purpose within these instruments is to “harmonize criteria and elicit governments’ commitment,
acting as a coordinating nexus within the Inter-American System and a highly respected adviser
in child-related matters throughout the region” (emphasis added).
Despite being an inter-governmental institution, the IIN’s statute allows other non-governmental agencies to attend its sessions. Two types of participants are set within IIN’s statute:
a) permanent observers and b) other participants. The first category includes OAS’s permanent
observers, as well as the other United Nations (UN) member States who request admission as such.
The observers can assist in the public sessions and can state opinions during them. The second
category includes other non-permanent observers, which can be UN member States, UN
organizations, international organizations, or civil society organizations. Lastly, child participation
is allowed in these sessions.
The IIN serves as the expert adviser on children’s issues within the OAS. Its functions
include creating awareness of children’s issues and to propose solutions to those issues.
Additionally, the IIN offers advice on any other action it may deem appropriate to protect a child’s
best interest. The IIN also serves as the mediator among the member states. This responsibility
includes promoting cooperation among governments and civil society, and to assist them in
developing national systems of protection. Lastly, the IIN is responsible for maintaining the level
of expertise among its personnel, providing continuous training in current developments and
occurrences in child welfare throughout the American continents.
To achieve its goals, the IIN follows an annual action plan previously approved by the
Directing Council. Throughout the year, the Council holds ordinary and extraordinary meetings.
At the ordinary meetings, topics on the annual plan are discussed and followed up on. The
extraordinary sessions are used to discuss any specific topic not on the agenda already approved
by the Directing Council. At the end of each session, a resolution is voted on and adopted if voted
for by a majority of the States.
III. WORK AREAS
When the IIN was initially created, a “Decalogue” existed; this was the main focus of work.
It was a list of ten “rights of the child” that later became the first official regional document on
that topic. Those rights included the right to life, education and specialized education, the right to
maintain and develop personality, the right to nourishment, full economic assistance, land, social
consideration, and joy, and one dedicated to expanding the “all-embracing right to life.”
Now, the IIN works according to the goals set in each Action Plan, which are assessed
every four years. Past thematic lines have included policies for early childhood, juvenile criminal
justice, and children attention in disasters and emergencies. Although some topics remain constant,
some others may be added if considered relevant in the actual context. In 2015-2019, the priority
issues are: violence and the rights of children in different areas and life circles, early childhood,
sexual violence and sexual exploitation, juvenile justice systems, and child participation. Migrant
children and international child abductions are also being taken into consideration as issues related