N° 3/08



            Washington, D.C., February 22, 2008 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today signed a memorandum of understanding that seeks to intensify their relationship of mutual cooperation in order to promote and strengthen international humanitarian law and international human rights law. This is the first time that the IACHR has signed an agreement with the ICRC.


            With this signing, the two organizations pledged to share academic information of a non-confidential and public nature, such as articles, publications and studies, on matters of common interest relating to international humanitarian law and human rights law. The agreement also establishes that both organizations will cooperate in the organization of training sessions relating to these areas of law for the benefit of their respective staff members.


On another matter, the agreement establishes that the IACHR and the ICRC will cooperate in the organization of events geared toward outside audiences, including conferences, training sessions, seminars, exhibitions and other initiatives related to international humanitarian law and international human rights law. They also opened the door for each organization to participate in the other’s conferences or meetings, when such meetings address matters of common interest.


“In order to strengthen the protection of human beings in all circumstances, whether in peacetime, unusual states of emergency or times of war, it is essential to promote, make known and apply the principles of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” IACHR President Florentín Meléndez said at the signing ceremony.


“To more effectively approach these and many other tasks,” he continued, “I believe it is essential to deepen our cooperation, unite our efforts, exchange experiences and share opinions, which will help us better address the challenges, always with respect for the mandates of both the IACHR and the ICRC. The memorandum being signed today is the first and essential step to ensure such cooperation in helping to preserve the dignity and fundamental rights of human beings,” added Dr. Meléndez, who is also the IACHR Special Rapporteur for the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty.


            The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Meléndez and Michael Khambatta, Deputy Head of the ICRC Regional Delegation for United States and Canada. The ceremony took place in the Rubén Darío Room at the General Secretariat Building of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C. The agreement takes effect today and will last indefinitely.



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