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American Convention on Human Rights

Toby Mendel


The American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) is the leading Organization of American States (OAS) human rights treaty. Adopted in 1969, it came into force in 1978. It guarantees, among other things, the right to freedom of expression (→  Freedom of Communication ; Communication and Law ). The ACHR was preceded by the OAS Charter, the founding document of the OAS, which includes only limited guarantees of human rights, and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, both adopted in 1948. The latter provides a simple guarantee for the right to freedom of “expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium” (Article IV). Article 13 of the ACHR contains very detailed provisions on freedom of expression. In some respects, it is similar to its international counterpart, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Like Article 16, Article 13 guarantees everyone the right to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas,” regardless of frontiers and using any form of communication, including oral, written, print, or art (→  Freedom of Information ). Like the ICCPR, the ACHR permits States to restrict freedom of expression, but any restriction must be established by law and be necessary to protect the rights or reputations of others, national security, public order, or public health or morals. This list is identical to its counterpart ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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