The Inter-American System

The Organization of American States (OAS) and two of its most important bodies – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the Commission) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the Court) – are the key regional mechanisms dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Americas. These bodies provide essential fora where non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can engage governments in discussions about human rights, advocate for the protection and promotion of human rights, and seek redress for individual or collective human rights violations.

What We Do

The Institute provides technical assistance to Afro-Latino, indigenous, LGBTI and other human rights organizations on how to implement an advocacy agenda at the OAS.  The Institute maintains a consistent presence at the meetings of the political bodies of the OAS and has worked with this regional institution alongside Afro-Latino organizations to push for an approval and ratification of new regional instruments. It is currently building the capacity of Afro-Latino and indigenous organizations to work with their governments and their governmental delegates at the OAS to advocate for the signing and ratification of an Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance, approved by the General Assembly of the OAS in Antigua, Guatemala in 2013.

The Institute also works to build its partners’ capacities to share critical information on specific human rights issues with the various political bodies of the OAS such as the Permanent Council, the Summit of the Americas Process and the General Assembly in order to promote those bodies’ involvement in the struggle to combat racial discrimination.

The Institute has played a key role in thematic hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, presenting alongside our partners’ expert testimony on issues such as racial discrimination in the region, the human rights situation of Afro-Colombians and the human rights situation of Afro-Brazilian youth, the situation of the LGBTI people in Colombia and Brazil, and the situation of Afro-descendant women in Latin America.

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