Creation of the Special Rapporteurship on ESC Rights

Currently, the primary objective of the ESC Unit is to institutionalize the thematic in the IACHR by establishing the Office of the Special Rapporteur for ESC Rights. In effect, on April 3, 2014, the IACHR decided to begin a process to establish an Office of the Special Rapporteur for Economic, Social and Cultural rights (Special Rapporteurship on ESC Rights). To that end the IACHR itself, by issuing a press release, established a special fund to collect financial resources to make it possible to establish that Office of Special Rapporteur, inviting the member states of the OAS to make their contributions.

The process by which the Special Rapporteur for ESC Rights is to be selected will follow the procedures established in the applicable provision, i.e. Article 15 of the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure, which establishes at the relevant section that:

(…) 4. The rapporteurships (…) may function as thematic rapporteurships, assigned to a member of the Commission, or as special rapporteurships, assigned to other persons designated by the Commission. The thematic rapporteurs will be designated by the Commission in the first session of the year or whenever necessary. The special rapporteurs will be designated by the Commission in accordance with the following parameters:
a. a public competition to fill the vacancy, which publicizes the criteria to be employed in the selection of candidates, the appropriate background for the position, and the applicable resolution by the IACHR establishing the procedures for the selection;
b. the election shall require the affirmative vote of an absolute majority of members of the Commission and an announcement publicizing the grounds of the decision.
Prior to the appointment process, and during the exercise of their functions, special rapporteurs must disclose to the Commission any interest which may be considered to be in conflict with the mandate of the rapporteurship. Special rapporteurs shall serve for a period of three years, renewable once, unless the mandate of the rapporteurship terminates earlier. The Commission, by an absolute majority of its members, may decide to replace a special rapporteur for reasonable cause.
5. Special rapporteurs shall perform their duties in coordination with the Executive Secretary, who may delegate to them the preparation of reports on petitions and cases.
6. The thematic and special rapporteurs shall perform their activities in coordination with the country rapporteurs. Rapporteurs shall present their work plans to the plenary of the Commission for approval. They shall report in writing to the Commission, at least annually, on the work undertaken.

The Special Rapporteur for ESC Rights will be responsible for supporting the IACHR in carrying out its mandate to promote and protect ESC rights in the Americas. In particular, the Special Rapporteur will perform the following functions:

  1. Prepare the work plan of the ESC Rights Special Rapporteurship in keeping with the strategic plan of the IACHR.
  2. Prepare reports on ESC rights for the consideration of the IACHR and for publication, including thematic reports, reports on the general situation of human rights in the member states, and sections of the Commission’s annual report.
  3. Work with individual cases on ESC rights for the decision of the IACHR, as well as represent the Commission, by delegation, in litigation before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in cases related to ESC rights.
  4. Make recommendations to the IACHR on urgent situations that could require the adoption of precautionary measures or a request for the adoption of provisional measures before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, among other mechanisms.
  5. Monitor the situation of ESC rights in the region and provide advisory services and assistance to the member states of the OAS in the adoption of legislative, judicial, administrative, or other measures necessary to ensure the effective exercise of ESC rights.
  6. Advise and assist other organs of the Organization of American States (OAS) on matters related to ESC rights in the Americas.
  7. Take the necessary steps for raising funds from external sources and for furthering the plans required to carry out the mandate.
  8. Carry out other mandates related to the promotion and protection of ESC rights delegated to it by the IACHR in keeping with its mandate.
  9. Assist the IACHR in promoting international instruments related to ESC rights including organizing and participating in promotion activities aimed at authorities, professionals, and students on the work of the IACHR in this area.