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[...] 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.
FEATURES SUMMER 2009 HUMAN RIGHTS Viviana Krsticevic on how civil society gave a face and life to the human rights system. T 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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