The EU’s engagement with regional multilateral organisations Case study: Inter-American perspective
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The sixth deliverable of Work Package No 5 (WP 5) presents the outcome of the analysis and critical assessment of EU human rights engagement with the Organization of American States (OAS). The EU has committed itself in the Treaty on European Union to promote and protect human rights and to ‘develop relations and build partnerships with [...] international, regional or global organisations’. The EU’s 2012 Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy explicitly identifies the OAS as one of the regional organisations with which the Union works in partnership in order to strengthen regional human rights mechanisms. In light of this commitment, the present report aims at four goals: mapping the human rights cooperation of the EU with the OAS, critically assessing this cooperation from a policy and institutional perspective, identifying specific and structural flaws in the EU’s approach, and looking for creative ways to facilitate a critical but constructive and effective relationship between the EU and the OAS. The deliverable consists of seven chapters. The first chapter is introductory. It explains the aims, scope and methodology of the analysis. The second chapter focuses on the legal and policy framework of EU-OAS relations. In a first section it traces the Union’s human rights commitment throughout the relevant legal instruments and policy documents; it then examines the legal framework for EU-OAS human rights cooperation. The third chapter maps the institutional framework of the EU-OAS relations with respect to human rights. It identifies the main EU and OAS bodies relevant for human rights protection, with special attention paid to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). The fourth chapter describes the goals and objectives of the EU with regard to the OAS in the field of human rights. Special attention is paid to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the European Commission and the OAS in 2009. The fifth chapter presents tools and methods employed by the EU in its engagement with the OAS in the field of human rights. The analysis distinguishes between a political approach and a thematic approach and puts emphasis on the aspect of financing. The sixth chapter contains two case studies, used to contextualise the analysis of the previous chapters. The first case study analyses the influence of EU-OAS cooperation on the development of the IACHR and the IACtHR. The second case study focuses on the impact of this cooperation on human rights protection at OAS member state level, using the example of the Republic of Peru. The seventh chapter assesses the EU’s engagement described in previous chapters from the perspective of coordination, coherence, consistency, effectiveness, realisation, influence and leadership. The final conclusions are presented in the eighth chapter. The research shows that the EU has a significant impact on the internal and public work of the IACHR and the IACtHR – the OAS bodies most relevant from the perspective of human rights. Along with this international impact, at the national level, the Union’s biggest contribution in Peru is based on civil society human rights projects implemented nationwide. Although EU-OAS human rights cooperation yields essentially positive results at the regional and national level, further coordination is required in order to achieve EU internal mandates.