[...] definitely not least, it extended rights and justice to the marginalized. Unarguably, this is an artifact of Cuba's isolation from the human rights community and body of law that has evolved over the last 50 years, and the uniqueness of Cuba for human rights jurists and activists who cut their teeth fighting against the military governments of the 1970s and 1980s.

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                             SUMMER 2009

    RIGHTS                                                                 Viviana Krsticevic on how civil
                                                                           society gave a face and life to the
                                                                           human rights system.

                  he 50th A nniversar y of the Inter-A merican             rights groups to rethink their strategy and even their
                  Commission on Human Rights (Commission), which           raison d’être. Take one: crime and violence. The number
                  we commemorate in this issue, provides an ideal          one or two concern of citizens in the Americas south of
                  opportunity to reflect on the remarkable evolution        the Rio Grande is personal security. The lawlessness that
                  of human rights in the region, and the challenges        has allowed criminal groups to fester, and in some cases
              ahead. If the Inter-American Convention on Human             rule—through terror or corruption—in Guatemala,
              Rights, which entered into force in 1948, formed the         Honduras, El Salvador, and parts of Mexico is now
              basis for today’s Inter-American system of human rights,     one of the primary human rights issues in the region.
              then the Commission, which was formally agreed to in         This is far different from the past, when human rights
              1959 and held its first meeting in 1960, is its keystone.     groups concentrated on protecting citizens against the
                  In the 50-year span that we celebrate with this issue,   state through focusing on illiberal laws, the abuse of
              the Commission, together with the Inter-American             state power, bloodthirsty private armies, and power-
              Court of Human Rights added in 1979, has been a pioneer.     hungry autocrats. Now, it’s about protecting citizens
              It exposed the fate of the once-nameless disappeared         against other citizens. This involves strengthening
              in places like Honduras and Argentina, demanded              the state rather than reining it in while still holding
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