Bridging the Gap: National Human Rights Institutions and the Inter-American Human Rights System
Forthcoming in: P. Engstrom et al. (eds.) Assessing the Impact of the Inter-American Human Rights System (TBC)
33 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2016
Date Written: February 16, 2016
As the focus turns towards the challenge of human rights implementation, increasing attention is being paid to how the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) actually informs human rights politics and practice in domestic jurisdictions. In this task, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in Latin America, most commonly Human Rights Commissions or Ombudsmen (Comisiones Nacionales de los Derechos Humanos and Defensorías del Pueblo), have emerged as potentially important intermediary actors for both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), serving as links in the transmission and implementation of international human rights norms and rulings. The chapter begins with a discussion of NHRIs as IAHRS compliance intermediaries, with particular attention paid to their formal aptitude to assume such a function. We then highlight the formal relationship between NHRIs and the IAHRS before specifying modalities of engagement in greater detail, drawing on the experience of NHRIs throughout the region. The chapter closes with an in depth case study of the Peruvian office and an examination of what the analysis means for the future of NHRI-IAHRS relations. It concludes that the system could do more to engage credible NHRIs in its activities, both as a resource to buttress its own impact and to provide support for its embattled supporters at the domestic level.
Keywords: Human rights, ombudsmen, national human rights institutions, interamerican system, Peru
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