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The Inter-American Human Rights System

A Primer

By Caroline Bettinger-López

Poverty lawyers face an increasingly conservative judiciary and narrowing access to federal courts. Their advocacy, however, need not be limited to U.S. courts. Applying the human rights context, advocates can plead their clients’ cases before the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Bringing cases before OAS bodies not only will give clients a day in court but also may yield fresh arguments for legal and policy changes, hold state actors accountable, spur normative developments in U.S. courts, effect legislative changes, spark interest in an issue, or change the framing of a debate.

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