Since the 1980s, the OAS’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission) has radically advanced human rights and their protection in the hemisphere. During the Dirty War in Argentina the Commission determined that states must be held accountable for disappearances, and in doing so for the first time recognized the junta’s systematic, brutal practice. The Commission’s “preventative measures” have protected human rights activists, journalists, and indigenous communities. And in the past two decades it has been at the forefront at expanding human rights in the areas of freedom of expression, women’s rights, LGBT rights and indigenous and Afro-descendant rights.
Many of today’s elected leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean have been direct or indirect beneficiaries of the Commission’s work. You’d think, then, that these leaders and governments would return the favor by showering the institution with funding and political support. If only.
Below are the sad numbers of how much Latin American and Caribbean states have contributed to the Commission between 2008 and 2013. It’s not without cause that Commissioner James Cavallero recently declared that the Commission was facing a budgetary crisis. Will someone step up?