Press Release

Inter-American Commission and Inter-American Court Hold Joint Meeting with OAS Secretary General

September 17, 2015

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Director
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001

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Washington, D.C. / San José de Costa Rica – On September 7, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights held a meeting with OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, in Mexico City, D.F. Attending on behalf of the Inter-American Court were President Humberto Sierra Porto, Vice President Roberto Caldas and Judges Eduardo Ferrer MacGregor, Manuel Ventura Robles and Eduardo Pérez Pérez, as well as Executive Secretary Pablo Saavedra Alessandri and Secretariat staff. Representing the Commission at the meeting were First Vice President James Cavallaro, Second Vice President José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Commissioners Felipe González, Paulo Vannuchi, Tracy Robinson and Rosa María Ortiz, as well as Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza, Assistant Executive Secretary Elizabeth Abi-Mershed and Secretariat staff. Advisor to the Secretary General Ideli Salvatti also took part in the meeting.

The topic of the relationship between the Commission, the Court and the General Secretariat was discussed at this meeting, where it was noted that the Inter-American human rights system constitutes a fundamental pillar of the OAS. It was also stressed that the autonomy and independence of both bodies of the Inter-American system are important for them to function effectively.

Topics linked to the Inter-American human rights system’s major impact on and importance to the region and the budget challenges faced by the Commission and the Court in order to effectively fulfill the mandates assigned to them by States and, hence, the dire need to increase funding for both bodies were discussed as well. The Secretary General expressed his commitment to significantly increase the financial resources of both bodies.

The Commission and the Court also used this meeting to stress how important it is for the General Assembly to make time available for the presentations of their respective annual reports, which constitute an invaluable mechanism for the dissemination and understanding of the functioning of the Inter-American human rights system and the impact it has. The Secretary General concurred with the relevance of this point to be taken up at upcoming General Assemblies.

Additionally, the topic of universal ratification of the American Convention was discussed as one of the priorities of both the General Secretariat and of the Inter-American Commission and the Court. Major challenges in achieving this goal were addressed and an agreement was reached to work jointly toward that goal.

Also the proposal for the creation of a Secretariat for access to rights and equity and the importance of such Secretariat working to support and complement the work of the Commission and the Court.

Additionally, the Inter-American Commission and Court held a meeting in the framework of institutional dialogue between both bodies, which has been strengthened and deepened over the past years.

Topics addressed by both bodies include challenges stemming from procedural backlog as a consequence of the structural problem of the Inter-American Commission’s inadequate financing. In addition, the Commission shared with the Court several of the initiatives it has taken in order to deal with procedural backlog to the extent possible, given the limited amount of resources available to it. Other issues pertaining to the functioning of both bodies and their challenges were also discussed.

Both bodies discussed the importance of engaging in a joint effort on financing, current challenges and trends in the Inter-American human rights system and the importance of strengthening their relationship with the OAS General Secretariat, all within the scope of their autonomy and independence.

Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH)

Secretario General de la OEA, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y la Corte Interamericana de derechos humanos

Left to right: Emilio Álvarez Icaza, Executive Secretary of the IACHR; Pablo Saavedra Alessandri, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Court; Paulo Vannuchi, Commissioner of the IACHR; Pedro Salazar, Director of the Legal Research Institute of UNAM; Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression; Felipe González, Commissioner of the IACHR; Eduardo Ferrer MacGregor, Judge of the Inter-American Court; Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, Deputy Executive Secretary of the IACHR; Tracy Robinson, Commissioner of the IACHR; Manuel Ventura Robles, Judge of the Inter-American Court; James Cavallaro, Vice-President of the IACHR; Rosa María Ortiz, Commissioner of the IACHR; Eduardo Pérez Pérez, Judge of the Inter-American Court; Ideli Salvatti, Advisor to the Secretary General of the OAS; Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS; Humberto Sierra Porto, President of the Inter-American Court; Roberto Caldas, Vice-President of the Inter-American Court and José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Second Vice-President of the IACHR.

No. 105/15