Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Election of New Commissioner

May 10, 2017

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

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Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes today’s election of Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva as Commissioner of the IACHR by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva is a doctor of law and social sciences from Colombia’s Universidad Libre, with a specialty in family law from that same institution, and a doctorate in private law and personal and family law from the Universidad de Zaragoza. He has served in the Colombian judiciary for 40 years. He was a Judge on the Constitutional Court from March 2009 to February 2017. While on the Constitutional Court, he presided over the Special Monitoring Chamber created to implement structural decision T-025 of 2004, by which the Constitutional Court declared an unconstitutional state of affairs in the matter of forced displacement. In this task, he fulfilled his commitment to the judicial verification of progress, delays, or setbacks in the process to overcome the systematic violation of the fundamental rights of the displaced population. In 2014, during his constitutional term of office, he was designated president of the Constitutional Court. He is the author of numerous essays on procedural law, a book on the reform of the Colombian civil procedures code, and a collection of monographs on constitutional law.

The period for which Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva was elected ends on December 31, 2019. His candidacy was presented by Colombia to fill the vacancy produced when Commissioner Enrique Gil Botero resigned, on March 9, 2017, after having been appointed Minister of Justice in his country. Enrique Gil Botero had been elected Commissioner in June 2015 by the OAS General Assembly for a four-year period that began on January 1, 2016, and was slated to end on December 31, 2019. Commissioner Vargas Silva was selected on May 10, 2017, by the OAS Permanent Council to complete the remainder of that term.

“It is a great honor to have been elected IACHR Commissioner, a position that is so critical for the protection and promotion of human rights in the countries of the Americas. As Commissioner, I place my experience as a judge at the service of the users of the inter-American human rights system, victims and States. I will work to improve the effectiveness of the system and to advance a culture of respect for human rights in all member countries of the Organization,” Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva said upon being elected.

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. 059/17