Today, Secretary of State Clinton met with Professor Dinah Shelton, President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the members of the Commission.
This is an historic moment for the Commission, which welcomes three newly elected women Commissioners to serve on the hemispheric human rights body. A principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Commission advances the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the Americas. It impacts thousands of lives in the hemisphere through the issuance of decisions and recommendations to OAS member states to improve the human rights conditions in their countries.
Secretary Clinton stressed the United States’ support for the work of the Commission and its Rapporteurs. The visit also provided occasion for the announcement of an increase in the United States’ financial support for the Commission.
The Commission plays a unique role and is a model for other regions. It investigates individual petitions that allege violations of human rights and publishes special reports on individual countries. It also promotes human rights through the work of its Rapporteurs such as the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The Commission’s work has helped to protect and in many cases saved the lives of those who work to advance human rights and advocate for the needs of vulnerable populations.
The defense and promotion of human rights is a foundation of the OAS, and the United States is committed to continuing support of the Commission’s work and its independence. Preserving the IACHR’s autonomy from political interference is a pillar of our human rights policy in the region.