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IACHR publishes Compendium on the Obligation of States to Adapt Their Domestic Legislation to the Inter-American Standards of Human Rights

April 06, 2021

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published today a report entitled "Compendium on the Obligation of States to Adapt Their Domestic Legislation to the Inter-American Standards of Human Rights." The main objective of the document is to provide a tool for technical cooperation in the field, available to individuals and actors who use the system, such as public policy operators, and other agents of state powers, civil society, social movements, academia, among others. The IACHR has developed this report in compliance with its mandate and in view of the programming of its Strategic Plan 2017-2021.

The obligation of States to adapt their domestic norms to the standards of the Inter-American System of Human Rights has been part of the historical recommendations that the IACHR has made through its pronouncements and decisions considering the American Convention on Human Rights and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Thus, in the exercise of its powers and through its various mechanisms, the IACHR has presented the scope of this obligation in its reports on individual cases, country, thematic, and annual reports.

The effectiveness of the Inter-American System of Human Rights requires the incorporation as well as the correct application of inter-American standards by the States. In this sense, the obligation to incorporate such standards derives, inter alia, from the preamble of the American Declaration, Article 2 of the American Convention on Human Rights, as well as Articles 26 and 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and the fundamental principles of the OAS Charter. In this sense, the States must concretize the obligation to guarantee the human rights protection in their domestic sphere, through the verification of the conformity of national norms and practices with the inter-American obligations in the field of human rights.

The compendium updates the central notions of the inter-American System in order to facilitate its conceptual understanding. With this compendium, the Commission intends to provide a tool for strengthening the capacities of state actors at all levels and civil society both at the local level and at the level of the inter-American System to disseminate the standards and recommendations of the IACHR regarding the obligation of States to adapt their domestic legislation and thus contribute to the incorporation of inter-American human rights law in the regulations, practices and public policies of the region, thus complying with international human rights commitments. This compendium collects the historical work carried out by the Commission in the development of its mandates and includes in its text a selection of the relevant parts of reports adopted that its allow to account for the scope of said obligation.

These modalities of cooperation, promotion and technical assistance tools are developed by the Inter-American Commission with the objective of promoting greater knowledge and use of the inter-American human rights standards.

The compendium was produced as part of the activities of the "Regional Project on Human Rights and Democracy", which is executed jointly with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and seeks to strengthen the knowledge of the Inter-American System of Human Rights and its standards of key local actors in charge of protecting and defending human rights.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence..

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 086/21