About CEJIL

MISSION, VISION AND PRINCIPAL OBJECTIVES

The institutional mission of CEJIL is to contribute to the full enjoyment of human rights in the Americas through the effective use of the tools of the Inter-American System and international human rights law.

CEJIL aspires for its work to help forge the ideal of a hemisphere where people live freely, without fear or want, as established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Preamble of the American Convention of Human Rights.

In this regard, CEJIL has established the following priority objectives:

  • Respond to grave human rights violations committed, or tolerated, by state agents, in the present or the recent past;
  • Contribute to reducing the inequality and exclusion that prevails in the region, to guaranty the right to equality and respect for human dignity;
  • Contribute to the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law, with a focus on justice systems, civil society and other key social actors;
  • Increase the effectiveness of the decisions adopted by the Inter-American System and promote equal access to the System’s mechanisms.

In order to achieve these objectives, CEJIL has for almost two decades employed an intervention strategy that is broad and creative, and which has allowed the organization to distinguish itself as a leader in the protection and promotion of human rights in the Americas.

 

HISTORY

In the early 1990s, the Inter-American System for the promotion and protection of human rights was beginning to emerge as an important forum for rights protection in the Americas. Jurisprudence was constantly evolving as a result of the new resolutions issued by the System’s organs. The emergence of this new normative system represented a major challenge for organizations and human rights defenders who worked in the region and lacked the necessary knowledge and technical capacity to make the most of the System’s potential.

In response to this situation, in 1991 a group of prominent human rights defenders from throughout the Americas met in Caracas, Venezuela with the intention of creating a regional organization that would seek justice, liberty and a dignified existence for the inhabitants of all the countries of the hemisphere, focusing its efforts on the use of international human rights law and the organs of the Inter-American System. Thus was born the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

In its early years, CEJIL focused primarily on protecting civil and political rights, with most of its cases based on the right to life, to physical integrity, to due process or freedom of expression. Later, in response to emerging needs, CEJIL expanded its range of issues, dedicating increased attention to economic, social and cultural rights and to the collective rights of vulnerable groups (including indigenous peoples, women, children, and human rights defenders).

CEJIL has made the most of democratic transitions, the end of the civil wars in Central America, and the opportunities that arose in various countries to negotiate friendly settlements in a number of cases that made a significant contribution to the respect for human rights. Likewise, CEJIL has taken on the task of monitoring the implementation of the decisions of the Inter-American Commission and Court, in order to ensure that victims are properly compensated, that justice is done and that the structural changes promised are implemented.