Process for Selecting an IACHR Executive Secretary

In exercise of its autonomy and independence, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) made its choice on July 19, 2012, of Emilio Álvarez Icaza for the post of Executive Secretary, and, in the terms of Article 11 of its Rules of Procedure, sent the name of the selected person to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), with a proposal that the person be appointed for a four-year period.

The selection of Emilio Álvarez Icaza was the result of a comprehensive, open, transparent and participatory process. On July 19, 2012, the plenary of the Commission interviewed the five finalists in the headquarters. The selected finalists for the post can be found below, in alphabetical order:

With the publication of the names of the finalists on June 1, 2012, a one-month period began for receiving comments. The IACHR received 116 observations on the candidacies, which were considered by the Commissioners.


On March 31, 2011, the Inter-American Commission adopted Resolution 1/2011, which put forth a draft reform of Article 11 of its Rules of Procedure, with the aim of defining the process for selecting the Executive Secretary. The initiative sought to strengthen the transparency and regularity of the process. Toward that end, the IACHR published the text of the draft reform, and opened up a period until June 1, 2011, to receive comments and observations from the OAS Member States and from civil society.

Resolution 1/2011 mentions the announced resignation of Santiago A. Canton, the IACHR Executive Secretary, and includes special recognition of his dedication and contributions. His resignation will take effect on July 1, 2012.

During its 143rd session, which took place in October 2011, the Inter-American Commission analyzed the comments it had received and, following an internal debate, approved the text of Article 11 now in effect. Based on that provision and on the OAS Staff Rules, on November 16, 2011, the IACHR published the corresponding vacancy announcement that opened up the period for receiving applications for the post of IACHR Executive Secretary until May 1, 2012.

The IACHR received 111 candidacies. The names of the finalists were published on the Website of the IACHR on June 1, 2012, which marks the beginning of a one-month period for receiving comments.


Resolution 1/2011: Draft Reform of Article 11 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure

IACHR Rules of Procedure (also available in pdf)

Vacancy announcement—Executive Secretary D-2