It didn’t seem like much at first—the vote to approve the agenda at June 23 meeting of the OAS Permanent Council. But behind the scenes, Venezuela had been trying to head off a discussion over the state of its democracy. It lost, and with some interesting defections.
In addition to bringing in an all-white male cabinet, Brazilian interim president Michel Temer has made his priorities clear as he downgrades the importance of human rights and looks to end constitutional spending requirements on health and education.
A little-known UN Committee recently denied consultative status to the NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, another example of the growing trend of authoritarian governments extending their intolerance for human rights and civil society to a global level.
This week the Inter-American Commission—a keystone in the inter-American system of human rights—warned that it will have to curtail activities and staff due to a budget shortfall. Will member states step up in time to save it?
If Prime Minister Trudeau truly wants to bring Canada back to being a leader on the world stage, he needs to reconcile Canada’s promotion of its resource extraction industry with a fairer, more progressive policy in its investments and practices overseas.
Latin American and Caribbean states have been astoundingly cheap in supporting the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In 2013, Chile only contributed $80,000, and the same year Brazil and Venezuela gave nothing to the Commission.
A recent Spanish report by DeJusticia details the modern challenges of the inter-American system of human rights: political consensus; countries refusing to pay their obligations; and countries cutting their contributions when they receive decisions they don’t like.
The net effect of these new bodies has been to create parallel forums more favorable to the interests of autocrats. That may be OK for Venezuela and others, but why are Brazil and other countries going along? And where are the media?