Press Release

IACHR To Hold First Inter-American Conference on Friendly Settlements

June 6, 2013

Washington, D.C. – T he Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold the First Inter-American Conference on Human Rights and the Exchange of Best Practices on Friendly Settlements, on June 7-8, 2013, in Antigua, Guatemala.

The Inter-American Commission, States, and petitioners are in agreement that the friendly settlement mechanism is a very important tool to use in trying to resolve petitions lodged with the IACHR. During the process to strengthen the inter-American human rights system, the OAS Member States, members of academia, and civil society representatives talked about the importance of the friendly settlement procedure and the need for the IACHR to participate more actively, both in facilitating negotiations and monitoring compliance with agreements.

In the phase now underway to implement the recommendations from the strengthening process, the Inter-American Commission is holding this conference to promote the use of the friendly settlement mechanism. Friendly settlements enable the two parties to enter into negotiations to resolve the situation in the complaint and its consequences, in line with the parties’ respective needs and wishes. Once the parties believe they have an agreement on terms to resolve the situation, the Commission reviews the agreement to ensure that it is based on respect for the human rights recognized in the American Convention. The friendly settlement of a dispute and compliance with the commitments a State makes through the agreement likewise allows States to demonstrate their commitment to respect and guarantee human rights and to fulfill in good faith their obligations under the American Convention and other regional human rights instruments.

The meeting will include a presentation on the evolution of the friendly settlement mechanism and the mediation role of the IACHR. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to exchange information on best practices regarding friendly settlements, both in terms of the negotiation and content of agreements as well as the compliance with and impact of reparation measures contemplated in such agreements. Participants will also offer their perspectives on the future of the friendly settlement mechanism: challenges, lessons learned, and suggestions for it to become more effective.

The Inter-American Commission appreciates the logistical support offered by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and by the government of Guatemala, which made it possible to organize this conference.

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. 39/13