|Purpose||Human Rights monitoring in the Americas|
|Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela|
|Maria Claudia Pulido (Interim)|
|Organization of American States|
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the IACHR or, in the three other official languages – Spanish, French, and Portuguese – CIDH, Comisión Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos, Commission Interaméricaine des Droits de l'Homme, Comissão Interamericana de Direitos Humanos) is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The separate Inter-American Court of Human Rights is an autonomous judicial institution based in the city of San José, Costa Rica. Together the Court and the Commission make up the human rights protection system of the OAS.
The IACHR is a permanent body, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States, and it meets in regular and special sessions several times a year to examine allegations of human rights violations in the hemisphere.
Its human rights duties stem from three documents:
The inter-American system for the protection of human rights emerged with the adoption of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man by the OAS in April 1948 – the first international human rights instrument of a general nature, predating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by more than six months.
The IACHR was created in 1959. It held its first meeting in 1960, and it conducted its first on-site visit to inspect the human rights situation in the Dominican Republic in 1961.
A major step in the development of the system was taken in 1965 when the Commission was expressly authorized to examine specific cases of human rights violations. Since that date the IACHR has received thousands of petitions and has processed in excess of 12,000 individual cases.
In 1969, the guiding principles behind the American Declaration were taken, reshaped, and restated in the American Convention on Human Rights. The Convention defines the human rights that the states parties are required to respect and guarantee, and it also ordered the establishment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It is currently binding on 24 of the OAS's 35 member states.
The main task of the IACHR is to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the Americas.
In pursuit of this mandate it:
The IACHR has created several rapporteurships, a special rapporteurship and a unit to monitor OAS states' compliance with inter-American human rights treaties in the following areas:
The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights are the two special rapporteurships of the IACHR, having a rapporteur dedicated full-time to the job. The other rapporteurships are in the hands of the commissioners, who have other functions at the IACHR and also their own jobs in their home countries, since their work as commissioners is unpaid.
The Unit on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, and Intersex Persons was created in 2011.
The IACHR also has a Press and Outreach Office.
The Commission processes petitions lodged with it pursuant to its Rules of Procedure.
Petitions may be filed by NGOs or individuals. Unlike most court filings, petitions are confidential documents and are not made public. Petitions must meet three requirements; domestic remedies must have already been tried and failed (exhaustion), petitions must be filed within six months of the last action taken in a domestic system (timeliness), petitions can not be before another court (duplication of procedure).
Once a petition has been filed, it follows the following procedure:
The Commission's performance has not been always welcomed. Among others, Venezuela has criticized[when?] its politicization. Others criticize the Commission's stress on certain issues over others. These criticisms have given rise to what was called the "Strengthening Process of the Commission". This process began in 2011, led by the States belonging to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
Officers of Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, supported the motion for moving the Commission's headquarters, which are currently in Washington, D.C. These countries suggested moving the IACHR's headquarters to a Member State to the American Convention of Human Rights. Among the suggested countries were Argentina, Costa Rica and Peru.
The IACHR's ranking officers are its seven commissioners. The commissioners are elected by the OAS General Assembly, for four-year terms, with the possibility of re-election on one occasion, for a maximum period in office of eight years. They serve in a personal capacity and are not considered to represent their countries of origin but rather "all the member countries of the Organization" (Art. 35 of the Convention). The Convention (Art. 34) says that they must "be persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights". No two nationals of the same member state may be commissioners simultaneously (Art. 37), and commissioners are required to refrain from participating in the discussion of cases involving their home countries.
|Joel Hernández García||Mexico||President||2017||2018–2021|
|Antonia Urrejola Noguera||Chile||First Vice-President||2017||2018–2021|
|Flávia Piovesan||Brazil||Second Vice-President||2017||2018–2021|
|Margarette May Macaulay||Jamaica||Commissioner||2015||2016–2023|
|Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño||Panama||Commissioner||2015||2016–2023|
|Julissa Mantilla Falcón||Peru||Commissioner||2019||2020–2023|
|Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana||Chile||Commissioner||2019||2020–2023|
|Source: IACHR Composition.|
|1960–1964||El Salvador||Reynaldo Galindo Pohl|
|1960–1972||Costa Rica||Ángela Acuña de Chacón|
|1960–1972||USA||Durward V. Sandifer|
|1960–1972||Chile||Manuel Bianchi Gundián|
|1964–1968||Uruguay||Daniel Hugo Martins|
|1964–1983||Brazil||Carlos A. Dunshee de Abranches|
|1968–1972||Peru||Mario Alzamora Valdez|
|1968–1972||Uruguay||Justino Jiménez de Arechega|
|1972–1976||Argentina||Genaro R. Carrió|
|1972–1976||USA||Robert F. Woodward|
|1976–1979||Guatemala||Carlos García Bauer|
|1976–1979||Costa Rica||Fernando Volio Jiménez|
|1976–1983||USA||Tom J. Farer|
|1976–1978||Colombia||José Joaquín Gori|
|1978–1987||Colombia||Marco Gerardo Monroy Cabra|
|1980–1987||El Salvador||Franciso Bertrand Galindo|
|1980–1985||Costa Rica||Luis Demetrio Tinoco Castro|
|1984–1988||USA||R. Bruce McColm|
|1984–1987||Bolivia||Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas|
|1984–1991||Brazil||Gilda Maciel Correa Russomano|
|1986–1993||Venezuela||Marco Tulio Bruni-Celli|
|1986–1993||Barbados||Oliver H. Jackman|
|1988–1991||USA||John Reese Stevenson|
|1988–1995||Honduras||Leo Valladares Lanza|
|1988–1995||Jamaica||Patrick Lipton Robinson|
|1990–1997||Argentina||Óscar Luján Fappiano|
|1994–1997||Trinidad and Tobago||John S. Donaldson||1997|
|1998–1999||Barbados||Sir Henry de Boulay Forde|
|1992–1999||Colombia||Álvaro Tirado Mejía||1995|
|1996–1999||Venezuela||Carlos Ayala Corao||1998|
|2002–2002||Peru||Diego García Sayán|
|1996–2003||USA||Robert K. Goldman||1999|
|2000–2003||Guatemala||Marta Altolaguirre Larraondo||2003|
|2000–2003||Argentina||Juan E. Méndez||2002|
|2000–2003||Ecuador||Julio Prado Vallejo|
|2004–2007||Paraguay||Evelio Fernández Arévalos||2006|
|2002–2009||Antigua and Barbuda||Sir Clare Kamau Roberts|
|2004–2009||El Salvador||Florentín Meléndez|
|2004–2011||Brazil||Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro|
|2008–2011||Venezuela||Luz Patricia Mejía||2009|
|2009–2011||El Salvador||María Silvia Guillén|
|2010–2013||Colombia||Rodrigo Escobar Gil|
|2008–2015||Chile||Felipe González Morales||2010|
|2012–2015||Saint Lucia Trinidad and Tobago||Rose-Marie Belle Antoine||2015|
|2012–2015||Paraguay||Rosa María Ortiz|
|2017–2019||Colombia||Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva|
|2016–2019||Peru||Francisco José Eguiguren Praeli|
The staff of the IACHR comprise its Secretariat, which is led by an Executive Secretary, who serves for what have recently been four-year, renewable contracts.
In August 2020, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro announced that he would not renew Paulo Abrão's contract as Executive Secretary of the IACHR, citing 61 personnel complaints by staff of the organization. The Commissioners of the IACHR had unanimously approved the contract extension in January 2020, and expressed their "profound rejection" of Almagro's action "whose refusal to renew this contract breaks with a 20-year practice of respecting the IACHR’s decision to appoint its own Executive Secretary and thus makes it difficult to obtain truth, justice, and reparation for those whose labor rights have been affected." UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Human Rights Watch, and the Mexican government have also objected to Abrao's removal.
|Luis Reque||Bolivia||1960 – June 1976|
|Charles D. Moyer||United States||January – August 1977||Interim Executive Secretary.|
|Edmundo Vargas Carreño||Chile||September 1977 – March 1990|
|David J. Padilla||United States||March – June 1990||Interim Executive Secretary.|
|Edith Márquez Rodríguez||Venezuela||May 1990 – February 1996|
|David J. Padilla||United States||January – May 1996||Interim Executive Secretary.|
|Jorge Enrique Taiana||Argentina||March 1996 – July 2001|
|Santiago Canton||Argentina||August 2001 – June 2012|
|Emilio Alvarez Icaza||Mexico||August 2012 – August 2016|
|Paulo Abrão||Brazil||August 2016 – August 2020|
|María Claudia Pulido||Colombia||17 August 2020 – present||Acting Executive Secretary.|
|Source: OAS, Former IACHR Executive Secretaries.|
The IACHR will investigate whether the US's failure to transfer Ameziane is in compliance with international human rights law.
A new report by a group of experts from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on the investigation of the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico, uncovers the authorities’ utter incompetence and lack of will to find the students and bring those responsible to justice, said Amnesty International.