Introducing the Dejusticia Blog Series: Politics, Challenges, & Opportunities of the Inter-American Human Rights System

By: Sean Luna McAdams & Celeste Kauffman*


In recent months, all eyes have been on the humanitarian tragedy of Syrian refugees unfolding on the shores of Greece and the European Union’s eastern border, a topic that this blog has also discussed. However, there are more human rights crises than the attention span of media is capable of covering at any given time. In particular, those who have been following Latin American news have likely heard of the massive, illegal deportations of Colombians from Venezuela, and recent developments in the case regarding the horrific disappearance of 43 Mexican students last year.

Using this current context as a starting point for a broader debate about the importance, efficacy, and challenges facing international law, we have curated a series of commentaries about the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) from Dejusticia researchers who are some of the most prominent socio-legal scholars on the continent. In part, this series is inspired by a recent collective book project coordinated by Dejusticia that analyzes the State-led initiative to weaken the IAHRS and civil society’s response to that initiative. The series will begin with a reflection from Camilo Sánchez on the challenges faced by the IAHRS and offers some thoughts on new, promising mechanisms that better address human rights issues in the region. It will then feature entries by César Rodríguez GaravitoMauricio García Villegas, and Rodrigo Uprimny that consider the role of the IAHRS, international law, and other international institutions in these recent human rights crises from different perspectives, explaining how member-states have played a role in weakening the regional human rights system and reflecting on its unique role in addressing these contexts.

This series aims to give readers a more in depth analysis of human rights violations and developments in Latin America than news coverage provides. Additionally, we hope that a first-hand perspective from practitioners and scholars on the role and challenges of using international law to address urgent human rights problems is useful for our readers. We believe this debate provides a grounded analysis that could suggest some directions for future international and regional human rights advocacy in the Latin America specifically, with hopes it will be useful for advocates across the global South.

* Sean Luna McAdams and Celeste Kauffman are researchers at the Center for Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia).