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IACHR Allocates Rapporteurships, Renews Executive Secretary’s Mandate, and Launches Recruitment Procedure for Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression

January 10, 2020

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Mexico City, Mexico – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held on January 9–10 its first internal meeting of 2020. At the gathering, the IACHR allocated thematic and country rapporteurships, renewed its Executive Secretary’s mandate, and decided to launch a public procedure to recruit the head of its Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression.
The first few meetings featured two new commissioners elected by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) during its 49th Regular Period of Sessions, held in June 2019. Commissioners Julissa Mantilla Falcón and Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana took office on January 1, 2020. Commissioners Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño and Margarette May Macaulay were re-elected during that period of sessions.

The mandates of Commissioners Antonia Urrejola Noguera, Flávia Piovesan, and Joel Hernández García are set to end on December 31, 2021.

President Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, First Vice President Joel Hernández, and Second Vice President Antonia Urrejola Noguera sit on the IACHR’s board of officers. In keeping with the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, members of the board of officers are to be elected on the first day of the first period of sessions of the year, set to be held on March 1–10, 2020 in Haiti, following an invitation from the Haitian government.

New Allocation of Thematic and Country Rapporteurships

Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño: Rapporteur for Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela, and Rapporteur on the Rights of Children.

Commissioner Joel Hernández: Rapporteur for Brazil, Chile, and Honduras, and Rapporteur on Human     Rights Defenders and Justice Operators.

Commissioner Antonia Urrejola: Rapporteur for Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Nicaragua; Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and Rapporteur on Memory, Truth, and Justice.

Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay: Rapporteur for Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Canada, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Saint Kitts and Nevis; Rapporteur on the Rights of Women; and Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and against Racial Discrimination.

Commissioner Flávia Piovesan: Rapporteur for Bolivia, Jamaica, Panama, and the United States; and Rapporteur on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Persons.

Commissioner Julissa Mantilla Falcón: Rapporteur for Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uruguay; Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants; and Rapporteur on the Rights of Older Persons.

Commissioner Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana: Rapporteur for Cuba, Haiti, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Suriname , and Trinidad and Tobago; Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty and on the Fight against Torture; and Rapporteur on Persons with Disabilities.

The American Convention on Human Rights states that the IACHR should have seven members, who must be persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights. They are elected in a personal capacity by the General Assembly of the OAS from a list of candidates proposed by the governments of Member States. Members of the Commission are elected for a four-year term and may be re-elected for a second term.

Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño is the current President of the IACHR. Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño was re-elected by the General Assembly of the OAS during its 49th Regular Period of Sessions, in June 2019, for a further four-year term from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2023. She has held several positions in Panama’s judiciary. She served as a Justice of the Supreme Court (of which she was vice president), chaired the Second Chamber for Criminal Cases and served as a judge on the High Court for Children and Adolescents. She was part of the Special Commission that proposed constitutional reforms in Panama in 2011 and of the Commission that drafted the Code of Constitutional Procedure in 2016. She has a degree in Philosophy, Letters, and Education, with a specialization in Pedagogy, as well as a degree in Law and Political Science. She pursued postgraduate studies in gender, with a specialization in childhood and the family, as well as constitutional affairs. She is an academic and a professor at the University of Panama, the Superior Judicial Institute, and Panama's Judicial Authority. She also collaborates with the Public Prosecutor's Office School on the subject of the new criminal-justice system and in training concerning juvenile criminal justice. She is a consultant on childhood, adolescence, women, and the family for international organizations including UNICEF, the UNFPA, and the UNDP. She serves as an ad honorem consultant for Panama's legislative authority in efforts to draft, debate, and pass major legislation on these subjects. She has built a long career around defending the human rights of specific population groups. She is a citizen of Panama.

Commissioner Joel Hernández García is the current First Vice President of the IACHR. He was elected by the General Assembly of the OAS on June 21, 2017, for a four-year term from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2021. He holds a Law degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a master's degree in International Law from the New York University School of Law. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and was a member of the Inter-American Juridical Committee over the period 2015–2018. He is the president of the Mexican branch of the International Law Association. Within Mexico’s foreign service, he rose to the rank of ambassador and served in several posts. From 2011 to 2013, he served as Mexico’s Permanent Representative to the OAS. In that capacity, he chaired the working group to examine IACHR operations to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System. He has been a guest professor at various academic institutions, on the subjects of international law and international organizations. He is a citizen of Mexico.

Commissioner Antonia Urrejola Noguera is the current Second Vice President of the IACHR. She was elected by the General Assembly of the OAS on June 21, 2017, for a four-year term from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2021. She graduated as a lawyer from the University of Chile and has a postgraduate diploma in Human Rights and Transitional Justice. She worked as a human rights advisor for the Chilean Presidency, mainly drafting and processing bills about institutions that deal with human rights, children, and sexual diversity. Following the return of democracy in Chile, she worked in the Special Commission for Indigenous Peoples, and later at the Ministry of National Assets and the Ministry of Planning and Cooperation, where she focused on the rights of indigenous peoples. She served as an advisor to the Ministry of the Interior, particularly concerning its Human Rights Program and matters of memory, truth, and justice. She was involved in drafting and processing various bills on national institutions that dealt with human rights, political detention, and torture, among other issues. She has also worked as a consultant for international organizations including the UNDP, the ILO, FLACSO, the JSCA, and the IDB on matters concerning ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples and the Inter-American Human Rights System, among other topics. She was a principal advisor to the former Secretary General of the OAS between 2006 and 2011. She has been a guest professor at several universities and other institutions, on the subject of the Inter-American Human Rights System. She is a citizen of Chile.
Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay was re-elected by the General Assembly of the OAS during its 49th Regular Period of Sessions, on June 28, 2019, for a further four-year term from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2023. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London and is currently an attorney in private practice. She serves as mediator in the Supreme Court of Jamaica and as an associate arbitrator, and she is also active as a notary public. She served as a judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights from 2007 to 2012 and was involved in drafting the Court’s Rules of Procedure. She was honored as a member of the Gender Justice Legacy Wall of notable women’s rights advocates, which was launched in December 2017 at the United Nations in New York. She has been involved in reforming and drafting bills in Jamaica and is well known as a strong advocate of and authority on women’s rights. She is a citizen of Jamaica.

Commissioner Flávia Piovesan was elected by the General Assembly of the OAS on June 21, 2017, for a four-year term from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2021. She has been a professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the Catholic University of São Paulo since 1991. She is also a professor at the University of Buenos Aires’ PhD program and at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of the American University, in the United States. She conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard Law School, Oxford University, and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, where she studied regional human rights protection systems. She served as a professor of Human Rights in the postgraduate programs of the Catholic University of Paraná and Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain. She served as a Special Secretary for Human Rights in Brazil and chaired the National Commission for the Eradication of Forced Labour. She is the author of numerous academic publications and has worked as a consultant for international organizations. She has given hundreds of lectures and made presentations at universities in scores of countries. She is a citizen of Brazil.
Commissioner Julissa Mantilla Falcón was elected by the General Assembly of the OAS during its 49th Regular Period of Sessions, on June 28, 2019, for a four-year term from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2023. As a lawyer, she specializes in human rights and has a degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), a diploma in Gender from the PUCP, and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) at the University of London. She worked in the Peruvian Ombudsperson’s Office and was in charge of gender issues in the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation in Peru. She has served as an international consultant on transitional justice for UN Women. She is a professor at the Law School and the master’s degree in Human Rights at the PUCP and at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the American University’s Washington College of Law. She has lectured internationally and authored several academic publications. She is a citizen of Peru.

Commissioner Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana was elected by the General Assembly of the OAS during its 49th Regular Period of Sessions, on June 28, 2019, for a four-year term from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2023. He is a constitutional lawyer for Guatemala. He has been professionally active for 20 years and, as a legal expert, has specialized in constitutional law. He has combined university teaching and litigation and is an authority on constitutional matters in his native country. The defense of safeguards for individual rights like the right to life, civil liberties, and political rights stands out in his human rights career. He is a citizen of Guatemala.

Renewed Mandate for Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão

The IACHR unanimously renewed Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão’s mandate. His term was extended for four years from August 16, 2020, in keeping with Article 11.3 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure.

The IACHR thanks the Executive Secretary for his disposition to accept a second mandate. During his first four-year mandate at the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR, he addressed the serious crisis affecting the Commission and strengthened its institutional management, by adopting Strategic Plan 2017–2021 and restructuring the Executive Secretariat’s administration. He also improved the Commission’s financial sustainability and increased its capacity; streamlined decision-making in the petition and case system (with historic results in terms of report approval rates); increased the Commission’s ability to monitor and coordinate relevant, timely responses to human rights crises; increased the IACHR’s public presence around the region by ensuring more visits, publicity, cooperation, and sessions outside the Commission’s headquarters; improved coordination with other systems to protect human rights; and strengthened dialogue with States and civil society organizations around the region.

Paulo Abrão, a Brazilian citizen, has been the IACHR’s Executive Secretary since August 2016. He has a PhD in Law from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and postdoctoral studies in Human Rights and Democratization from the University of Chile. He is a professor at the doctorate in Juridical Science at Pablo de Olavide University (Spain), the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the American University (United States), and the Pontifical Catholic University of Río Grande do Sul (Brazil). He served as Executive Secretary of Mercosur’s Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights and as Brazil’s Secretary of Justice. He chaired Brazil’s Amnesty Commission (in charge of developing policies on reparations for victims of the Brazilian dictatorship), the National Committee for Refugees, and the National Committee against Human Trafficking. He is a member of the International Tribunal of Restorative Justice for El Salvador, the board of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and the Advisory Board at the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at Brown University. He has authored scores of academic publications. He was involved in the Cooperative Mission to Launch the University of Cape Verde, in Africa, and has coordinated international missions in more than 15 countries.

Public Recruitment Procedure Launched to Appoint a Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

The IACHR has launched a public procedure to recruit the head of its Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression.
The person appointed to head this Rapporteurship will be in charge of supporting IACHR efforts to comply with its mandate to promote and protect freedom of expression in the Americas.

All the details of this recruitment process, the duties and responsibilities involved, new requirements, deadlines, and further relevant information will be available at http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/employment/employment.asp from Monday, January 13, 2020.
The deadline for applications is Friday, March 13, 2020.

The Commission thanks the government of Mexico for having facilitated the IACHR’s first internal meetings of the year, held in the Mexican capital.

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. 005/20