Beyond precautionary measures : the commitment and practice of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to implement a gender and multicultural perspective

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Clark, Andrea Christina

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New iterations of violence have emerged in Latin America as democratic governments replaced old dictatorships. However, human rights abuses have continued as new models of neoliberalism and globalization reinforce old structures of gender, race and ethnicity. The human rights systems, besides its cosmetic procedural changes and new programs, seem to be navigating cautiously and slowly these new iterations and evolving economic models while attempting to monitor and defend human rights. This thesis engages in a reflection on how human rights mechanisms, in general, and precautionary measures in the Inter-American Commission, in particular, are protecting people and communities in vulnerable situations today. Gender-mainstreaming has led to a slow, but visible rise in practices around gender sensitivity in the Inter-American System. As a result of multiculturalism in the human rights regimes, the System has celebrated the rise of collective and cultural rights, but the logic of multicultural neoliberalism has presented challenges to communities accessing the System. Where the literature has fallen short and this thesis makes a contribution is that there must be an intersectional analysis of these two trends—gender mainstreaming and multiculturalism—in order to understand many of the opportunities and challenges confronting the System. The gender violence that results from or exists in the context of multicultural neoliberalism is often silenced but becomes visible in this thesis through a survey of different cases of precautionary measures. Femicides, disappearances, and the assassination of human rights defenders are all on the rise. And these iterations of violence threaten in particular ways the lives of women and indigenous and afro-descendant women. In general, the study aims to expand on the literature of human rights, engage in a reflection of human rights mechanisms, and identify the opportunities and limitations of international human rights systems in achieving gender, multicultural and racial justice as part of transformative, counter-hegemonic projects during a time of neoliberalism.


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