IACHR

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IACHR Presents Its Six-Month Performance Report on the Implementation of the Strategic Plan 2017–2021 and the Results of Its Work in the First Half of 2016

July 31, 2019

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
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mrivero@oas.org

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presented its progress report for the third year of the Strategic Plan 2017–2021 and a an overview of the main outcomes of its work in the first half of 2019, which seeks to increase the transparency of its work and its accountability to the international human rights community.

The first half of 2019 coincides with the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the creation of the IACHR and the 40th anniversary of the adoption of its statute. The IACHR notes that it has raised its public profile in the first half of 2019 and built closer ties with the Caribbean countries, including by holding its first ever period of sessions in this region. Other important achievements include the launch of the IACHR Channel, a website with up-to-date, accessible multimedia presentations on the IACHR’s activities, and the publication of four thematic reports. Among the other landmarks during the period are the creation of the Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit (SACROI) to track the human rights situation in Haiti, the successful implementation of the High-Level Dialogue on Transitional Justice with the Salvadoran justice sector, and the signing of a triangular cooperation agreement between the IACHR and the Republic of Argentina. In the first half of the year, the IACHR also convened a specialized academic network for technical cooperation to provide technical support for its work, particularly through its rapporteurships.

The IACHR diversified its monitoring and follow-up actions after introducing the new format for its annual report and has provided timely responses to the most serious human rights situations in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

The most noteworthy achievements of the first half of 2019 include the progress made on overcoming procedural backlog, as reflected by the fact that more petitions than ever in the history of the IACHR went through the initial assessment stage; more than double the number of decisions to begin procedures were made than in all of 2016, before the implementation of the current Strategic Plan; the number of petitions notified to states has already outstripped the total notifications made in 2018; and the time taken to evaluate requests for precautionary measures has been significantly reduced.

The IACHR is pleased to announce its main achievements for this period and describe the progress it has made on complying with the goals of the 21 programs set out in the Strategic Plan 2017–2021. The full six-month performance report is available here.

Special Procedural Backlog Reduction Program:

The IACHR’s results for the first half of 2019 that were an enormous improvement on those of previous years with regard to implementing its first program and taking action on one of its strategic challenges, namely reducing procedural backlog and responding to the needs of users of the inter-American system promptly and effectively.

The number of petitions received in the first half of 2019 increased by 10.9% in comparison with 2018. So far in 2019, a total of 3790 petitions have been evaluated, the highest number ever in the history of the IACHR. The number of petitions on which a decision was reached regarding whether or not to open a case is already 38% higher than in all of 2018. Since the Strategic Plan 2017–2021 first began to be implemented, there has been a 378% increase in the IACHR’s capacity for carrying out the initial assessment of petitions: some 3550 decisions were reached in the first half of 2019, in contrast to the 1484 reached in 2016. Likewise, in this first half of 2019, 309 petitions were opened as cases and notified to states, which far outstrips the 261 that were opened and notified in all of 2018.

Some 67 reports were approved (56 admissibility reports and 11 inadmissibility reports) in which the IACHR deepened and consolidated its decisions on a range of issues that include forced disappearance and torture; the duty to protect the right to life; due criminal process; violence against women and girls; administrative due process; extrajudicial executions; non-compliance with court rulings; and the right to equality regarding reparations in transitional contexts.

Some 25 merits reports were approved and a further 10 reports that have already been drafted are in the process of being approved. When annualized, this figure represents a 63% increase on the 43 reports published in 2018 and a 338% increase on the 16 reports published in 2016, before the Strategic Plan 2017–2021 was implemented. Significant progress was made during the period on drafting merits reports that bring together several cases dealing with similar issues. When it is possible, grouping cases together into a single merits report makes it easier to handle cases at the merits stage in a standardized, efficient fashion. Likewise, during this period, the IACHR approved eight merits reports and publications, through which it continued to improve its standards on matters relating to punishments and criminal due process, freedom of expression, violence against women and impunity, the rights of migrants, human rights defenders, the death penalty, indigenous people, forced disappearance, and memory, truth, and justice, among other issues. Some 66 memoranda for consultation were drafted for cases that are at the transition stage.

To address procedural backlog, work continued on the pilot decision-making plan for petitions at the admissibility stage that address similar issues, reports with model paragraphs were drafted, standard criteria were used to analyze similar situations, and the number of requests for observation at the admissibility stage was reduced, with the flexibility needed for each petition, always respecting broad defenses and legal certainty. The period for which parties can be inactive before they are warned that the case will be archived was reduced from four years to three, in order to focus efforts on cases in which the petitioning party is continually active.

Some 11 contentious cases were brought before the court, which covered a range of issues, the most notable of which was the first case, which related to violence against girls within the world of education and prejudicial violence against trans people. Approximately 24 briefs were filed relating to the processing of active contentious cases before the IA Court and 22 hearings were held in the first half of 2019. The IACHR also sent over 70 written submissions on compliance monitoring and provisional measures to the IA Court.

Program to Increase the Use of Friendly Settlements

In the first half of 2019, the IACHR implemented different actions to promote negotiations and compliance with friendly settlement agreements, as well as activities to promote the friendly settlement mechanism as an alternative to litigation for reaching solutions for petitions and cases that are processed by the IACHR for the comprehensive reparation of victims of human rights violations.

During this period, 10 new cases were added to the friendly settlement negotiation portfolio. There are currently 102 petitions and cases for which a friendly settlement agreement is currently being negotiated or which are at the stage prior to an approval report being issued. Friendly settlement agreements have already been signed for 43 of these processes, which will continue to be promoted until they have been passed and fully complied with or until the friendly settlement process has been closed, in those cases in which the parties do not wish to continue with them. In the same vein, spaces for dialogue will continue to be implemented to enable new friendly settlement agreements to be reached on the 59 outstanding matters.

As a result of IACHR facilitation and the desire of both states and petitioners to make progress through channels other than litigation, seven friendly settlement agreements were signed, which the IACHR deems to be emblematic due to their nature, the type of violations they seek to redress, and the number of beneficiaries involved. With regard to the progress that has been made on the implementation of friendly settlement measures, the IACHR notes with satisfaction that in the first half of 2019, six approval reports were published, of which three were declared to have been fully complied with after it was verified that they had been implemented in their entirety.

During this half of the year, major efforts were made to open up more opportunities for dialogue around the negotiation and implementation of friendly settlement agreements through 39 working meetings and 60 videoconferences facilitating the opening of permanent, fluid channels for dialogue between the parties and the IACHR. Six planning meetings were held with representatives from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay to follow up on the roadmaps the parties had created together. The IACHR also played a part in implementing and verifying compliance with agreements as part of its three working visits to Argentina and Uruguay.

Program to Strengthen Precautionary Measures

The precautionary measures mechanism is now operating better than ever before and is continuing to protect the rights of people throughout the Americas who are at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm. As of June 30, 2019, a total of 610 requests for precautionary measures had been received, which is proportionally higher than the 1037 requests received in the whole of 2017. All the requests received to date have been analyzed and classified using indicators for seriousness and urgency. For the first time in its history, the IACHR has reached an optimal level of real-time reviews of requests for precautionary measures.

In the first half of the year, the IACHR authorized 35 precautionary measures, such that it now has a total of 560 precautionary measures in force in its portfolio. The beneficiaries of these precautionary measures include human rights defenders, children and adolescents, survivors of acts of violence, indigenous people, people who are under arrest or whose whereabouts are unknown, including people or groups of people who are extremely vulnerable.

The IACHR has succeeded in ensuring that the precautionary measures mechanism provides efficient, timely responses and that decisions are reached quickly by concentrating its efforts and available resources on analyzing cases concerning people who need a precautionary measure to safeguard their rights. Of the total number of new measures granted, in 63% of the cases the measure was granted within three months of it being requested, while 29% were granted within one month, as compared to the 44% of measures that were granted within three months in 2017. Likewise, the IACHR deliberated a total of 830 cases in the first half of the year, which represents more than twice the number of deliberations that took place in the same period during the previous year. Although 2018 was the year in which the IACHR received the highest ever number of requests for precautionary measures (1618), the portfolio of requests on which a final decision is pending has been reduced by 60% in comparison with the total number of requests that made up the portfolio in the first half of 2018. On the basis of the assumptions set out in Resolution 3/2018, over 2000 requests were deactivated because the information on them had not been updated or because the petitioners had not responded to requests made by the IACHR. The IACHR has followed up on precautionary measures by sending 500 letters to states and representatives requesting information, holding 22 working meetings and two public hearings, and conducting working visits to Costa Rica and Argentina to verify in person how precautionary measures are being implemented in these countries.

During this period, the IACHR requested that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) adopt provisional measures to protect the rights of 17 people who are being deprived of their freedom in Nicaragua and are at extreme risk of suffering irreparable harm. It also requested that the IA Court adopt provisional measures to protect the rights of human rights defenders from the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) and the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), who are at extreme risk of suffering irreparable harm in Nicaragua. Both measures were issued by the IA Court. The IACHR also presented a total of 22 briefs relating to supervision of provisional measures issued by the IA Court and that remain in force.

To raise awareness of the precautionary measures that are currently in force, the IACHR published an interactive map of the precautionary measures that have been authorized since 2013 (link in Spanish). Furthermore, to foster predictability and raise awareness of the precautionary measures mechanism, in response to the objectives of the Strategic Plan, in the first half of the year work was carried out to prepare and create an initial draft of a basic manual on the precautionary measures mechanism for new users.

Program on Transparency and Access to Information

In the first half of 2019, the IACHR continued to increase its efforts in the areas of transparency, accountability, and access to information, as is described below.

The 2018 Annual Report—the IACHR’s main mechanism for accountability towards states, civil society, users of the inter-American system of human rights, and all stakeholders that are involved in the IACHR’s work and cooperate with this—was presented to the OAS Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) and the OAS General Assembly. The report now has a new design that seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation in the region while reporting on the IACHR’s activities and achievements in relation to the objectives set out in the Strategic Plan.

The IACHR has also issued several performance and accountability reports relating to the results achieved by the precautionary measures mechanism, the special follow-up mechanisms, and the Special Follow-Up Mechanism for Ayotzinapa (MESA). It also presented the OAS Permanent Council with a progress report for the second year of implementation of the Strategic Plan and the 2018 financial statement, which included accounts of how the funds the organization receives were used. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELE) and the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Economic Rights (OSRESCER) presented their annual results.

To facilitate access to information on the IACHR’s historic archives, agreements were signed with the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Nonrepetition of Colombia and the Secretariat of Human Rights of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, which allow Colombia and Argentina access to IACHR files and documents. Responses were issued to specific requests made by states and relatives of victims for access to files on petitions and cases that are part of the IACHR’s historical archive.

In the first half of 2019, the IACHR published a press release issuing an accountability report for its 2018 budget. It has also published 17 progress reports and 17 financial reports to provide accountability to its donors.

The organization’s communications-related achievements include the launch of the IACHR Channel, a multimedia platform for visually appealing, information-packed videos on the IACHR’s work throughout the Americas. The IACHR Channel website is organized into different sections: The We Have Rights video series tells the stories of victims of human rights violations in the region. In the Interviews and Reports section, the channel periodically publishes articles on inspiring individuals and events in the region. It has also published informational videos on all the periods of sessions held by the IACHR since the 169th Period of Sessions, which took place in Boulder. The Interactive Map of Precautionary Measures shows the precautionary measures in force since 2013 and the geographic location of these. A series of videos are also being made on the monitoring of precautionary measures that the IACHR has already issued. The channel also includes pages on the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on the Ayotzinapa Affair (MESA) and the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI). These pages contain videos on the activities these mechanisms are implementing along with reports and other relevant documents.

Progress has been made on a draft policy on transparency and access to information, which is expected to be presented to the IACHR in the second half of 2019.

Program to Improve the Scope and Impact of Monitoring of Human Rights Situations by Topic and Country

The institutional changes promoted in the last two years around monitoring have continued to bring significant results in 2019:

Working and Promotional Visits

To promote the Program for Assistance and Collaboration with the Caribbean and Central America, the IACHR carried out promotional visits to Barbados, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica to promote IACHR mandates, strengthen knowledge of inter-American system mechanisms to protect and promote human rights, and strengthen dialogue with key stakeholders working in human rights in these countries. The visit to Barbados was the first the IACHR had made to the country in 53 years. It was also an opportunity to promote inter-American standards and IACHR recommendations regarding the eradication of violence and discrimination against women and girls. The IACHR also made a promotional visit to Haiti to promote dialogue with state authorities and civil society on the human rights situation in the country. The last time the IACHR visited Haiti was in 2012.

The IACHR also carried out a working visit to Uruguay to obtain information on the human rights situation in the country, particularly in relation to the situation of people who have been deprived of their freedom; children and adolescents; memory, truth, and justice; and the rights of women and LGBTI people. The objective of the IACHR’s working visit to Costa Rica was to monitor and follow-up on the situation of the Nicaraguan diaspora in the country. As part of its working visit to Honduras, the IACHR followed up on the recommendations put forward in the Preliminary Observations that followed its on-site visit to Honduras in 2018. It also made a working visit to Miami, Florida, to present its report on the overall human rights situation in Cuba, as discussed in Chapter IV B of the IACHR 2018 Annual Report, and to present the Report on the Human Rights Situation in Nicaragua. During this last visit, the IACHR met with Nicaraguan NGOs operating in Miami to find out more about the initiatives Nicaraguan organizations are implementing and to contribute to civil society efforts to prioritize international advocacy and actions that put pressure on the state of Nicaragua in a coordinated fashion. It also met with members of the community of Nicaraguan exiles in the United States to find out more about their current situation and set out actions to be included in the MESENI’s work agenda.

Reports and Standards

On March 11, 2019, during the extraordinary session of the Presidential Commission for Truth and Justice over the Ayotzinapa Affair, the IACHR presented its report on the monitoring work carried out by the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on the Ayotzinapa Affair (MESA) in 2017 and 2018, and announced the beginning of a new phase of technical assistance when it presented its Work Plan for 2019.

The IACHR also launched a new report on police violence against people of African descent in the United States at Howard University in Washington, DC, in which it analyzed the ongoing problem of structural discrimination against people of African descent in the United States, particularly the deep disparities in treatment by the police force and the criminal justice system.

To mark International Women’s Day, the IACHR presented a thematic report entitled Women Journalists and Freedom of Expression: Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence Faced by Women Journalists in the Exercise of their Profession, which analyzes the situation of women journalists in the region and examines the obligations of states and the private sector to eliminate the main obstacles and particular risks that women journalists face to exercise their right to freedom of expression. It also presented a special report on freedom of expression in Cuba.

In May, the IACHR launched its report on the recognition of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) people in the Americas, which analyzes major steps forward taken by states in the region to guarantee that these people can live their lives with full autonomy and respect for their will, free from all forms of violence, from a holistic perspective that combines the interdependence and universal nature of human rights and focuses on comprehensive security for LGBTI people. Some 14 member states, 48 civil society organizations, and 8 national human rights institutions contributed to the report by sending responses to the IACHR’s questionnaire.

The IACHR has continued to implement other activities as part of the process of drafting thematic and country reports. It issued a questionnaire to help draft a thematic report on the human rights situation of human rights defenders and social leaders in Colombia, which will analyze the current predicament of these individuals following the signing of the Peace Agreements, especially those who are most at risk, and the obstacles they face in going about their work. The IACHR also began work on a report entitled “Women Deprived of Their Liberty in the Americas. Focus: Drug-Related Crimes” through a public survey. This has helped bring the IACHR closer to the leading organizations in this field. The IACHR is also in the process of drafting a report on Nicaraguans in Costa Rica, which is currently pending approval and for which it has developed new standards on human mobility.

In accordance with Resolution 1/18, issued in March 2018, the IACHR has begun to draft a thematic report on corruption and human rights in the Americas by publishing an inquiry form targeting states, civil society, and other nonstate stakeholders. The report seeks to explore certain conceptual issues that will help shed light on the most appropriate human rights–related approach to corruption.

Monitoring Tools

The IACHR also addressed the human rights situation in the entire region and in 25 specific countries, either as a general issue or in relation to particular issues or populations, through letters requesting information from states, press releases, and public hearings. The IACHR also used these tools to address the 13 priority issues set out in the strategic plan.

During this period, the IACHR issued 35 letters pursuant to article 18 of the American Declaration and article 41 of the American Convention requesting information from states in the region. These included five letters drafted by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and five letters drafted by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights. The IACHR used this mechanism to address human rights situations in 15 countries in the region (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and the United States) and to cover the following issues: the forced eviction of indigenous peoples, legislative processes concerning initiatives to protect life and the family and the national reconciliation law, forced sterilization, the human rights situation of human rights defenders, reports of sexual abuse of migrant children in detention facilities, and the situation of people who are being deprived of their liberty. The IACHR has already received replies to 21 of these letters.

With regard to the press releases the IACHR released in the first half of 2019, some 106 concerned the monitoring of and follow-up on the human rights situation in the region in connection with the countries and issues the IACHR is currently prioritizing, as well as technical cooperation, following up on recommendations, and promotion and training activities. The IACHR has addressed all the issues that were identified as priorities in the Strategic Plan, in addition to forced migration, assassinations of labor union leaders and human rights defenders, forced sterilizations of indigenous women, the killing of journalists, the right to protest, and the right to public demonstration. The press releases it has issued have addressed the human rights situation in 21 countries in the Americas.

In the first half of the year, some 20 hearings were held on regional issues and human rights situations in specific countries as part of the 171st Period of Sessions, which was held in Bolivia, and the 172nd Period of Sessions, which took place in Jamaica. The latter was a landmark as it was the first period of sessions to be held in an English-speaking CARICOM country in the IACHR’s 60-year history.

Monitoring Activities

With regard to the rights of indigenous peoples, the IACHR organized the International Seminar on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Autonomy and Self-Government as a Manifestation of their Right to Self-Determination in Mexico in partnership with the Office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). It also organized a seminar and workshop in Colombia in partnership with the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs and the Indigenous Organization of Antioquia (OIA), entitled “The Inter-American System and the Rights of Indigenous Women in the Americas.” It is particularly important to mention how the IACHR addressed new issues such as indigenous intellectual property and cultural assets and heritage during an academic event in Trinidad and Tobago on February 22. In April, the IACHR played an active role in a sophisticated seminar on the rights to consultation and free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous and Afro-Mexican communities in Mexico.

With regard to the rights of women, the IACHR continued to strengthen its relations and joint work with other international and regional mechanisms that defend and promote women’s rights. Highlights of this include the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the holding of a joint meeting of women’s rights mechanisms at the Council of Europe, the 38th CIM Assembly of Delegates, and various meetings with the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership. The IACHR took part in technical meetings and promotional events in connection with these high-level activities and published shared statements with the mechanisms in question.

The IACHR carried out three rounds of online dialogue with civil society organizations working on children’s rights, in which more than 75 people took part.

With regard to the rights of human rights defenders, the IACHR has continued to carry out joint actions with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and also implemented a training session for human rights defenders in the city of Chihuahua, Mexico, in March.

In connection with the rights of people who are deprived of their liberty, the IACHR played an active part in events on women, drugs, and imprisonment. It also spearheaded a request for an advisory opinion before the IA Court on differentiated approaches to the deprivation of freedom. The IACHR also monitored the situation of people who are deprived of their freedom in Brazil and Honduras as part of the follow-up to the recent on-site visits to these countries. It also worked to develop standards on a range of issues in the first half of 2019.

The IACHR took part in an expert consultation on reparations convened by the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. At the event, academics, representatives of civil society organizations, and international organizations were able to address the recent advances in the international understanding of reparation policies, particularly those involving financial reparation.

The IACHR also gave a presentation on the progress regarding the rights of LGBTI people in the Americas and the challenges that remain during the meeting of the UN LGBTI Core Group. It also took part in the hearing granted by the Vatican on the impacts of laws that criminalize same-sex relationships and violence against LGBTI people. As part of its working visit to Uruguay, the IACHR expressed concern over the approval of a possible referendum that could limit the rights of trans people. It also began to build channels for periodic dialogue with civil society organizations and academic institutions to identify priority issues that relate to its monitoring work and to raise awareness of IACHR mechanisms for action.

The rights of migrants are another area in which the IACHR was active: it developed new standards on human mobility by drafting the report on Nicaraguans in Costa Rica, which is in the process of being approved. The IACHR also closed the consultation process on Inter-American Principles on Migration, through which it garnered more than 50 contributions to the text from states, academia, independent experts, and civil society organizations.

The IACHR carried out a series of training sessions on Inter-American standards on transitional justice for activists, victims of human rights violations, and victims’ relatives in Nicaragua, and for judicial authorities in El Salvador as part of the IACHR’s technical cooperation initiative with the state. It also led an online training session as part of the Latin American Seminar in Argentina. The IACHR held a public consultation on February 14 in Bolivia to update its status report on the current challenges and trends around memory, truth, justice, and guarantees of nonrepetition in the Americas, and to gather feedback on the working document produced by the IACHR on principles regarding memory policies in the Americas.

Special Rapporteurship Program

Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELE)

As part of the process of executing its 2018–2021 Action Plan, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression continued to implement projects focusing on democratic governance, the defense of civic space, and challenges to online freedom of expression. This included organizing or taking part in over 15 events to raise awareness on inter-American standards regarding freedom of expression and in regional and international forums on the internet and freedom of expression with a focus on disinformation around elections, censorship, and the harassment of journalists; the use of criminal law; and the challenges to freedom of expression from a regional perspective, particularly in Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

It also published a report on freedom of expression in Cuba, which was the IACHR’s first special report on the country since 1983. It also made an academic visit to Guatemala.

With regard to the production of expert knowledge, the office of the special rapporteur published a report entitled “Women Journalists: Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence Faced by Women Journalists in the Exercise of their Profession.” The office of the special rapporteur has also been spearheading the process of drafting a guidebook of recommendations to guarantee freedom of expression and access to information from a range of online sources during elections without undue interference, in coordination with the OAS Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO). The office also made progress toward drafting four thematic reports: “Children, Freedom of Expression, and the Media”; “Protest and Human Rights”; “Access to Public Information and National Security”; and “Corruption and Human Rights.”

So far in 2019 some 16 press releases have been published, information has been requested from states through five letters pursuant to articles 18 and 41, and the Special Follow-Up Team (ESE) created by the IACHR in connection with the deaths of journalists Javier Ortega Reyes and Paúl Rivas Bravo and worker Efraín Segarra from El Comercio newspaper in Quito, who were murdered on the border between Ecuador and Colombia in April 2018, presented its final report on the case. The office of the special rapporteur also continued to process petitions, cases, and precautionary measures that relate to freedom of expression, which will help advance the role of standards on this issue.

As part of its projects to train personnel from the judiciary on inter-American standards on freedom of expression, the office of the special rapporteur worked in partnership with UNESCO to provide training for 2146 judges from the Americas on the application of inter-American standards on freedom of expression. It achieved this through an online course based at the University of Austin (Texas) led by a team of experts and in which the current and former rapporteurs on freedom of expression took part.

Office of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (OSRESCER)

The first half of 2019, the office of the special rapporteur carried out numerous promotional and academic activities in different countries in the region on a range of issues related to its mandate. Key achievements in its monitoring work on the situation of ESCERs in the region include taking part in the drafting of seven press releases; requesting information from states through five letters pursuant to articles 41 and 18; providing technical support, creating inputs, and taking part in seven public hearings on ESCER-related issues; taking part in the visit to Honduras; and participating in the work and period of sessions of the Working Group on the Protocol of San Salvador.

The office of the special rapporteur has also provided expert inputs for the petition and case system by evaluating ESCER-related issues for 18 admissibility reports, 2 merits reports, and the analysis of 12 requests for precautionary measures. A request for an advisory opinion on freedom of association from a gender perspective was also approved, which will be submitted to the IA Court.

With regard to the creation of thematic reports, a report entitled “Business and Human Rights: Intra-American Standards” was drafted and approved and will be published in the second half of 2019. Work was also completed on the first draft of a cluster report on standards relating to labor rights, and progress was made on drafting the questionnaires and tables of contents of two reports relating to the protection of ESCERs among vulnerable populations, in partnership with the offices of two other special rapporteurs.

Rapid Integrated Response Coordination Units (SACROIs)

To respond more effectively to critical situations and expand its protection measures, the IACHR strengthened its internal rapid integrated response mechanisms for preventing potential human rights violations and protecting those who may be at risk by creating and monitoring Rapid Integrated Response Coordination Units (SACROIs) for Brazil and Honduras, which the organization visited last year, and Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, the countries where the most serious human rights violations in the region are currently occurring. The IACHR also activated a SACROI to address the situation in Haiti, which it visited Haiti between June 3 and 4, 2019, to promote dialogue with state authorities and civil society on the human rights situation in the country and to identify opportunities for collaboration and monitoring by the IACHR. It also reactivated the SACROI for Guatemala to provide detailed, timely follow-up on the various requests for precautionary measures and on the human rights situation in the country in general. The IACHR is continuing to monitor the process in Honduras via the SACROI.

The results achieved over the course of the year have confirmed the importance of the SACROIs. The IACHR has succeeded in making a timely, effective impact on one of the most serious human rights crises in the region by taking coordinated action on its different mandates and preparing its visits in a comprehensive fashion that is tailored to each country’s needs.

Integrated Information Analysis and Management Platform (IIAMP)

The IACHR is continuing to raise resources to implement an information management platform within its different management and IT departments, through the Technology Unit.

Expanded Training and Promotion Program on Human Rights Thought and Culture

In the first half of 2019, 25 training courses were held in nine countries in the Americas, which provided training for approximately 720 people on issues such as the inter-American system and its mechanisms for promoting and protecting human rights, public policies with a human rights approach, inter-American standards on human rights defenders, indigenous people, migrants, children, women, LGBTI people, ESCERs, and transitional justice, among other issues. Some 66 promotional events were also held in 15 countries in the region as part of this program.

February 15 marked the end of the International Course on Public Policies on Human Rights, which the IACHR ran in partnership with the MERCOSUR Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights (IPPDH). One hundred participants from 22 countries in the Americas took part in the course, 72 of whom successfully completed the course, took part in the in-person training week, and were awarded a diploma. In May 2019 a new session of this course was announced, which will begin in the last week of July. Some 4021 applications for the course were received. In late June, 100 of these applicants were selected to take part in the new session.

The IACHR also held its first training course for human rights defenders on the strategic use of the IASHR in partnership with the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Following an arduous selection process, 60 human rights defenders from 22 different countries were chosen from 2953 applicants to take part in the course. They shared their experiences and knowledge on the predicament of human rights defenders in the Americas with experts from the Executive Secretariat and discussed the petition and case system, precautionary measures, friendly settlements, and the role of IACHR monitoring and follow-up on recommendations.

The IACHR notes that it received a total of 6974 applications for these last two courses, which confirms how interested people are in the IACHR’s work and how committed they are to consolidating it in order to promote and guarantee human rights for all people living in the Americas.

Program for Assistance and Collaboration with the Caribbean and Central America

The IACHR is currently implementing an advocacy strategy in accordance with its mandate to advance technical cooperation initiatives on development and human rights for the states of the Caribbean and Central America and to implement special projects focusing on the crosscutting core areas of the Strategic Plan. This work includes the Regional Democracy and Human Rights in the Northern Triangle project, which seeks to strengthen public institutions with a human rights focus in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. During the first half of 2019, three training workshops on internal displacement and labor rights were held in Honduras and Guatemala, which were attended by approximately 90 government officials from these countries’ national human rights institutions and by members of the Honduran judiciary. As part of the technical cooperation program on transitional justice in El Salvador, the High-Level Dialogue on Transitional Justice was organized in partnership with the country’s judiciary, which was attended by the Coordinating Committee for the Judiciary and around 70 government officials from the sector.

Significant progress was made toward implementing the Program for Assistance and Collaboration with the Caribbean. In the first half of 2019, the IACHR held its first ever period of sessions in an English-speaking Caribbean country and contacted a range of institutions in the Caribbean with a view to establishing cooperation agreements with them, among other things. Work also took place on identifying and compiling contacts at universities and colleges in Haiti with a view to beginning negotiations around cooperation agreements. The IACHR also received information on quasi-state institutions in St Lucia and has begun correspondence with these. As part of the preparations for the 172nd Period of Sessions in Jamaica, the IACHR organized a meeting with the group of ambassadors and permanent representatives of CARICOM countries to the OAS. During the period of sessions, a promotional event entitled “The Inter-American System of Human Rights and Access to Justice” was held at the University of the West Indies and was attended by government authorities, academics, representatives from civil society, and the general public.

Technical Cooperation Program on Institutional Matters and Public Policies with a Human Rights Focus

As part of its efforts to strengthen technical cooperation partnerships, in the first half of 2019, the IACHR signed seven cooperation agreements, including three agreements with universities in the region. Also noteworthy is the signing of a technical cooperation agreement with OXFAM (link in Spanish) to promote the use of the IASHR and its standards and to promote institutional capacity building. In the same vein, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Honduran judiciary to develop joint projects and activities on issues relating to the promotion of national frameworks and policies for the prevention of forced displacement and the protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people. The IACHR also signed a Framework Cooperation Agreement Secretariat of Human Rights of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, to facilitate technical cooperation and the exchange of professionals. Another major achievement was the signing of a special cooperation agreement (link in Spanish) with Argentina for the joint development of triangular cooperation programs with other OAS member states as part of the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sexual characteristics and to promote and protect the rights of LGBTI people.

On June 25, 2019, as part of the 49th General Assembly of the OAS, the IACHR celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding through a solemn ceremony in Medellín, Colombia. This commemorative event was attended by delegations from at least 19 OAS member states, observer countries, over 30 social organizations and movements, activists, and academics, international experts, victims of human rights violations, and the general public. It included a panel discussion to reflect on and discuss the new horizons of international human rights law based on an analytical examination of the universal and regional human rights systems.

As part of the program to develop public policies through a human rights approach, progress was made on producing inputs for public policymakers and consolidating ties for providing technical assistance, supporting states’ institutional strengthening strategies, and establishing cooperation initiatives with other institutions. The IACHR will soon be publishing its “Report on Public Policies with a Human Rights Approach,” which will put forward general guidelines for designing public policies with a human rights approach. The aim of the report is for it to be used as a reference and working tool for government officials in the Americas who are responsible for managing public policy and building institutional scaffolding. Progress was also made on designing proposals for technical cooperation with different government institutions in Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Haiti. In the first half of the year, there was progress on providing technical support on the rights of LGBTI people, mechanisms for protecting human rights defenders, support for the implementation of national human rights plans, and mechanisms for social participation access to rights for vulnerable groups that have been discriminated against historically.

There was a significant increase in the number of presentations the IACHR made to OAS political bodies. In the first half of 2019, 17 presentations were made before OAS political bodies, as compared with a total of 23 presentations throughout the whole of 2018. In this regard, it is important to note that the IACHR continues to be involved in the Permanent Council’s sessions on Nicaragua and in the ongoing work on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The IACHR maintained the leading role it established in 2018 by providing technical inputs for member states’ decisions before OAS political bodies. As a result of this work, the Permanent Council and the OAS General Assembly approved resolutions insisting on the need for the government of Nicaragua to allow the IACHR and its mechanisms to enter the country. There was a significant increase in the number of presentations the IACHR made to OAS political bodies.

Program to Foster Social Participation and Build Capacities for Action among Organizations and Networks of Social and Academic Stakeholders to Defend Human Rights

As part of its Strategic Plan 2017–2021 and as part of the work to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its founding, the IACHR has decided to forge deeper ties and cooperation partnerships with academic institutions throughout the Americas. In the first half of the year, the IACHR convened a specialized academic network for technical cooperation to provide technical support for its work, particularly through its rapporteurships. More than 60 proposals were received in response to the call for ideas to support the work of the 13 offices of the thematic and special rapporteurs and the Recommendation Follow-Up Section.

Over the course of 2019, the IACHR has expanded and intensified the role that civil society played in all of its activities, including public hearings, consultations, training workshops, and bilateral meetings. It is committed to holding public consultations to gather feedback and comments from all relevant stakeholders and the general public to draft thematic reports on the rights of LGBT people, migrants, and business and human rights. Furthermore, the office of the special rapporteur on memory, truth, and justice has recently invited civil society organizations, states, and other users of the Inter-American System of Human Rights to participate in its second public consultation.

At the IACHR’s 171st and 172nd periods of sessions, which were held in Bolivia and Jamaica, meetings took place with inter-American civil society organizations to gather information on the human rights situation in the region and hear their demands. New spaces were also created to increase the involvement of civil society, such as a promotional event entitled “The Inter-American System of Human Rights and Access to Justice,” and the meetings held with civil society during the IACHR’s visits to Barbados, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Honduras, Argentina, and Haiti. The IACHR has also held meetings with more than 30 civil society organizations from Latin America that met in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 40th and 41st sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Program for Cooperation and Coordination with the Universal Human Rights System and Other International Agencies

So far in 2019, the IACHR has deepened its collaboration with the United Nations human rights system by sending inputs for the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs) for Bolivia and El Salvador; receiving representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); special rapporteurs; and other United Nations representatives to participate in 11 hearings at its 171st and 172nd Period of Sessions; coordinating with UN agencies; publishing 10 joint press releases with the OHCHR or special mechanisms in the UN system; and implementing joint activities to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Other Forms of Intolerance Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and/ or Expression, and Sexual Characteristics and World Press Freedom Day in Latin America.

In the first half of 2019, the IACHR engaged in a series of advocacy actions before the United Nations Human Rights System. During the 40th Period of Sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it took part in side events and debates on the grave human rights situation in Nicaragua and Venezuela. For the first time ever, the IACHR took part in the high-level segment of the sessions, where it gave a presentation focusing mainly on the situation in Nicaragua. The IACHR also took part in an interactive Human Rights Council debate which it contributed to by discussing the situation in Nicaragua. In addition, the IACHR held a parallel event on the situation in Nicaragua and the work of the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on Nicaragua (MESENI), in which 18 delegations from the Americas, Asia, and Europe took part. It also participated in two other events, the first of which was organized by Amnesty International and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the second by Human Rights Watch, both on Nicaragua.

During the first half of 2019, a dialogue was begun between the technical areas that are responsible for following up on the recommendations made by the OHCHR and the IACHR Executive Secretariat in order to exchange information, methodologies, and good practices. The IACHR also sent inputs for the universal periodic reviews of El Salvador and Bolivia. Dialogues were held with the OHCHR’s Americas department regarding updating the UPR for Nicaragua, work on which began in May, so as to finalize joint advocacy strategies such that the recommendations made by states take into account the IACHR’s monitoring work and the recommendations from two of its mechanisms, the GIEI and MESENI.

The IACHR was represented at the 41st Period of Sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council by the special rapporteurs for freedom of expression and for economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights.

Program for Articulation and Complementarity with Regional Systems and Subregional Human Rights Mechanisms

The IACHR followed up on its collaboration with the MERCOSUR Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights (IPPDH) following the successful conclusion of the International Course on Public Policies on Human Rights, which the two organizations run in partnership. The course is an initiative of the IPPDH’s International School, and its main objective is to train strategic stakeholders from the public sector and civil society organizations so as to contribute to strengthening human rights public policies in the continent.

Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas (in partnership with OHCHR)

In the first half of 2019, the IAHCR and the OHCHR continued to implement joint initiatives through their Joint Action Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas. As part of this mechanism, a training session was held for human rights defenders in Mexico, a range of joint press releases were issued, and meetings were held with members of civil society and indigenous leaders during the IACHR’s working visit to Honduras.

Program for the Universalization of the IASHR and Institutional Cooperation with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The board of directors of the IACHR and the president of the IA Court met during the 49th OAS General Assembly in Medellín, Colombia, to continue the dialogue on collaboration between the two bodies and to make headway on conversations to lay the groundwork for the 3rd Inter-American System of Human Rights Forum, which will take place on November 6 and 7 in Quito, Ecuador.

Management and Institutional Development Program

During the first half of 2019, efforts continued to complete the roster of staff needed to carry out the activities the IACHR implements through its Executive Secretariat. Progress was made on the competitive selection processes for filling vacant positions, a total of 54 interns worked at the organization, and there was also headway on different programs for academics to collaborate with the IACHR.

Initiatives stemming from the Working Environment Committee’s work plan continued to be implemented—this group is made up of government officials and consultants from the IACHR Executive Secretariat. An “open doors policy” has been implemented such that staff can meet with the Executive Secretary to raise issues of interest to them. A suggestions box was also set up, and meetings were held with the ombudsperson of the OAS General Secretariat to work together to continue improving the working environment at the Executive Secretariat.

The IACHR has continued to expand its public presence in the region by holding periods of sessions outside of its headquarters. In the first half of 2019, it held periods of sessions in Bolivia and Jamaica, through which it facilitated encounters between civil society and the states in question. In the two and a half years since the Strategic Plan 2017–2021 was implemented, the IACHR has increased its public presence throughout the Americas by holding sessions in nine different countries.

It has also continued to strengthen its communications using a multiplatform strategy. Notable achievements include the creation of a new section to follow up on recommendations and the creation and launch of multimedia microsites on the recognition of the rights of LGBTI people and the human rights situation in Venezuela. The IACHR has reported on its main activities and observations regarding the protection and promotion of human rights in the Americas by publishing 163 press releases. It continues to use social media to publicize its work and raise awareness of inter-American standards and has a growing number of followers.

As part of the process of holding the period of sessions in Jamaica, the IACHR made the most of the opportunity to include the Caribbean media in its work. To do so, it organized a videoconference with members of the Caribbean media community to encourage them to cover the 172nd Period of Sessions in Jamaica.

Program of Technological Innovation Applied to Human Rights

In the first half of 2019, the IACHR continued its technological innovation efforts with a view to making better use of information technology and communications solutions to increase productivity, reduce manual labor costs, and cut down on the time staff spend on manual work. There has been progress on analyzing technical requirements and on the technical consultancy work needed to implement the System for Monitoring Recommendations on Human Rights (SIMORE), which will draw on a database of all recommendations issued by the IACHR’s different mechanisms.

Progress has also been made toward developing a prototype for an online voting system to help the IACHR and the Executive Secretariat optimize discussion and decision-making processes. An additional multimedia room with videoconferencing facilities has been implemented at the IACHR headquarters, which has facilitated online meetings between Executive Secretariat staff, the members of the IACHR, and users of the Inter-American System of Human Rights.

Financial Sustainability Plan

The increase in the budget for the regular fund approved for the ES/IACHR for 2019 and the increase granted in 2018 have allowed the organization to consolidate its administrative structure and build on its capacities, which led directly to it being able to achieve the results presented in this report.

In the first half of 2019, the Executive Secretariat worked with the member states and the OAS General Secretariat to present the proposed budget program for 2020, which covers the final phase in the doubling of the IACHR’s budget.

User Support Center

In the first half of 2019, the User Support Center (CAU) continued to consolidate the efforts it made at the end of 2018, when it was created. In the first half of 2019, the support given to users by telephone was mapped and assessed, which gave rise to a proposal to strengthen this form of support. The internal flows and procedures for receiving, classifying, entering, or distributing the data received by the IACHR were redesigned, and guides, protocol manuals, and internal processes were edited and updated to define basic guidelines and instructions for responding to users, be in it in person, by telephone, or in writing. Ten training sessions were held for staff working at the CAU.

In the first half of 2019, some 15,544 e-mail communications were reviewed and classified; 3,955 documents submitted on paper were digitized and entered into the system, as were 18,346 files submitted in digital format; and more than 17,000 files containing additional information were entered using an automated process. The maximum waiting time for registering petitions and precautionary measures has stayed at four and two days, respectively. In the first half of 2019, 1802 petitions and 666 precautionary measures were registered.

Thanks to work to publicize and promote the use of the Individual Petition System Portal, there has been an increase in the number of users of this portal, which now has over 700 new users. In the first half of 2019, 466 users were served by email and 371 users were served in person, and the quality of the service and information they were provided improved.

Special Follow-Up Program on IACHR Recommendations

The IACHR took major steps in 2019 to develop and perfect its methodologies for following up on its recommendations and verifying how far states are complying and internalizing the human rights commitments they have made. In this regard, the 2018 Annual Report was drafted using several methodological innovations, including new classification criteria for compliance levels for each recommendation; a system for highlighting progress and challenges each year; individualized follow-up sheets for each case; an increase in the number of actions to follow up on recommendations with a view to building roadmaps for compliance with recommendations that are agreed on by the parties; and progress in states’ levels of compliance with recommendations concerning cases in the follow-up stage.

Furthermore, in 2019 the IACHR held seven working meetings to follow up on merits reports; five portfolio meetings with the states of Belize, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay; bilateral meetings with petitioners; and it also sent 206 letters requesting information from parties as part of the process of drafting the 2019 Annual Report, which included developing a methodology on how the parties are to submit information, and compiled case indicators. The IACHR developed a new methodology for analyzing compliance with the recommendations included in country reports within the Annual Report (chapter V), using clearly defined, transparent criteria. It also made progress on its General Guidelines for Following up on Recommendations and Decisions so as to facilitate access and provide transparency on the mandates, methodologies, criteria, and procedures applied to follow up on the recommendations made by its different mechanisms.

To coordinate actions and exchange best practices, the IACHR also strengthened its work with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, ombudspersons’ offices, academic networks, and civil society. Thirteen outreach activities were held, in addition to ten training sessions for social leaders, members of civil society, and students. As part of its collaborative work with the world of academia, in the first half of 2019, the IACHR worked with the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (IDEHPUCP) on a project to develop jurisprudence factsheets on merits reports and friendly solutions. The IACHR also took part in two ongoing studies on the impact of the Inter-American System of Human Rights led by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

The IACHR also committed to consolidating and creating special mechanisms for following up on its recommendations and publicizing the results of these. Examples of this include the creation of the Technical Support Group (GAT) for the Ayotzinapa Affair, which is operating from Mexico City as part of the new phase in the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on the Ayotzinapa Affair (MESA); the new national phase of the Working Group on the Implementation of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic; the new phase of the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI); and dialogues to establish new working groups and mechanisms for cooperating with states as part of the process of following up on and implementing the IACHR’s recommendations, such as in Honduras and Haiti. The IACHR’s Special Follow-Up Mechanisms are a new, more appropriate way of helping countries in the region to comply with their international obligations and implement the IACHR’s recommendations regarding inter-American human rights norms and standards.

To continue the work of the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on the Ayotzinapa Affair (MESA), the IACHR adopted a work plan for 2019, after reaching an agreement with representatives of the new Mexican government, to continue to follow up on recommendations and reinforce cooperation and technical assistance. As part of this new stage, the mechanism now has a Technical Support Group (GAT) that was created by the IACHR Executive Secretariat and has a permanent presence in Mexico, which makes frequent dialogue with authorities, family members, and their representative easier and enables closer, more detailed monitoring of the recommendations made regarding the search process, investigation, care for victims, and structural measures for nonrepetition.

In 2019, the IACHR presented the follow-up report on the issues handled by the Working Group on the Implementation of Public Policies on Human Rights in the Dominican Republic and the recommendations set out in country reports regarding acquiring citizenship, migration, policies to combat all forms of discrimination, and policies on women’s rights.

Through the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI), the IACHR is articulating a strategy to provide a sustained, timely response to the current human rights in the country. During this period, the IACHR has sent the state of Nicaragua four requests for information on the specific situation of victims of state repression and one article 41 letter relating to the situation of people who are being deprived of their freedom. Likewise, in the first half of 2019, the IACHR also held three hearings (two public and one private) to gather specific information on human rights violations in the country. In the first half of 2019, as part of MESENI’s work, the IACHR made three working visits to monitor the situation of Nicaraguans who have been forced to flee their country. MESENI has gathered a total of 132 testimonials so far in 2019, which have been essential for preparing reports and reporting on the grave situation the country is experiencing. In this regard, the IACHR has issued 18 press releases on the unfolding of the current human rights crisis in Nicaragua to alert the international community to what is going on there.

Likewise, in the first half of 2019, MESENI continued its work to strengthen the capacities of Nicaraguan civil society with regard to international human rights standards by developing 10 in-person and online training sessions for 115 people on the mechanisms and standards of the IASHR in order to contribute to these organizations’ work and help them take ownership of international standards and the IACHR’s recommendations.

So far in 2019, the IACHR has drawn on data gathered by MESENI to present information on the human rights situation in Nicaragua to the OAS Permanent Council on three occasions and has met three times with the OAS Working Group on Nicaragua. It also organized two panel discussions on the human rights situation in Nicaragua, the first on March 22 in Washington, DC, and the second on June 17 in Miami, Florida. In addition to this, the IACHR led activities to raise awareness of the situation in Nicaragua among the international community at the 40th Period of Sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The IACHR has an active communications strategy on the human rights situation in Nicaragua through its social media platforms, where it publishes reports on the situation in the country and related actions on a daily basis. The actions implemented up to June 30, 2019, included the launch of a monthly newsletter on MESENI’s activities, which took place in April; social media campaigns to commemorate the anniversary of the start of the social protests in the country; and the creation of two videos, one on MESENI’s work and one on the anniversary of the start of the protests, which are available on the IAHCR TV Channel.

Acknowledgments

The IACHR is grateful to civil society human rights organizations throughout the Americas, OAS member and observer states, international and regional organizations, the secretary general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, and his team, and to the entire team at the IACHR Executive Secretariat for the part it played in enabling the organization to reach the landmark achievements presented in this report. It wishes to thank the OAS member states for implementing the second stage in the increase of the regular fund, and for approving the third phase in this increase. It also wishes to thank the OAS member countries, observer states, and donors whose voluntary contributions have played a decisive role in achieving the outcomes presented in this publication: Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and the United States; the European Commission, Spain, the Netherlands, the Balearic Islands, and Switzerland; the ARCUS Foundation, Google, Freedom House, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the Ford Foundation, OXFAM, and UNHCR. The IACHR dedicates its work to the memory of victims and recognizes the leading role of civil society organizations and social movements in building fairer societies that are more respectful of human rights.

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 and to defend 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. 186/19