Conservative Governments and Latin America's Human Rights Landscape

113 AJIL Unbound 375 (2019)

5 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2019

See all articles by Jorge Contesse

Jorge Contesse

Rutgers Law School; Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Date Written: November 11, 2019


In 2009, as the American Convention on Human Rights turned forty, left-wing governments ruled in almost all Latin American countries. The democratization wave that began in the late 1980s had produced a seemingly hegemonic turn to the left — the so-called “Pink Tide.” A decade later, the political landscape was radically different. With only a few exceptions, right-wing governments have been in power throughout Latin America. The implications of the conservative wave are felt in a number of areas — including human rights.

This essay explores the ways in which the new conservative governments of Latin American have tried to curb the inter-American human rights system and examines the potential long-term consequences that their efforts may have on the regional system and the protection of human rights. It then suggests possible avenues for sound engagement between states and the system, observing that the Inter-American Court’s expansive case law may cause more harm in the long run.

Keywords: Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Latin America, human rights

Suggested Citation

Contesse, Jorge, Conservative Governments and Latin America's Human Rights Landscape (November 11, 2019). 113 AJIL Unbound 375 (2019), Available at SSRN:

Jorge Contesse (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
United States


Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne ( email )

17, rue de la Sorbonne
Paris, IL 75005

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