Last week, we posted a letter from five former United States members of and nominees to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or the Commission) urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to withdraw U.S. funding from the Commission.
Now, high-ranking congressional Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee have followed up with a letter to Secretary Pompeo of their own, in which they say, “The United States cannot take a back seat when it comes to human rights violations in our own neighborhood.”
In the letter, the four Democrats claim that cutting or eliminating funding for the Commission would “derail crucial human rights monitoring processes in countries like Nicaragua and Venezuela” and point to the “crucial role” of the IACHR in issuing precautionary measures “requesting that regional governments take steps to protect individuals whose security is in danger.” The Commission issued 120 such measures last year. This year, the IACHR has issued measures to protect Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and a political prisoner in Nicaragua.
The letter is signed by:
- Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY 16), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
- Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ 8), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade
- Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues
Click here to read the letter in its entirety.