Launch Workshop Examines IAHRS Impact

Leading human rights scholars and practitioners met in Mexico City between 10th and 11th October to discuss the impact of the Inter American Court and Commission on human rights outcomes in the Americas.

The event, which represented the inaugural workshop of the Inter-American Human Rights Network (IAHRN), saw the assembled experts examine a variety of issues pertaining to the system’s impact. The main themes under discussion included: theoretical perspectives on human rights impact and measurement; impact of specific IAHRS mechanisms; the role of domestic actors and institutions in shaping the impact of the IAHRS; and, more generally, the potential of and challenges to the development of genuinely interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary approaches to the study of the IAHRS.

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Within these overarching themes were a number of more specific presentations, which provided a detailed examination of issues such as: potential conflicts between IAHRS and other international human rights mechanisms, the effectiveness of friendly settlements and precautionary measures, the role of national human rights institutions and civil society organisations in the IAHRS, and the impact of Court rulings on institutional development in countries.

Complementing the thematic presentations were several case studies of the on-the-ground impacts of IAHRS rulings and recommendations in countries such as Peru, Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador and Guatemala. Senior officials and users of the Inter-American Commission also participated in a panel discussion where they outlined their perspectives on the historical successes and future challenges of the inter-American system.

Over the coming weeks, the IAHRN will produce a summary of the principal findings from the workshop, including details of the main areas of debate and some preliminary conclusions regarding the system’s impact. The network is also due to produce a policy brief, featuring suggestions as to how to increase the effectiveness of the component mechanisms of the IAHRS, which will be circulated to a wide variety of IAHRS stakeholders.

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This event was jointly hosted by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, and was kindly supported by funds from the Leverhulme Trust as part of an International Network Grant (IN-2014-013). The full programme is available here and a selection of a few of the presentations is included below:

Marcelo TorrelyFrom Compliance to Engagement

Courtney HillebrechtTheorizing & Assessing the Inter-American Human Rights System’s Impact beyond Compliance

Oscar Parra‘Empoderamiento institucional”: Impacto de las decisiones interamericanas en el impulso de políticas / agendas progresistas en el contexto de tensiones entre agencias / actores estatales’

Tom PegramFrom Compliance to Implementation: National Human Rights Institutions and the Inter-American Human Rights System’

Bruno Boti BernardiIAHRS and Transitional Justice in Peru

For further information on the workshop and future activities of the Network please contact Peter Low (p.low@ucl.ac.uk).

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