Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Establishment of the Truth Commission in Brazil

May 15, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes Brazil’s decision to establish a Truth Commission to investigate human rights violations committed between 1946 and 1988, with a view to reclaiming the historical truth of what occurred during those decades, including during the last military dictatorship.

According to information received, on May 10, 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced the names of the seven members of the Commission. Established on the initiative of Congress, the Truth Commission will have a two-year mandate to investigate what occurred and submit a report.

The IACHR considers this decision a fundamental step toward clarifying past events. International human rights law has recognized that everyone has a right to know the truth. In the case of victims of human rights violations and their families, access to the truth about what occurred is a form of reparation. In this regard, the establishment of a Truth Commission in Brazil will play an essential role in ensuring respect for the right to the truth for victims of past human rights violations, as well as for all people and society as a whole.

As the Commission has indicated on numerous occasions in recent decades, the States have an obligation to investigate serious violations of human rights, in order to establish the truth about what occurred and to bring to justice and punish those responsible for perpetrating and masterminding such acts.

The Inter-American Commission stands ready to collaborate, within its purview, with the Brazilian authorities and the recently established Truth Commission on this important initiative.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 48/12