Over the course of the next five decades, it evolved into a crucial tool against injustice-exceeding the imagination of its founders and making it a force in the hemisphere and an example in the world. Since its founding, the Commission has not only helped to raise the bar against human rights violators but also focused international attention on abuses committed by repressive regimes, helping to facilitate the region's transition to democracy.
1960 The ﬁrst session of the Inter-American Commission. THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS 50 AND THE NEW CHALLENGES THAT AWAIT YEARSOF ADVANCES 1979 The Inter-American Commission at the front door of the Villa Devoto jail, during its visit to Argentina. SOMEONE: FIRST LASTNAME 56 Americas Quarterly SUMMER 2009 A M E R I C A S Q U A R T E R LY . O R G AQ0309_CANT_LAY19.indd Sec1:56 6/23/09 7:59:53 AM In its half century of existence the Inter-American Commission has dramatically expanded human rights law. Now new thematic and organizational challenges will determine whether it can build on that hard-won authority. BY SANTIAGO CANTON 1980 2008 ON AUGUST 18, 1959, THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION Center: Picture taken during an Inter-American on Human Rights (Commission) was created in a meeting of ministers of foreign Commission on Human Rights affairs held in Santiago, Chile. Over the course of the next ﬁve decades, it evolved site visit to Nicaragua in into a crucial tool against injustice—exceeding the imagination of its founders October 1980, outside the jail 1979: LA NACIÓN; 2008: MARCELO MONTESINO. El Chipote, in Managua. From and making it a force in the hemisphere and an example in the world. left to right: Commission Since its founding, the Commission has not only helped to raise the bar against Assistant Executive Secretary human rights violators but also focused international attention on abuses commit- David Padilla; Minister of the Interior of Nicaragua Tomás ted by repressive regimes, helping to facilitate the region’s transition to democracy. Borge; Commissioner Marco PHOTOS COURTESY OF OAS. With the adoption of the 1969 American Convention on Human
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