticehurst, Oxfam’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We are very excited about signing this agreement. The excellent work Oxfam does to find lasting solutions to poverty is extremely interesting for the IACHR and for its Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights. Based on that, we will be developing high-impact joint projects to fight that scourge,” said IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão.
Over the past year, the IACHR has expressed its concern about the lack of guarantees for the exercise of human rights in several countries in the region. The Commission has also held hearings on issues like Central American migrant caravans, legal proceedings on the murder of human rights defender Berta Cáceres in Honduras, and the growing safety problems faced by defenders in Latin America.
In the context of this new deal, Oxfam will join forces with the IACHR to ensure the exercise of 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.