Press Release

IACHR Makes its Choice of Paulo Abrão for Executive Secretary

July 27, 2016

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) made its choice today of Paulo Abrão for the post of Executive Secretary. In the terms of Article 11 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR sent his name to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who confirmed the selection and appointed him for a four-year period.

Paulo Abrão, of Brazilian citizenship, has a PhD in Law, he is a law professor in Brazil and Spain, he si Executive Secretary of the Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights of MERCOSUR and Chairman of Brasil’s Amnesty Commission, in charge of the policies on reparations and memory for the victims of the dictatorship. In the past he was Brazil’s Secretary of Justice, he was Chairman of the National Committee for Refugees and of the National Committee against Human Trafficking. He has professional experience in the management of public policies, as well as financial and budgetary administration. He has worked in the academic, non-governmental, governmental and international areas, coordinating plural and diverse working teams. He also has experience in fundraising and directing international cooperation projects in partnership with international organizations. His resumé and the cover letter of his application for the post can be found here.

The selection of Paulo Abrão was the result of a comprehensive, open, transparent and participatory process. The mandate of the current Executive Secretary, Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria, ends on August 15, 2016. In accordance with the procedure established in Article 11 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, on February 9, 2016, the announcement of a competition was published, in order to select a new Executive Secretary for the term from August 2016 to August 2020, term that can be renewed once for another four years. More than 90 applications were received, from which five finalists were selected applying the criteria established in said Article of the Rules of Procedure. This article establishes that the Executive Secretary shall be a person of independence and high moral standing, with experience and recognized expertise in the field of human rights. On April 22, 2016, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its selection of five finalists and on April 27, it published the résumés and cover letters of the finalists on its Webpage. The IACHR received observations until May 30, 2016. The IACHR thanks those who participated in this process through the submission of 163 observations on the candidacies.

On July 26, 2016, the IACHR plenary interviewed the five finalists in the headquarters. After considering the resumés, the cover letters, the observations received and the interviews, the IACHR decided to select Paulo Abrão for the post. The IACHR thanks all the finalists for their participation in this process and recognizes their high professional level, their high moral standing and their recognized and important experience in the field of human rights.

In addition, the IACHR values that, during this process, the Member States, Secretary General and the political organs of the OAS, as well as civil society organizations, respected the principle of autonomy and indepence of the Inter-American Commission for the adoption of this decision, an essential characteristic for the full compliance of the high mission that has been entrusted to it.

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. 103/16