Environment and Human Rights Advisory
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Providing human rights information
and analysis services to private firms, government
agencies and environmental organizations

The Inter-American Human Rights System

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20006

Since 1965 the IACHR has been expressly authorized to examine complaints or petitions regarding specific cases of human rights violations.

IACHR instructions for filing a petition alleging human rights violations

The IACHR also provides a simple and well-written handbook with information and instructions for those wishing to bring a petition before the Inter-American Human Rights System.

“The purpose of this handbook is to inform potential petitioners of the basic concepts that they should know before filing petitions with the Commission. It also sets forth, in clear and simple language, what the protected human rights are, how and when a petition may be filed, the requirements that must be met, information that a petition must include and, in general, the procedures that have to be followed.”


Petitions to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights brought by individual persons or groups are first presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. From there they are referred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

In general, discrimination occurs when any individual or sub-group is disproportionately impacted by a policy or practice, and no reasonable alternatives are provided to accommodate their needs. Individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions, chemically sensitive persons, people with various allergies, immunocompromised people, the elderly, the very young, pregnant women, any place-bound persons (in hospitals or elder care facilities, for example) to name a few vulnerable sub-sets of residents, may be reasonably expected to be at greater risk of adverse effects from environmental exposures than the general population.

The US Department of Justice maintains a website with detailed information about ADA “requirements for ensuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”