The Inter-American Human Rights System: Selected Examples of its Supervisory Work


The Inter-American Human Rights System: Selected Examples of its Supervisory Work



The goal of this chapter is to describe briefly the functions of the Commission and the Inter-American Court and provide some examples on how these organs have addressed human rights violations in regard to English-speaking States. The States of the Americas currently have a more constructive relationship with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (‘Commission’) and the Inter-American Court, which includes a better understanding of the complementary role that such organs play within their national institutions. This atmosphere allows for better dialogue and coordinated action between civil society, States, the Commission and the Inter-American Court in the common goal of safeguarding human rights. Several States have recently adopted national legislation and practices that broadened effective implementation of standards and decisions. The increasing growth and impact of the Inter-American system, however, has simultaneously adversely affected it. This is exemplified by the hesitance of Organization of American States (‘OAS’) members in allocating essential additional funding for the Commission and the Inter-American Court. Additionally, there is a lack of universal ratification by all of the OAS State members of the core treaties of the Inter-American human rights system, in particular, the American Convention on Human Rights (‘IACHR’). Although the Commission monitors human rights compliance in the US, Canada, and a number of Caribbean States under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, the effectiveness of that supervision would strengthen if those States became parties to the IACHR. Furthermore, the case law developed by the Inter-American Court demonstrates that access to this tribunal would also benefit the protection of human rights in many of the English-speaking States that have not yet accepted its contentious jurisdiction. Section 2 focuses on the Commission’s powers and functions and contains an overview of the work carried out in monitoring the protection of human rights in the so-called war against terrorism. Section 3 describes the scope of the Inter-American Court’s powers and functions within its contentious jurisdiction, and there is a brief review of a group of emblematic human rights issues which the Inter-American Court addresses, in the context of cases arising from English-speaking Caribbean States.



Publication Date


Book Title

Research Handbook on International Human Rights Law


Edward Elgar Publishing Inc.


Inter-American human rights system, Inter-American Court, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Human rights, Organization of American States, Contentious jurisdiction, Human rights violations, Human rights compliance


Human Rights Law | International Law | Law

The Inter-American Human Rights System: Selected Examples of its Supervisory Work