On Friday, November 12, 2021, during the 51st Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS), elections were held for vacant posts in five organs, agencies and entities of the Organisation.
During these elections, the Government of Barbados nominated candidate Roberta Clarke was one of three successful contenders elected to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
Ms. Clarke is a lawyer and a human rights activist with over 35 years’ experience and has shaped and been shaped by the international architecture of human rights.
As one of two CARICOM representatives on the seven-member Commission, she hopes to bring her wealth of experience to bear on the Commission by being responsive to all member states’ need and to accelerate the pace of human rights compliance in the Americas.
Ms. Clarke’s successful campaign was directed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, with lobbying efforts executed by the Permanent Mission of Barbados to the OAS.
Ms. Clarke successfully competed against a field of four additional countries vying for three vacant positions opening on January 1, 2022. Representatives from Mexico and Colombia will join Ms. Clarke as they assume their roles for the next three years.
“It is an honour to have been elected to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as Barbados’ nominee. The Commission has the mandate to promote and protect human rights for everyone without discrimination. And its role is even more important now in this time of unprecedented challenges arising from the COVID pandemic and the climate crisis. As an independent Commissioner, I will contribute to the Commission’s work to accelerate social justice and ending historical inequalities, including those based on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social status, abilities and migrant status.
“I will work to support member states in their ratification and implementation of human rights obligations and in particular, the American Convention on Human Rights, and promote the meaningful participation of civil society. As someone from the Caribbean, we have much to gain from a closer engagement with the Inter-American human rights system and we have much to contribute as a region with a history of actions to overcome the legacies of colonialism through democratic movements,” Ms. Clarke stated.
The Inter American Commission on Human Rights is tasked with the promotion, observance and protection of human rights in the Americas and serves as a consultative organ of the OAS in these matters.