This year, 2021, will be very important in the fight against corruption around the world, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean. For the first time, the United Nations General Assembly will hold a special session dedicated to the fight against corruption (A/RES/73/191); and, at the hemispheric level, it is expected that the IX Summit of the Americas will provide an opportunity for the region to showcase its accomplishments since the adoption of the Lima Commitment of 2018 (“Democratic Governance Against Corruption”).
One can add to these events the arrival of a new Biden-Harris administration to the White House, which announced during its campaign that fighting corruption will be a prominent part of its domestic and foreign policies. One of the priorities for the yet-to-be scheduled global “Summit for Democracy” is the fight against corruption (The power of America’s example: The Biden Plan for leading the democratic world to meet the Challenges of the 21st Century).
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected human health and life in the region. In many countries, State restrictions in response to the pandemic focused on curtailing the freedoms of expression and association, public assembly, and other central tenets of democracy. While some emergency measures may be legitimate under the American Convention as a means of dealing with this calamity, others were clearly abusive and aimed at blunting or preventing renewed cycles of protest. These restrictions came at a particularly turbulent time in the region, with citizens’ movements taking to the streets over the past two years to raise their voices against structural inequality or corruption, or to defend democracy itself.
In October 2013, a number of Latin American civil society organizations (CSOs) participated in a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) entitled “The impact of natural resource extraction in Latin America and the responsibility of host States and corporations’ home States.” In April 2014, a er three years of research, a coalition comprised of CSOs based in Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and the United States published a related report on the impact of Canadian mining companies in Latin America and Canada’s responsibility. The report examines 22 mining projects carried out in nine countries in the region and identifies a pattern of human rights violations and its underlying causes – notably in Canada, the home-State of the companies involved in the abuses.