Press Release

IACHR Extends Suspension of Deadlines for Petition, Case, and Friendly Settlement System by One Month in Response to COVID-19 Health Emergency

April 21, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - On March 19, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced that it was adopting certain exceptional measures while continuing to carry out its essential functions regarding the petition and case system, precautionary measures, and the monitoring of the human rights situation in the Americas. In view of the fact that numerous countries in the region have been and continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and that this may impact their ability to respond in a timely manner to the IACHR’s requests to parties, and with the aim supporting efforts being made to this end, the IACHR stated that:

1. Precautionary measures that are granted in response to serious, urgent situations that entail a risk of people suffering irreparable harm will be processed as usual. All other situations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. During this period, the IACHR will not deactivate any precautionary measures over a lack of information having been presented by the parties, in accordance with Resolution 3/18.

2. The IACHR hereby notifies all users of the petition, case, and friendly settlement system that deadlines will be put on hold for a further month, up to and including May 21, 2020, with the following exceptions:

i. The time limit set out in article 46 b. of the American Convention—which establishes a six-month time limit for filing petitions—will be evaluated in each specific situation if it is alleged that a given petition cannot be filed.

ii. The time limit established in article 51.1 of the American Convention for submitting a case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights or deciding to publish it will continue as normal. However, states may request that the IACHR suspend this time limit and grant an extension complying with the recommendations made in the merits report by expressly refusing to file a preliminary objection regarding compliance with this time-limit in their request, in the event that the case is referred to the IA Court. The IACHR will evaluate such requests in accordance with the requirements set out in article 46 of its Rules of Procedure, taking the circumstances the region is currently experiencing into account.

iii. The time limit established in article 30.3 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure for responding to a new petition will not be suspended—instead, the expiry date will be extended by one month.

3. This extension of the suspension of time limits and deadlines by an additional month does not prevent any parties from presenting information required by the IACHR. Consequently, should the IACHR Executive Secretariat receive any such information, the other party shall be informed of this, as appropriate. 

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. 083/20