In Bogotá, OHCHR and IACHR offices laid out joint actions in favour of human rights defenders

1 de March, 2018

Foto: ACNUDHSANTIAGO (28 February 2018) – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Central America, South America, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, held a meeting to coordinate actions for the protection of human rights defenders in the region. The meeting occurred within the framework of the IACHR’s 167th Period of Sessions, which is taking place in Bogotá, Colombia.

The meeting was held on 26-27 February and gathered together focal points from IACHR and the OHCHR offices in the region.

During the meeting, participants advanced in the consolidation of the “Joint Actions Mechanism to contribute to the protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas”, a cooperation plan between OHCHR and the IACHR to address the situation of defenders, one of the most pressing concerns in the region.

“This Mechanism was put in place after recognising the serious situation that defenders face in the region and after identifying the need to coordinate our contributions to assist States in complying with their obligations of protecting and guaranteeing human rights”, said at the meeting Mr. Guillermo Fernández Maldonado, a.i. representative of the OHCHR Regional Office for South America.

During the event, the OHCHR offices and IACHR agreed to continue their coordinated work in order to assist States to guarantee a safe and enabling environment for the full exercise and free defence of human rights in the region. They also produced concrete proposals for 2018 in five priority areas: joint studies; monitoring and protection; incidence; promotion; and technical assistance.

“We agreed with IACHR to carry out periodic information exchanges, joint analyses of especially concerning issues and the implementation of concrete actions to contribute to a timely and effective protection of defenders at risk”, Mr. Fernández Maldonado completed.

Joint actions mechanism

The Joint Actions Mechanism is an initiative by OHCHR and IACHR seeking to intensify its coordinated work in favour of human rights defenders, drawing on their complementary strengths and creating stronger connections between their staff.

The initiative was launched on 25 October 2017 by commissioners of IACHR and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. “Human rights defenders are vital for the healthy functioning of societies, and yet in recent years they have been increasingly targeted in the Americas”, he said in that event.

Since the launch of the Mechanism, both entities have carried out joint actions such as increasing the exchange of information and analysis, issuing joint statements on situations of mutual concern and a public consultation about the Mechanism itself, which took place on 5 December 2017 in Washington, D.C., in the United States.


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