Attack the OAS: Inside the ultra-conservative war on the Inter-American human rights system


“The attack first started when I was president”, Margarette May Macaulay, a lawyer and former judge from Jamaica who was elected to the top post at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 2018. She told openDemocracy how the US state department “said they could not give money to spend on my rapporteurship because we were promoting abortion”. “We do not promote anything,” said the lawyer, explaining the work of the body she oversaw. Its mandate includes investigating rights violations including unfair trials, extrajudicial executions, and violence against women. “The only thing we do lobby for is for ratification of conventions,” she said. “But they still cut the money because I think they wanted to anyway”. Strategic alliances of black, LGBTIQ and feminist groups helped gain political traction for these agreements, according to a lawyer who follows OAS negotiations and requested anonymity. But they have come under increasing attack – from conservative states as well as from civil society groups.

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