Democracy is in decline across the Americas, as governments are undermining civil liberties and the institutions meant to protect them. How can human rights defenders protect and promote the most fundamental democratic freedoms amid this challenging environment? Drawing inspiration from history, this event will explore President Carter's response to a similar crisis during his tenure, highlighting his pioneering approach of incorporating the defense of human rights into foreign policy.

Coinciding with the Organization of American States’ (OAS) General Assembly, USIP, the Carter Center, the Inter-American Dialogue, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS hosted a discussion of the Carter administration’s legacy defending human rights throughout the Americas and what it can teach today’s policymakers and human rights defenders.

Through a series of discussions, expert panelists analyzed the Carter administration's policies and initiatives; discussed successful interventions and lessons learned; and provided insights into the diplomatic, economic and legal tools employed by the administration to advance human rights in the Americas. By learning from history, we can pave the way for a more effective and impactful defense of human rights in the Americas today.

Continue the conversation on Twitter using #CarterHumanRights.

Event Program and Resources

Agenda

Welcoming Remarks

Keith Mines
Director, Latin America Program, U.S. Institute of Peace

The Legacy of President Carter in the Americas and at the OAS

Luis Almagro
Secretary General of the OAS

Enrique Roig
Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State
Video: President Carter on Human Rights, 1978

The Impact of Carter in Human Rights Policy: Legacy and Lessons Learned

Margaret Myers, moderator
Director, Asia & Latin America Program, IAD

Roberta Clarke
2nd Vice-President and Country Rapporteur for the U.S., IACHR

Tom J. Farer
Professor of International Relations at the Josef Korbel School, University of Denver; Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (1976-76); Member and President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (1976-83)

Juan Méndez
Professor of Human Rights Law at American University’s Washington College of Law; Member and President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2000-03); Executive Director of the Inter-American Human Rights Institute (1996-99)

Mark L. Schneider
Senior Adviser, Americas Program and the Human Rights Initiative, CSIS; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian affairs (1977-79); Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, 1999-2001

Fighting for Human Rights and Transitioning to Democracy: The Case of Chile

Juan Gabriel Valdés
Ambassador of Chile to the United States

Video: Our neighbors to the South, The Carter Center

Building Trust in Democratic Institutions: Carrying Forward Carter’s Vision of Inclusive Democracy

Margaret Myers, moderator
Director, Asia & Latin America Program, IAD

Samuel Lewis
Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama (2004-2009)

Jennie K. Lincoln
Senior Advisor for Latin America and Caribbean, The Carter Center

Maricarmen Plata
Secretary for Access to Rights and Equity, OAS

Closing Remarks

Jennie K. Lincoln
Senior Advisor for Latin America and Caribbean, The Carter Center

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