The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced that it would be cutting down its staff by 40% due to insufficient funding. It would also be suspending its hearings for the rest of the year. The Commission has investigated thousands of high profile human rights violations over the years, including cases dealing with sexual violence.
Since its installation in 1979, the Commission has been called upon for a variety of cases ranging from the Barrios Altos massacre in Peru to the Ayotzinapa mass kidnapping in Mexico. It has also worked on serving justice in women’s rights cases, such as sexual violence in Atenco, Mexico and defending women activists in Nicaragua. More recently, the family of slain Honduran activist Berta Cáceres and supporters have also called upon the Commission to investigate Berta’s murder.
To avert this dire situation, the Commission would need to receive funds, or at least commitments in writing for donations, before June 15. It urges the Organization of American States (OAS) and its member states to increase the budget it allocates to the Commission.
The Commission has historically been funded by donations from the US, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Norway, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Union. This year, Europe has focused the majority of its foreign assistance fund on the refugee crisis. As a result, the donations have dwindled down to $2.5 million in total from the United States, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay. It also receives 6 percent of the OAS budget. This is less than the OAS spends on maintaining its buildings, according to James Cavallaro, president of Commission.
Severe Financial Crisis of the IACHR Leads to Suspension of Hearings and Imminent Layoff of Nearly Half its Staff, IACHR Press and Communication Office, May 23 2016
IACHR financial crisis: Suspends hearings; 40% staff layoffs to come, IntLawGrrls, May 24 2016