María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Director
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today launched its Individual Petition System Portal (IPSP), making the IACHR the first regional human rights body to offer a digital system that provides remote access to petitions and cases. This launch is part of IACHR’s ongoing efforts to create mechanisms that facilitate access to information for persons seeking remedies from the Inter-American human rights system.
“We are witnessing a really historic moment that will radically change the processing of petitions, cases, and precautionary measures,” observed IACHR Chair, Commissioner Rose Marie Belle Antoine. “This is a major step forward in the use of new technologies to enable all users of the Inter-American human rights system to exercise the right of access to information,” she added.
The IPSP is a document transmission tool that provides online access by the State and the petitioner to information on their pending cases before the IACHR. Moreover, the parties can use the Portal to send communications and annexes and to consult documents issued by the Commission. Individuals, organizations, and States can access information about their pending petitions, cases, and precautionary measures before the Court, thus contributing to greater transparency in procedures and expeditious processing through the use of technology and automated management tools.
“Currently, people with matters pending before the IACHR must make long-distance telephone calls to inquire about the judicial status of their case or verify that the Commission has received a certain document. With the new Portal, people can access this type of information online simply by entering their user name and password,” explained IACHR Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza.
The need to safeguard sensitive information in the custody of the IACHR has been factored into the design of these tools. As a security measure, users can register with the Portal using only an e-mail address registered with the IACHR. Entering their password, users can access information on pending matters registered under that e-mail.
The IPSP is a tool created by the IACHR to facilitate access to information and send and receive documents and annexes. However, it is not part of the legal process per se. This means that all action related to a particular case before the IACHR may not necessarily be recorded. Moreover, the Inter-American Commission reserves the right to make any change in the content and structure of the Portal, as well as access to it.
The Portal not only offers efficiently organized digital information but other benefits, including the transparency of IACHR procedures and work through the use of technology and automated management tools, streamlined transmission of the exchange of communications and documents, access to information on the status of petitions, cases, and precautionary measures, and the easy, instantaneous, and cost-free way in which additional information on pending matters can be sent and received.
“We invite users of the system to take advantage of this innovative tool,” said the Executive Secretary. “Its widespread use will help us continue to increase our efficiency in processing matters and respond more rapidly to the growing number of petitions that the Commission receives each year.” Illustrating the upward trend in the IACHR’s workload, he noted that 435 petitions alleging human rights violations were received in 1997; 1,050 in 2003; 1,431 in 2009; and 2,061 in 2013. (See all statistics).
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.