Collective Claims and the Draft Inter-American Convention Against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance
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In its simplest form, a collective claim is brought to protect the rights of more than one person. In practice, there are multiple forms of collective claims. To date, the most common form of collective claim is one in which multiple individuals are represented, and every individual represented is named in the complaint. This type of collective claim fails to meet the needs of modern human rights issues. It is important that the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance (Inter-American Convention) go beyond this type of collective claim. The Inter-American Convention needs to include a collective claim mechanism by which claims may be brought on behalf of a group or collective without the requirement of naming the individual members.1 Such a collective claim allows claims to be brought on behalf of communities, the citizenry as a whole, and marginalized groups, to name only a few of the beneficiaries. Currently, the Draft Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance (Draft Convention) provides no mechanism by which a collective claim may be brought. The purpose of this paper is threefold: 1) to provide a brief survey of collective claims available in international documents and the domestic laws of member states of the Organization of American States (OAS); 2) to explain the importance of providing a collective claim in the Inter-American Convention; and 3) to recommend a type of collective claim for inclusion in the Inter-American Convention.