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A call for member states to support the IACHR amid funding crisis

The IACHR has protected journalists, organizations and human rights defenders under threat, and IFEX-ALC argues that the financial crisis it is facing puts the most vulnerable populations in the Americas at the greatest risk.

Members of the IACHR pose for a photo as they present their final report on 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico
Members of the IACHR pose for a photo as they present their final report on 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico

REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Dear Member and Observer States of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,

Due to severe financial constraints, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced last week a 40% reduction in personnel and the suspension of public hearings until further notice. As an alliance that promotes freedom of expression, IFEX-ALC expresses serious concern over the IACHR's funding crisis and warns of serious implications for the region.

Over the course of 2013 to 2015, the IACHR faced a significant reduction in financing from its member states. During this period, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia the United States and Mexico all reduced their financial contributions to the Commission. Other member states (Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador) have contributed funds in two or less of the last five years. Furthermore, of 11 member states that have provided financial support in recent years, only Argentina, the United States, Peru and Uruguay have designated funds for the Commission for 2016.

The Commission has also seen a significant decrease in support among observer states. Of 13 states that have provided financial support in recent years, 10 have yet to do so in 2016. These states include: Azerbaijan, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Holland, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the European Union.

The IACHR is a fundamental institution for the protection of freedom of expression and other human rights in the Americas. The Commission has protected journalists, organizations and human rights defenders under threat and serves to ensure accountability of state actors when human rights are violated.

The financial crisis facing the IACHR severely limits its capacity to receive and process claims of human rights violations, thereby placing the most vulnerable populations in the Americas at the greatest risk. States' inability to provide justice throughout the region necessitates the Commission's role as a guarantor of human rights. The 2164 claims received in 2015 are indicative of the importance of the Commission's role, thus the suspension of hearings and reduction in staffing should not be taken lightly.

IFEX-ALC therefore calls upon member and observer states to reconsider their financial support to protect the IACHR's fundamental role in protecting human rights in the region.

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