Inter-American Human Rights System

In April 1948 the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man was adopted in Bogota, Colombia, which was the first international human rights instrument of its kind. At the same conference the Charter of Organization of American States was also adopted and subsequently created the Organization of American States.

The Organization of American States was established to achieve among its member states “an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence”, (Article 1 of the Charter).  The OAS constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the region.

In November 1969 delegates of the member States of the Organization of the American States adopted the American Convention on Human Rights, which entered into force on 18 July 1978.

The Convention created the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and defined the functions and procedures of the Court and also for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Commission has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is located in San José, Costa Rica.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States but its mandate is found in the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights.

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