Mandate and Functions of the Commission
The principal function of the IACHR is to promote the observance and
protection of human rights in the Americas. As Article 106 of the Charter of the
[t]here shall be an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, whose
principal function shall be to promote the observance and protection of
human rights and to serve as a consultative organ of the Organization in
An inter-American convention on human rights shall determine the
structure, competence, and procedure of this Commission, as well as
those of other organs responsible for these matters
In furtherance of its mandate, the Commission:
- 1. Receives, analyzes and investigates individual petitions in which
violations of human rights are alleged to have been committed either by a
Member State of the OAS that has ratified the American Convention or by one
that has not.
- 2. Observes the general situation of human rights in the Member States
and publishes, when it deems appropriate, reports on the situation in a
given Member State.
- 3. Conducts in loco visits to countries to conduct an in-depth analysis
of the general situation and/or to investigate a specific situation. In
general, these visits lead to the preparation of a report on the human
rights situation observed, which is published and presented to the Permanent
Council and to the General Assembly of the OAS.
- 4. Develops an awareness of human rights among the peoples of the
Americas. To that end, the Commission prepares and publishes reports on
specific issues, such as: the measures that must be taken to ensure greater
access to justice; the effects that internal armed conflicts have on certain
groups; the human rights situation of children, women, and migrant workers
and their families, persons deprived of liberty, human rights defenders,
indigenous persons, persons of African descent; freedom of expression;
citizen security and terrorism, and how they relate to human rights, and so
- 5. Organizes and holds visits, lectures, seminars and meetings with
government representatives, academic institutions, nongovernmental
organizations and others for the purpose of communicating information and
promoting a broad understanding of the work of the inter-American human
- 6. Recommends to the OAS Member States the measures they should take the
better to protect human rights in the countries of the hemisphere.
- 7. In serious and urgent cases, requests Member States to adopt
precautionary measures, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure,
in order to prevent irreparable harm to persons or to the subject matter of
the proceedings in connection with a pending petition or case. Furthermore,
under Article 63(2) of the American Convention, in cases of extreme gravity
and urgency the Commission may request that the Inter-American Court order
the adoption of “provisional measures” to prevent irreparable harm to
persons, even when the case has not yet been submitted to the Court.
- 8. Presents cases to the Inter-American Court and appears before the
Court during the processing and consideration of cases.
- 9. Requests advisory opinions of the Inter-American Court, pursuant to
Article 64 of the American Convention.
- 10. Receives and examines communications in which a State party alleges
that another State party has committed a violation of a human right
protected under the American Convention, pursuant to Article 45 thereof.
Link: Answers from the
States to the Commission's Recommendations