Human Rights and Non-Intervention in the Inter-American System

The long silence of the inter-American system is remarkable when contrasted with the continuing efforts of the United Nations to elaborate an International Bill of Rights and the significant accomplishments of the Council of Europe in implementing on a regional basis the principal values enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The OAS’ lack of interest, until quite recently, in undertaking a similar international program to protect human rights in the American republics is a function of several very special factors, the most important of which is the traditional Latin American repudiation of intervention, in whatever form and for whatever reason, in the internal affairs of American states. This article will examine the recent efforts to protect such rights in the American continent within the context of the evolution of the inter-American system and the development within that system of the law of non-intervention.