The Inter-American Human Rights System: Notable Achievements and Enduring Challenges
Forthcoming in Contemporary Challenges for Understanding and Securing Human Rights in Practice edited by Corinne Lennox
4 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 2015
In the teaching, as well as in the historiography, of international human rights, regional human rights systems, with the partial exception of the European Court of Human Rights, remain marginalised. This is regrettable for a number of reasons; not least because the richness of regional experiences with human rights offers us a more nuanced understanding of the enduring attraction of human rights around the world (as well as a better sense of the diversity and contentious political struggles that characterise them), than that prevailing in the current literature proclaiming the endtimes of human rights (Hopgood 2013; Moyn 2012).
Nowhere can this be seen better than in the region of the Americas, where the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) emerged to play a vanguard role in the development of the modern international human rights regime. This short piece briefly reviews the current state of the IAHRS, and highlights its key achievements, as well as some of the many challenges it faces. It should be pointed out, from the outset, that any list of achievements and challenges inevitably depends on perspective, the specific yardstick adopted, and, in particular, the understanding of what could be reasonably expected from the IAHRS.
Keywords: human rights, Latin America, Latin American politics, Inter-American Human Rights System, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
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