- Table of National Cases
- Table of Treaties, Declarations, and Other International Instruments
- Table of Abbreviations
- Notes on the Contributors
- Moral Philosophy
- Biological Foundations of Human Rights
- Sociology of Human Rights
- The Psychological Foundations of Human Rights
- Anthropology and the Grounds of Human Rights
- The Foundations of Justice and Human Rights in Early Legal Texts and Thought
- General Principles and Constitutions as Sources of Human Rights Law
- The Anti-Slavery Movement and the Rise of International Non-Governmental Organizations
- Diplomatic Protection as a Source of Human Rights Law
- Humanitarian Law as a Source of Human Rights Law
- Social Justice, Rights, and Labour
- The Protection of Minorities under the Auspices of the League of Nations
- Human Dignity
- Democracy and the Rule of Law
- The Law-Making Process: From Declaration to Treaty to Custom to Prevention
- Core Rights and Obligations
- Jus Cogens and Obligations Erga Omnes
- Positive and Negative Obligations
- From Commission to the Council: Evolution of UN Charter Bodies
- The Role and Impact of Treaty Bodies
- The Role of International Tribunals: Law-Making or Creative Interpretation?
- Universality and the Growth of Regional Systems
- National Implementation and Interpretation
- Roles and Responsibilities of Non-State Actors
- Interpretation of Human Rights Treaties
- Enforcing Human Rights Through Economic Sanctions
- Transnational Litigation: Jurisdiction and Immunities
- The Use of International Force to Prevent or Halt Atrocities: From Humanitarian Intervention to the Responsibility to Protect
- Trade Law and Investment Law
- Creating and Applying Human Rights Indicators
- What Outcomes for Victims?
- Human Rights Make a Difference: Lessons from Latin America
Abstract and Keywords
This article discusses the lessons that can be learned from the history of the enforcement of human rights law in Latin America. It explains that there were mass human rights violations in the region during the 1970s under military dictatorship and describes how the Latin American communities have adopted the language of international human rights to advance the construction of more just and free societies with accountable governments. It highlights the role of civil society in the gradual process of incorporating human rights norms into the domestic legal systems.
Juan E. Méndez holds an Abogado degree (JD equivalent) from the Stella Maris Catholic University, Mar del Plata, Argentina, and a certificate from the Washington College of Law, The American University, Washington DC (1980). He is admitted to the Bar of the District of Columbia, USA and of Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata, Argentina. He teaches at the Washington College of Law and is currently the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. He is the author, with Marjory Wentworth, of Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights (Palgrave MacMillan 2011). He was President of the International Center for Transitional Justice between 2004 and 2009. He is a Visiting Fellow, Kellogg College, Oxford, and in 2009 and 2010 he was an Adviser to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, on Crime Prevention. In the summer of 2009 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation, New York. He is also former Special Adviser to the Secretary General (UN) on Prevention of Genocide. At Human Rights Watch he directed the Americas division (1982–93) and was later General Counsel (1994–96). He was Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica (1996–99). From 2000 to 2003 he was a member—and in 2002 the President—of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States. He has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown Law School, and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and he teaches regularly at the Oxford Masters Programme in International Human Rights Law.
Catherine Cone is a 2013 J.D. candidate at American University Washington College of Law who served as a research assistant to Juan E. Méndez. She has worked for the International Center for Transitional Justice in Bogotá, Colombia, and the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in Washington, DC. At her law school, Ms. Cone serves on the American University Law Review and founded a mentoring program for first generation law students.
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