Inter-American Mechanisms

oasThe Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an organ of the Organization of American States, created to promote the observance and defense of human rights and to serve as consultative organ of the Organization. It examines allegations of violations of the Charter of the OAS and violations of the American Convention on Human Rights.

The American States reaffirm the principles of International law is the standard of conduct of States in their reciprocal relations; proclaim the fundamental rights of the individual without distinction as to race, nationality, creed, or sex; The powers referred to in this article shall be exercised in accordance with this Charter.

The Charter of the Organization of American States was signed in Bogotá in 1948 and amended by the “Protocol of Buenos Aires” in 1967, by the “Protocol of Cartagena de Indias” in 1985, by the “Protocol of Washington” in 1992, and by the “Protocol of Managua” in 1993.

Read excerpts from the chapters:-


Article 10

States are juridically equal, enjoy equal rights and equal capacity to exercise these rights, and have equal duties. The rights of each State depend not upon its power to ensure the exercise thereof, but upon the mere fact of its existence as a person under international law.

Article 11

Every American State has the duty to respect the rights enjoyed by every other State in accordance with international law.

Individuals and organizations may petition the Commission to examine complaints regarding the violation of rights under the Charter and American Convention on Human Rights. A form for petitioning the Commission is available on the Commission’s website.

Article 44

The Convention allows the Commission to receive petitions on behalf of individuals, charging a State for violating any of the rights enumerated in the Convention . The petitions may be filed by the victim himself or by a non-governmental organization or another body on their behalf. Thus not only victims of a violation have the right to file private petitions. The prerequisites for admissibility are similar to those of other international organs dealing with human right violations:

  • The petitioner must have exhausted domestic remedies in accordance with general principles of international law.
  • The petition should be submitted within a period of 6 months from the date of which the victim of the alleged violation was notified of the final domestic judgment in his case.

Article 45

The Member States, convinced that man can only achieve the full realization of his aspirations within a just social order, along with economic development and true peace, agree to dedicate every effort to the application of the following principles and mechanisms:

a) All human beings, without distinction as to race, sex, nationality, creed, or social condition, have a right to material well-being and to their spiritual development, under circumstances of liberty, dignity, equality of opportunity, and economic security;

b) Work is a right and a social duty, it gives dignity to the one who performs it, and it should be performed under conditions, including a system of fair wages, that ensure life, health, and a decent standard of living for the worker and his family, both during his working years and in his old age, or when any circumstance deprives him of the possibility of working;

Article 53

The Organization of American States accomplishes its purposes by means of:

  • a) The General Assembly;
  • b) The Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs;
  • c) The Councils;
  • d) The Inter-American Juridical Committee;
  • e) The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
  • f) The General Secretariat;
  • g) The Specialized Conferences; and
  • h) The Specialized Organizations.

There may be established, in addition to those provided for in the Charter and in accordance with the provisions thereof, such subsidiary organs, agencies, and other entities as are considered necessary.


Article 54

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization of American States. It has as its principal powers, in addition to such others as are assigned to it by the Charter, the following:

a) To decide the general action and policy of the Organization, determine the structure and functions of its organs, and consider any matter relating to friendly relations among the American States;

b) To establish measures for coordinating the activities of the organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization among themselves, and such activities with those of the other institutions of the interAmerican system;

c) To strengthen and coordinate cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies;


Article 106

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, whose principal function shall be to promote the observance and protection of human rights and to serve as a consultative organ of the Organization. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jose Costa Rica, is an autonomous judicial institution of the Organization of American States aimed at the application and interpretation of the American Convention on Human Rights and other treaties concerning the same matter was established in 1979.

International Human Rights Mechanisms

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Principal Resources

United Nations Read More

International Law Read More

Organization of American States (OAS)Read More

Charter of the OAS (A-41)Download(PDF 272 KB)

Charter of the OAS Website – EnglishRead More

Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Read More

Council of EuropeRead More

European Court of Human RightsRead More

Organization of African UnityRead More

The Universal Declaration of Human RightsRead More

Legal Framework of Rome StatuteRead More

The International Criminal Court (ICC)Read More


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