Latin America’s national human rights institutions: fostering democratic transitions and guaranteeing human rights

Latin America’s national human rights institutions: fostering democratic transitions and guaranteeing human rights

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Latin America – also known as Public Defenders, Ombudsman Offices, Human Rights Commissions or Human Rights Attorneys – take on a variety of roles.  Overall, they aim to bring civil society demands before public authorities, mediate social conflicts of public interest and provide an array of inclusive mechanisms for social involvement. They also influence public policies to incorporate a human rights approach, address cases of serious human rights violations, promote victims’ rights and issue recommendations to authorities in order to reinstitute their rights. Overall, these institutions also serve as a means of balancing power asymmetries between the State and the citizenry and promoting accountability amongst government agencies. This Brief analyses innovative practices implemented by Latin America’s NHRIs, as well as the contextual elements which have made their development and efficient enforcement possible.

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