Press Release

IACHR Presents Report on the State and Results of Efforts to Implement its Strategic Plan 2017–2021 During the First Half of 2020

July 7, 2020

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presents its report on progress made during the fourth year of its Strategic Plan 2017–2021, along with the main results of its work during the first half of 2020. The report seeks to improve transparency and accountability toward the international human rights community.


First, the IACHR mainly highlights progress made to overcome procedural backlog and to gradually develop international human rights law to consolidate inter-American standards. During the first half of 2020, the IACHR completed the initial assessment process for all the petitions it had received in 2018 and 80% of those filed in 2019, to reach a major, historic milestone in efforts to overcome the procedural backlog that prevails in the early stages of petition management. A record-breaking total of 130 reports were approved, including 113 admissibility reports and 17 inadmissibility reports. Further, 36 merits reports were drafted, ten of which have already been assessed and approved by the IACHR. The IACHR highlights the adoption of the Digest of the IACHR on its Admissibility and Competence Criteria (to ensure the implementation of systematic criteria by the IACHR) and the approval of Resolution 3/20 (concerning differentiated action to address friendly settlements promptly), as well as the implementation of Resolution 1/2019 (enabling an end to years of backlog in petition reassessment). Concerning precautionary measures, the IACHR has kept up real-time reviewing of requests for precautionary measures implemented in recent years, and it has continued to protect individuals who face serious, urgent risks of suffering irreparable damage. The IACHR also approved Resolution 2/2020, Strengthening of the Monitoring of Precautionary Measures in Force, to increase effective follow-up on precautionary measures.

Given the worrying situation in the region and around the world due to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the health of thousands of people, the IACHR has taken major steps to comply with its mandate to protect human rights in this context. The IACHR adapted its workflows and set up a Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit (SACROI), approved Resolution 1/2020, Pandemic and Human Rights in the Americas, and issued several press releases on the effects of the pandemic on the lives of various vulnerable groups in the Americas. The IACHR created an outlet to spread information on the actions of its COVID-19 SACROI (dedicated microsite) and has been issuing daily newsletters and holding webinars to strengthen the capacity of states and civil society concerning inter-American standards to protect human rights. While adapting its workflows to the new reality, the IACHR continued to step up its efforts to engage in dialogue with states, as a fundamental element of its work in this context marked by unprecedented challenges for the protection of the human rights of all residents of the Americas. The IACHR also enabled dialogue with civil society, through social forums.

The IACHR continued to strengthen integrated, well-coordinated efforts, which allowed it to effectively and immediately respond to human rights issues as they arose in several countries around the region. Concerning monitoring, the IACHR conducted an on-site visit to Chile and also visited the border between Colombia and Venezuela to monitor the situation of human rights in Venezuela, issuing the relevant preliminary observations with a series of recommendations to these states. The IACHR further issued a series of press releases to warn of serious problems in the Americas, including the ongoing human rights crisis and the suspension of democratic platforms in Nicaragua; attacks on reporters and rights defenders in Colombia (particularly the murders of social leaders); police violence and social protests against structural racism in the United States; forced migration and roll-backs in refugee and asylum policies in the region; and gender-based violence and violence against sexual diversity. Similarly, the IACHR immediately responded on social media to attract the attention of the international community to scores of relevant issues. Further, the IACHR published its country report on the situation of human rights in Cuba and its thematic reports Violence and Discrimination Against Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean and Business and Human Rights: Inter-American Standards.

By integrating various mechanisms, the IACHR also developed a methodology to coordinate the operations of its SACROIs and encouraged IACHR statements and strategies for action. The IACHR further fine-tuned a tool (known as IIAMP) to integrate, manage, and analyze information. The IACHR also unveiled efforts to build an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts to support investigations into violence and human rights violations in Bolivia, along with a tentative launch date and plans to strengthen that mechanism. The IACHR and the Mexican state also signed an agreement to relaunch the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts for the Ayotzinapa case.

In the context of the pandemic, the IACHR adapted its workflows and its collaboration with States and civil society around the Americas. The IACHR continues to promote capacity-building efforts through webinars and campaigns to promote inter-American standards. More than 7,000 people have attended webinars on the challenges that the pandemic poses for human rights in the region, a figure that exceeds the total number of webinar participants throughout 2019. The IACHR also strengthened its channels for dialogue and technical cooperation with States in the Americas, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean. The IACHR held its 175th Period of Sessions in Haiti, standing by its commitment to building closer ties with the area.

In 2020 so far, the IACHR has deepened dialogue and cooperation on several issues with the United Nations human rights system—particularly during the current pandemic—and with regional and subregional human rights institutions and the Inter-American Court (IA Court).

The IACHR has stepped up its efforts to ensure it has enough staff, infrastructure, technology, and funds to fully comply with its mandate and role, through results-based management to attain effective institutional development.

The IACHR also launched and started implementing its Recommendation Monitoring System (known as the Inter-American SIMORE), one of its main tools to verify countries’ compliance with their international obligations concerning the protection and promotion of human rights in the Americas. The IACHR has continued to work to consolidate and strengthen its Special Mechanisms to Monitor Recommendations. Significant results were recorded during the first six months of 2020 in the Special Follow-Up Mechanism for Ayotzinapa (MESA), through the Technical Assistance Group for Ayotzinapa; the special mechanisms to monitor the situation of human rights in Nicaragua (MESENI) and Venezuela (MESEVE); and the Special Technical Advice Committee to ensure compliance with recommendations concerning human rights in Honduras (MESAT).

The IACHR is happy to highlight its most significant progress and achievements to attain the goals of the 21 programs defined in its Strategic Plan 2017–2021. The full document on IACHR results during the first half of 2020 is available here.

P1: Special Program to Reduce Procedural Backlog

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR made major progress to implement its first program—and to address one of its strategic challenges, reducing procedural backlog—and consolidate the route set in its Strategic Plan.

At the end of January 2020, the IACHR completed the initial assessment process for all petitions filed during 2018. By the end of the first half of 2020, the IACHR has performed its initial assessment for 80% of the 3,034 petitions it received in 2019. The IACHR is therefore consolidating its plan to address in August petitions filed during 2020, to significantly reduce procedural backlog in the initial stage of the petition-management process.

Similarly, in line with its comprehensive receptiveness to all needs prompted by the ongoing pandemic, the IACHR has prioritized the assessment of any petitions linked to alleged human rights violations in the COVID-19 context. The IACHR launched a procedure to assess these petitions in real time.

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR also made progress in implementing Resolution 1/2019, which was published on November 7, 2019. The IACHR has already completed the process to reassess the 157 petitions that were filed over the period 1998–2019 and where the IACHR received reassessment requests before that resolution went into force. Through the process of adopting and implementing Resolution 1/2019, the IACHR is addressing a historical institutional deficiency—involving 19 years of accumulated work—while also improving transparency and legal certainty in the initial petition assessment stage.

Another important activity included among the objectives of the IACHR’s Strategic Plan concerning procedural backlog involves the adoption of the Digest of the IACHR on its Admissibility and Competence Criteria, in the context of the IACHR’s 175th Period of Sessions, held in Haiti. This compendium is a useful tool to apply IACHR criteria more systematically, making the IACHR’s decisions more predictable and enabling easier access to the IASHR petition and case system.

The IACHR approved 130 reports on admissibility (113 admissibility reports and 17 inadmissibility reports) where it deepened and consolidated its decisions on various issues, including forced disappearance and torture; the duty to protect the right to life; due process in criminal and administrative proceedings; violence against women and girls; extrajudicial killings; noncompliance with court decisions; and the right to equality in reparations in transitional justice contexts.

To address procedural backlog, the IACHR continued to implement its pilot project for decisions to be adopted in batches at the admissibility stage, for petitions with similar themes; draft reports were written with standard paragraphs, and similar criteria were used to assess similar situations. The inactivity period was reduced from four to three years for the parties before they are issued a warning that the petition risks being closed, to focus IACHR efforts on matters where the petitioning party remains active. During the first half of 2020, the IACHR continued to work on the Special Common Law Group it created in 2019, to ensure progress on matters involving member states with common law systems.

In the merits stage, the IACHR continues to address procedural backlog and to respond to cases of major historical significance or with the potential to develop inter-American public order. A total of 36 merits reports were issued, of which the IACHR adopted ten during its first period of sessions of the year, in March 2020, while 26 were drafted for the IACHR’s consideration early in the second half of the year. Among the reports that have been drafted, one has shown significant progress and is close to being issued by the IACHR. It would integrate an estimated 17 cases through standardized treatment, given the factual and legal similarities between the cases involved.

The IACHR further adopted nine final reports for publication. Through 75 memorandums, it also deliberated in cases that are in the transition stage—the IACHR stated its position concerning extensions for compliance with the recommendations held in its merits reports in keeping with article 46 of its Rules of Procedure, report publication, or case submission to the IA Court.

Concerning the IACHR’s activities before the IA Court, seven cases were taken before the Court, on various issues including disappearances, extrajudicial killings, the duty to protect the right to life, due process in criminal and administrative proceedings, the right to freedom of expression, and the protection of indigenous peoples. The IACHR complied with its conventional mandate to appear at all hearings before the Court, both those concerning litigation and those concerning temporary measures and advisory opinion. The IACHR further issued 73 documents with its observations on open cases and requests for its advisory opinion, a 200% increase compared to the first six months of 2019. The IACHR has also issued 39 documents with observations concerning compliance with Court decisions.

P2: Program to Expand the Use of Friendly Settlements

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR has taken various measures to promote negotiation and compliance with signed friendly settlement agreements, and also organized activities to promote its friendly settlement mechanism as an alternative to litigation (in efforts to resolve petitions and cases taken before the IACHR to ensure comprehensive reparation for victims of human rights violations).

Given the IACHR’s facilitation efforts and the will of states and petitioners to avoid litigation, two friendly settlement agreements were signed (concerning Petition 1275-04 A—Juan Luis Rivera Matus, concerning Chile, and Case 13,319—William Fernandez, concerning Colombia). The IACHR believes that these agreements, respectively signed on January 31 and April 29, 2020, are emblematic given their nature, the kinds of rights violations they seek to provide reparations for, and the number of beneficiaries involved in them. Over the course of the year, 33 matters in the friendly settlement mechanism have been addressed, through 16 approvals, four completed negotiations at the request of the parties, and 13 closure proceedings (whether for inactivity or at the request of the petitioning party). Of the 16 agreements that were approved, 13 were found to have attained partial compliance and one was deemed to have reached full compliance.

In progress made in reviewing friendly settlement agreements that were approved during the first half of 2020, the IACHR verified implementation concerning 49 reparation measures, of which 39 attained full compliance and ten attained partial compliance. Mexico was the country that made the most progress to implement these measures, with a total of 14 measures of which 12 attained full compliance and two attained partial compliance. Important progress was also made in Colombia, where ten measures were implemented of which seven attained full compliance and three attained partial compliance. Finally, the IACHR also observed major progress in compliance in Brazil, where the state implemented seven reparation measures of which six attained full compliance and one attained partial compliance. Of all measures implemented during the first half of 2020, 10 were structural and 39 were individual. Further details on these figures are provided in the Annex.

During these six months, major efforts have been made to increase the number of platforms for dialogue that enable the negotiation and implementation of friendly settlement agreements. To this end, ten working meetings were held—whether face-to-face or remotely—on matters where negotiations and implementation monitoring concerning friendly settlement agreements were ongoing, adopting new technologies to encourage the parties to sign agreements and comply with them. Similarly, 52 technical meetings—attended by petitioners, states, commissioners, and facilitators from the IACHR’s Friendly Settlement Section—were held to support friendly settlement procedures of a bilateral or trilateral nature, applying alternative conflict-resolution methods.

Among the major advances made on friendly settlements during the first half of the year, a significant one happened on April 21, 2020. The IACHR approved Resolution 3/20, concerning differentiated action to address procedural backlog in friendly settlements, with a view to preventing delays in negotiations toward friendly settlement agreements, which sometimes make it impossible for institutions in the Inter-American Human Rights System to state their position in a timely manner regarding petitions and cases taken before them. The IACHR deemed it necessary to adopt basic guidelines to provide a semistructured framework for negotiation processes, preserving procedural flexibility while at the same time respecting the timeliness and the voluntary nature that are required of alternative conflict-resolution mechanisms. Further, through this resolution, the IACHR took differentiated action on issues that are currently being dealt with in the friendly settlement mechanism—taking into consideration when the petition was filed, whether a friendly settlement agreement has been reached in each case, and when negotiations started—to decide on a course of action for negotiation processes, closing friendly settlement processes where the parties have made no significant advances and/or have failed to establish solid dialogue, and setting specific deadlines to assess progress in various friendly settlement processes.

P3: Program to Strengthen Precautionary Measures

The IACHR has kept up optimal real-time reviewing of requests for precautionary measures implemented in recent years, and it has continued to protect individuals who face serious, urgent risks of suffering irreparable damage. A total of 596 requests had been received by June 30, 2020, and they have now been assessed and ranked based on evidence of how serious and urgent they may be. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IACHR has prioritized the assessment of requests that allege risks in that context. During the first half of 2020, the IACHR has received 208 requests for precautionary measures linked to COVID-19, the first of them on March 15.

Over this period, the IACHR has granted 21 precautionary measures, extended seven, and lifted six, so its portfolio of precautionary measures in force now holds a total of 602. Beneficiaries of these precautionary measures include human rights defenders, children and adolescents, survivors of acts of violence, indigenous peoples, detained persons, and individuals whose whereabouts are unknown, among other particularly vulnerable individuals and groups. The IACHR has also deliberated on a total of 430 matters during the first six months of the year.

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR approved Resolution 2/2020, Strengthening of the Monitoring of Precautionary Measures in Force, to increase effective follow-up on precautionary measures in keeping with article 25 of its Rules of Procedure. This is in line with IACHR plans to make its work more transparent and states the tools—potentially including follow-up resolutions and in loco visits—that the IACHR intends to use to continue monitoring precautionary measures. Similarly, in compliance with paragraph 9, the IACHR reported plans to go through its portfolios, to identify any matters that no longer meet the relevant requirements, based on the available information.

While still monitoring the measures in force, 300 follow-up letters were sent to states and representatives over the first six months of 2020 to request specific information, in an effort to supervise the implementation of these measures. Further, 11 working meetings were held to receive from the parties the details of any progress made on measure implementation and any pending challenges. Given the current health crisis caused by COVID-19, the IACHR has significantly encouraged remote working meetings to improve and increase agreement among the parties and to effectively monitor precautionary measures in force.

The IACHR also filed a total of 31 legal documents in connection with the temporary measures in force that have been issued by the IA Court. On February 6, 2020, the IA Court extended temporary measures in favor of members of Miskitu indigenous communities in Nicaragua, as requested by the IACHR. Further, on March 13, the IACHR filed its observations before the IA Court concerning a temporary measure in force, during a hearing that the IA Court held during its 134th Regular Period of Sessions. It is important to stress that, in keeping with its mandate, the IACHR files observations concerning temporary measures in force and monitors these cases to ensure better implementation and coordination.

Further, to continue to improve knowledge of the precautionary measure mechanism and to make this mechanism more predictable, and in keeping with its Strategic Plan, the IACHR has posted on its website a fact sheet that succinctly explains how to file a request for precautionary measures. This fact sheet is available in the four official languages of the OAS and is being publicized on IACHR social media.

P4: Program for Transparency and Access to Information

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR continued to step up its efforts—it drafted its Policy on Access to Public Information (submitted to the consideration of the IACHR during the IACHR’s 176th Period of Sessions) and was also working on a File Management Policy. The IACHR published and presented its 2019 Annual Report, along with three further reports: an assessment of the third year of the implementation of Strategic Plan 2017–2021; the 2019 Annual Report of the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression; and a report to assess the impact and results attained by the Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit on the COVID-19 Pandemic (COVID-19 SACROI). Monthly newsletters were also issued by the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI). The IACHR also opened up access to historical records concerning Colombia held at the IACHR headquarters and responded to requests filed by states and families for access to petitions and cases held in the IACHR’s historical records, as well as to 11 requests for access to information received by the IACHR’s Executive Secretariat. The IACHR also published its Digest of the IACHR on its Admissibility and Competence Criteria and its shortlist for the position of Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

P5: Program to Improve the Scope and Impact of Monitoring of Human Rights Situations by Theme and Country

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR stepped up its efforts to increase the scope and impact of its tools to monitor human rights, and—given the ongoing global health crisis—decided to prioritize the impact on human rights of the COVID-19 pandemic and the relevant treatment and control measures. Beyond this strategic decision, the IACHR continued to use all mechanisms to publicize relevant situations and to respond to them in a timely manner, with a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to geographic and thematic monitoring using the IACHR’s observation mechanisms.

Press Releases

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR issued 156 press releases, 61 of them concerning efforts to monitor the situation of human rights in the Americas involving IACHR countries and IACHR thematic priorities, and one concerning technical cooperation and advocacy and training activities.

Through this mechanism, the IACHR addressed the situation of human rights in 13 countries in the Americas, whether overall or focusing on specific issues and groups in a given country. In particular, 26 of these press releases focused on different issues and countries in the context of human rights violations during the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. Issues addressed in IACHR press releases included protests, racial discrimination, forced evictions and internal displacement, migration policies that increase restrictions on human mobility, human rights defenders, excessive use of force, the rights of women and girls, the rights of LGBTI persons and older persons, the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, issues linked to memory, truth, and justice, the right to freedom of expression, and economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights.


On January 25–31, the IACHR conducted an on-site visit to Chile that sought to observe first-hand the human rights situation in the country following the social protests there and to assess the causes and consequences of the unrest. The visit took place in the context of IACHR efforts to monitor this social unrest since it erupted in October 2019. At the time, the IACHR acknowledged that Chile had a democratic system in place, that the rule of law prevailed, and that the state had solid democratic and human rights institutions. However, it noted the profound challenges faced by those democratic institutions in the context of a social crisis that had had a major impact on Chilean society.

Between February 5 and 8, 2020, the IACHR also conducted a historic on-site visit to monitor the situation of human rights in Venezuela. This visit, originally scheduled to take place February 4–7 in Caracas and Maracaibo, eventually happened in Cúcuta, a Colombian city on the Venezuelan border, after Venezuelan authorities refused to allow the IACHR to enter the country.

Requests for Information

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR issued 53 letters to request information from states, based on Article 18 of the Statute of the Commission and the American Convention on Human Rights. Through this mechanism, the IACHR addressed the situation of human rights in 35 countries in the Americas. Over this period, the IACHR also addressed measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the human rights of human rights defenders, the situation of individuals who are deprived of liberty, the rights of migrants and returnees, and attacks on remembrance sites.


During the first half of 2020, out of the 19 public hearings held during the 175th Period of Sessions, 16 focused on monitoring efforts concerning Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela, or addressed regional issues including asylum systems in the face of humanitarian crises and the economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights of LGBTI persons in the Americas.

Approved Resolutions Concerning Specific Issues

On April 10, 2020, the IACHR adopted Resolution 01/2020, Pandemic and Human Rights in the Americas. The IACHR decided to issue this resolution given the unprecedented global health emergency faced by the Americas and the world, caused by the rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. This resolution was drafted in the belief that measures taken by states to treat and control the virus needed to preserve full respect for human rights, and it included a set of recommendations for states in the Americas to address COVID-19 with this approach.

Approved Reports

The IACHR’s primary mandate involved promoting and defending human rights in the Americas. Based on this mandate, the IACHR has constantly monitored the situation of human rights in all countries around the region, and especially the situation of various individuals and groups who are particularly vulnerable or have historically suffered discrimination. Along these lines, the IACHR approved the country report Situation of Human Rights in Cuba during the first six months of 2020.

P6: Special Rapporteurships Program

IACHR Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression

To implement its Action Plan for 2018–2021, the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression continued to launch projects that focused on democratic governance, the defense of civic space, and the protection of freedom of expression on the Internet. At the same time, this Rapporteurship responded in a timely manner to the regional challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which implied quick changes of focus for some of its projects and coordinated action with other stakeholders to meet emerging needs.

The Special Rapporteurship has closely followed the situation of the right to freedom of expression and access to information in the context of the pandemic, coordinating its efforts with other stakeholders and supporting the work of the IACHR and its Executive Secretariat to provide an integrated response to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Further, this Special Rapporteurship permanently coordinated its efforts with the mandate holders of United Nations special procedures on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and others. As an active component of the Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit on the COVID-19 Pandemic (COVID-19 SACROI) set up by the IACHR, this Rapporteurship has provided expert advice on surveillance and the defense of fundamental liberties and human rights in this context. These efforts have included permanently monitoring the situation in the Americas, through press releases, webinars, participation in social forums hosted by the IACHR, and letters to states, as well as the emblematic Resolution 1/2020, Pandemic and Human Rights in the Americas.

The Special Rapporteurship hosted or took part in around 20 events to publicize and provide training on inter-American standards for freedom of expression. The rapporteurship’s actions have focused on immediately relevant issues, including freedom of expression and COVID-19; access to information, the Internet, and privacy; the protection of personal data; misinformation; censorship and harassment against journalists; and the use of criminal law to criminalize actions that are protected by the right to freedom of expression. This Rapporteurship paid special attention to the situation in Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Brazil, and Venezuela, where the most worrying restrictions were found.

The Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression also attained major milestones in its efforts to monitor the most serious situations around the region, among others through the publication of its 2019 Annual Report on the situation of freedom of expression in the Americas. Earlier this year, the Special Rapporteurship took part in the IACHR visit to Venezuela, on the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

During 2020, this Special Rapporteurship has issued 15 press releases. These press releases addressed specific situations linked to COVID-19, concerning the overall situation around the Americas and the specific case of Nicaragua. Other press releases addressed murders, attacks, threats, and intimidation against journalists and media outlets, particularly concerning surveillance in Colombia, misuse of criminal law in Brazil and Cuba, and the use of force against reporters in the context of protests in the United States. The latter draws on joint work done with Special Rapporteurs in the United Nations System and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which also included a Joint Declaration on the protection of access to information in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Joint Declaration on freedom of expression and elections in the digital age.

In the current remote context, to respond to the demand for timely, accessible information concerning the protection of rights during the pandemic, this Rapporteurship has stepped up its efforts to design campaigns and infographics and publicize them on social media. So far, both Facebook and Twitter enable the Rapporteurship to reach approximately 18,000 users.

Further, the Special Rapporteurship drafted the merits reports on cases Urrutia Laubreaux vs. Chile (freedom of expression for judges and academic freedom) and Julio Rogelio Viteri Ungaretti and Family vs. Ecuador (whistleblowers and corruption in the armed forces). The IACHR also decided to submit a report on the case of the Maya Kaqchikuel Indigenous Peoples vs. Guatemala drafted by this Rapporteurship to the IA Court. The IACHR adopted all these reports in its final decision.

In compliance with its own projects concerning training for judicial officials on inter-American standards for freedom of expression, the Special Rapporteurship managed—in a joint effort with UNESCO—to train 2,348 judges and judicial officials in the Americas during 2020 on applying inter-American freedom of expression standards.

Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (SRESCER)

During the first half of 2020, this Rapporteurship has actively and permanently monitored the situation of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights (ESCERs) in the Americas. This effort has particularly focused on ESCER in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially on the right to health, the rights of healthcare and care workers, and the impact on other ESCERs, with approaches that take into consideration gender equality and intersectionality and ensure close coordination with all thematic and country departments within the IACHR. This Rapporteurship also drafted or took part in efforts to draft seven press releases; it gave technical assistance, provided input, and was otherwise involved in eight public hearings concerning ESCER-related issues during the period of sessions that was held in Haiti; and it took part in the historic visit to Venezuela—through the border city of Cúcuta, Colombia—and in the work of the Working Group on the Protocol of San Salvador. The SRESCER was also regularly and actively involved in the work of the COVID-19 SACROI, including efforts to draft Resolution 1/2020, Pandemic and Human Rights in the Americas.

The report Business and Human Rights: Inter-American Standards was also published and widely publicized and met with a very positive reception by various stakeholders in the Americas.

This Special Rapporteurship also made expert contributions to the petition and case system, assessing issues linked to ESCER in 24 admissibility reports and eight merits reports and assessments of 14 requests for precautionary measures. In these contributions, the SRESCER has developed standards concerning sexual and reproductive health in the context of the termination of pregnancy, reproductive healthcare for pregnant women, access to employment without discrimination based on ethnic or racial grounds, and access to health in the context of the criminalization of sexual orientation. This Rapporteurship also drafted and submitted observations to the IA Court for an advisory opinion on trade-union freedom with a gender perspective, requested by the IACHR at the insistence of its SRESCER.

Finally, this Rapporteurship also held or took part in 20 outreach and academic activities linked to ESCER, most of them remotely, and was involved in face-to-face academic activities in Los Angeles, Port-au-Prince, and Mexico City. This Rapporteurship also held a webinar on the right to health in the context of the COVID-19 SACROI and hosted workshops for Nicaraguan medical staff on standards concerning the right to health. The SRESCER further took part in the First Regular Meeting of the Council of Central American Human Rights Ombuds (CCPPDH) and in webinars hosted by the Iberian Federation of Ombuds and the Network of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Americas for national human rights institutions in Iberian America. This Rapporteurship also held a specific workshop on civil society and another for national human rights institutions in Central American states and Mexico.

P7: Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit

During the first half of 2020, the IACHR updated and reorganized its Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Units (SACROIs) to ensure greater impact on critical situations around the Americas. Three new SACROIs were set up—two for specific countries (Colombia and the United States) and one (the COVID-19 SACROI) to address the challenges that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerning the latter, its main results and impacts include drafting Resolution 1/2020, Pandemic and Human Rights in the Americas, which made 85 recommendations to states in the region; issuing press releases on the situation of human rights in the context of the pandemic, focusing on specific countries and themes; drafting newsletters; and holding webinars, social forums, and bilateral talks with states.

The IACHR also refined its definition of various aspects of SACROI operations, including their make-up, methods, and effectiveness. In this context, and in line with an agenda built around analysis and impact strategies, the IACHR approved during the first half of 2020 the creation of operational groups for the SACROIs that are currently active. The IACHR further sought to promote operational coordination among those groups, to activate, articulate, and coordinate responses, demands, and activities by SACROIs under the authority of the Executive Secretariat. Several IACHR statements and strategies for action have been promoted based on these coordinated operations by the SACROIs.

P8: Integrated Information Analysis and Management Platform (IIAMP)

The IACHR has continued to work to build this platform. There is currently a piece of software in place that enables data classification according to different criteria—whether thematic, geographical, or structural—as well as data integration, to facilitate efforts to coordinate the work of different units. This is the main information management tool used by the Monitoring and Technical Cooperation Units and the Special Rapporteurships. Through an integrated use of information, the IACHR seeks to ensure it can make timely strategic decisions and use data appropriately when drafting its reports.

Further, in the context of this integrated information platform, the IACHR presents the results of its assessments using periodically updated screens on the outlook and analysis of human rights in the Americas. During the first half of 2020, the IACHR presented its analysis of the situation of human rights in Cuba, the situation of human rights defenders and social leaders in Colombia, and the IACHR’s own visit to the Venezuelan border.

P9: Expanded Training and Promotion Program on Thought and Culture in Human Rights

Seven training activities were held in the first half of 2020. These included the fourth International Course on Public Policies on Human Rights, which the IACHR organized in partnership with the Mercosur Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights (IPPDH). Some 70 people participated in the in-person stage of the course, which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between February 10 and 14, 2020. The multiple activities seeking to strengthen and promote human rights among Nicaraguan civil society included five training activities on transitional justice, which were attended by more than 100 people. In the first half of the year, the IACHR organized or was invited to participate in 49 outreach activities to raise awareness of IASHR standards and improve capacity for action among public officials, social and academic human rights organizations, and individuals, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the work of the SACROI COVID-19, the IACHR held a series of ten webinars that aim to increase knowledge and strengthen the response capacities of those working at the Executive Secretariat, with a focus on improving knowledge of the pandemic and how it is affecting human rights. Activities to strengthen the capacities of states and civil society in the Americas also formed part of the work of the SACROI COVID-19, with a particular emphasis on applying inter-American human rights standards during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included a series of webinars for the general public on human rights challenges during pandemics. At the time of writing, a total of 16 webinars had been attended by over 7,000 people, with an average of 400 attendees per event.

As part of the IACHR’s permanent monitoring of human rights institutions, an ongoing survey of the measures that states have taken in response to the pandemic was published on the SACROI COVID-19 website in the form of a timeline and interactive map. This tool has made it possible for users to compare states’ responses throughout the region. There are similarities between the measures taken by different countries at different times, which allows visitors to the site to reflect on the design and implementation of effective policies to combat the health crisis. Specifically, eight of the variables included in the survey were implemented by all of the 35 states in the Americas. One noteworthy factor is that the data in question was gathered from open public sources and weighted according to whether it had been published in official or state-owned media.

P10: Program for Assistance and Collaboration with the Caribbean and Central America

With regard to activities for assisting and collaborating with the Caribbean, requests were made for guidance and cooperation with public organizations and academic bodies in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, with an emphasis on designing public policies that implement the inter-American human rights approach and standards.

As part of this program, the 175th Period of Sessions was held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, between March 2 and 8, 2020. As part of the Period of Sessions, the IACHR held an open meeting with over 70 members of Haitian and inter-American civil society organizations and groups.

The IACHR is also working to improve monitoring and relations with various stakeholders from the Caribbean, particularly by initiating collaboration with civil society organizations to give them a better understanding of the use of IACHR mechanisms to increase the visibility of the main human rights challenges facing the Caribbean. Notable achievements in this regard include the publication of a report on the human rights situation in Cuba and a seminar to mark the launch of this.

In response to the pandemic, the IACHR has been increasing dialogue with authorities from both regions and has already implemented this with the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala as part of the work of the SACROI COVID-19. It has also engaged in dialogue with civil society in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Panama through the IACHR’s social forums.

Finally, the IACHR is also developing two programs that seek to contribute to improving respect for and protection of human rights in the Northern Triangle of Central America. The Regional Program for Good Governance in Central America focuses on the rights of indigenous peoples, people of African descent, women, and human rights defenders. The focus of the Democracy and Human Rights Program is labor rights, migration, internal displacement, and transitional justice.

P11: Technical Cooperation Program on Institutional Matters and Public Policies with a Human Rights Focus

Activities were organized in the first half of 2020 to expand and strengthen relations with OAS member states and to facilitate technical assistance and cooperation around human rights for OAS political bodies and state authorities that request it. The IACHR made eight presentations to OAS political bodies in the first half of 2020.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IACHR continued the active role it established in 2019 by adapting rapidly to the new state of affairs and providing technical inputs for member states’ decisions before the OAS political bodies. It should also be noted that COVID-19 has posed challenges but has  also brought opportunities for collaboration and dialogue between the IACHR and member states, causing some priorities to change and some new lines of work to be added. The meetings held in April with groups from various countries to discuss the pandemic were particularly productive. Bearing in mind the importance of maintaining a channel of dialogue and obtaining precise information on the measures adopted by states during the pandemic, the IACHR has sought to deepen that dialogue through bilateral meetings that addressed the human rights measures and concerns that have arisen in response to the pandemic. To that end, it is held seven meetings with the national authorities of Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Paraguay.

Another noteworthy achievement is that Panama and the Dominican Republic began using the IACHR’s petition and case system portal, which should further contribute to improving transparency and reducing procedural delays.

States have expressed continued interest in reviewing the portfolio of petitions, cases, and precautionary measures. In the first half of 2020, a total of eight meetings were held with the following states: Argentina (on three occasions), Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Panama. This is twice the number held during the same period last year.

The IACHR currently has 71 cooperation agreements signed with various entities through its technical cooperation mechanism. It made progress in this area by designing technical assistance proposals to implement its cooperation agreement with the Colombian state. In the first half of the year, it also made progress on providing technical support to different government institutions from Argentina, Ecuador, and Guatemala on memory, truth, and justice, mechanisms for protecting human rights defenders, support for implementing public human rights policies, and mechanisms for access to rights for vulnerable groups that have historically suffered discrimination.

The IACHR also made progress toward strengthening collaboration with the region’s national human rights institutions (NHRIs). To this end, a high-level webinar on NHRI responses to the COVID-19 pandemic took place on May 13 to publicize the work of these institutions and the challenges around promoting and protecting human rights in this context. Progress is also made toward signing a cooperation agreement with the Ombud’s Office of Ecuador.

The IACHR emphasized that it was ready and willing to continue providing technical assistance to strengthen institutions and help draft, implement, and evaluate public policies seeking to guarantee and promote the exercise of human rights in the Americas based on inter-American standards.

P12: Program to Foster Social Participation and Build Capacities for Action Among Organizations and Networks of Social and Academic Stakeholders to Defend Human Rights

In the first half of 2020, the IACHR continued to expand and intensify the role that civil society played in all of its activities, including public hearings; open, bilateral, and working meetings; social forums; and online seminars. Civil society played a noteworthy role in the public hearings, promotional activities, and consultations that were held during the 176th Period of Sessions, which took place in Haiti, and the meetings held with civil society during the on-site visits to Chile and the Colombian–Venezuelan border. Other noteworthy achievements include initiatives to maintain and expand channels of dialogue with society during the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly the social forums with civil society organizations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, and the United States, and the fact that representatives from organizations from around the region participated in the online seminars and presentations of country and thematic reports that took place in the first half of 2020. Finally, the launch of the Inter-American SIMORE meant that a new channel is now available for civil society to take part in the work of the IACHR—in this case, through monitoring its recommendations.

P13: Program for Cooperation and Coordination with the Universal Human Rights System and Other International Agencies

In 2020, the IACHR improved its collaboration with the United Nations human rights system on different fronts, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IACHR organized a series of technical and high-level political bilateral meetings. These included the meeting between the offices of the rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples; the meeting on human trafficking between the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; the meeting to exchange information between the IACHR Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights and the national focal points of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the meeting between the IACHR plenary and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

The IACHR participated for the second time in the high-level segment of the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions and its 43rd Council Session, which was postponed to June because of the COVID-19. The president of the IACHR, Commissioner Joel Hernández, also took part in the urgent debate on human rights violations prompted by racism, systemic racism, and police brutality against people of African descent, which was held on June 17.

Another visible outcome of this cooperation is the Joint Declaration of the Executive Secretary of the IACHR and the representatives of UN Human Rights in Colombia and South America and the UN Human Rights Mission in Bolivia, “Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Are ‘at grave risk’ from COVID-19, warn UN Human Rights and IACHR,” which was published on June 4.

On June 25, the IACHR and UNHCR organized a webinar entitled “Comparative Experiences on Internal Displacement / Latin American Regional Exchange Session: Regional Exchange on the Prevention of and Response to Internal Displacement.” A dialogue and meeting with the United Nations Office for the Prevention of Genocide were held to plan a joint workshop on migrants in Central America, and cooperation between the IACHR and the International Committee of the Red Cross increased following a meeting between the two organizations.

P14: Program for Articulation and Complementarity with Regional Systems and Subregional Human Rights Mechanisms

The pandemic has posed new challenges to the various regional and subregional human rights bodies in the Americas, which has prompted the need for plans to be adapted and reprioritized. Despite this, cooperation and dialogue have resumed with the African Commission on Human Rights, the Arab Commission on Human Rights, and the European Court of Human Rights. The IACHR also continues to exchange information with the Mercosur Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights. As a result, a seminar on the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is being planned for the beginning of the second half of 2020.

On April 17, the president of the IACHR, Commissioner Joel Hernández, met with the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, to discuss the pandemic and human rights and to share information and experiences regarding the outlook in their respective regions and the actions that the two bodies have taken.

P15: Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas (in Partnership with OHCHR)

As part of the joint protection mechanism operated by the IACHR and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), several meetings took place in the first half of the year between the IACHR, the OHCHR Geneva office, and the OHCH regional offices to discuss joint activities. As a result of these meetings, an online technical meeting of the joint mechanism and the national protection mechanisms of Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico was held, which was also attended by COPREDEH Guatemala. Those at the meeting discussed the progress these mechanisms have made in protecting human rights defenders during the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges they are facing.

P16: Program for the Universalization of the IASHR and Institutional Cooperation with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

During the COVID-19 pandemic, both the IACHR and the IA Court have held online seminars to promote human rights in the Americas. As part of the IACHR’s series of webinars on challenges to human rights during the pandemic, the vice president of the IA Court, Judge Patricio Pazmiño, participated in a webinar entitled The Right to Health from the Perspective of Indivisibility and Interdependence, which took place on May 15, 2020. As part of the IA Court’s Inter-American Conference Cycle, the special rapporteur on ESCERs took part in a webinar entitled “The Economic and Social Impacts of COVID-19. Challenges to Promoting the Enjoyment and Effective Protection of Human Rights,” which took place on June 12, 2020. Commissioner Julissa Mantilla, the rapporteur on the rights of older people, took part in the online meeting of experts organized by the IA Court on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups, which took place on June 26, 2020.

P17: Management and Institutional Development Program

The IACHR has continued to expand its public presence in the region by holding periods of sessions outside its headquarters. In March 2020, it held its 175th Period of Sessions in Haiti, with the support of the state, and facilitated encounters between civil society and state authorities. The IACHR was grateful for the Haitian state’s invitation to hold the 175th Period of Sessions in Port-au-Prince between March 2 and 8, 2020, and for the hospitality and logistical support it provided. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has currently made it impossible to hold in-person sessions, the IACHR has been increasing its online channels of dialogue with states and civil society organizations throughout the region.

With regard to the management of human resources, in January 2020, the IACHR published a call for applications for the position of Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The IACHR selected ten finalists for the position at its internal session on April 29, 2020. In accordance with article 15.4 of the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure, there then followed a period in which observations on the finalists could be submitted by OAS member states and civil society, which ended on June 15, 2020. On September 15, the IACHR will announce the new head of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (OSRFE). The chosen candidate will take up the position on October 6, 2020. In January 2020, the IACHR decided to renew the mandate of its Executive Secretary, Paulo Abrão, for a further four years. On February 19, 2020, the IACHR also decided to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights (ESCERs), Soledad García Muñoz, from August 28, 2020, until August 28, 2023.

In response to the health emergency that has been sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IACHR’s organizational structure and planning, management, and accountability processes have had to be strengthened to ensure that it remains efficient and effective while its staff are working remotely. The IACHR has sought to promote the well-being and mental health of employees and collaborators during these difficult times. Based on the ES/IACHR Care by Caring program, the GS/OAS Department of Human Resources launched its Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in May 2020. All OAS staff, including consultants, scholars, and interns, will have access to the EAP, as will members of their households. The benefits of the EAP include access to professional counselors who will provide specialist advice and support on a wide variety of topics, such as work/life balance, family problems, work- or home-related stress, mental health issues, and cultural adjustment.

Another achievement during this period was the continued increase in the diversity of nationalities among staff at the IACHR Executive Secretariat. In 2017, there were staff members from 18 different countries; by June 2020, this number had risen to 24.

Likewise, as part of the work of the Workplace Environment Committee, it was decided that the Subcommittee on Diversity would be reconvened to consider updating the proposal submitted by the previous subcommittee and expand the strategy to encourage diversity hiring beyond mere geographical representation, namely by seeking to contemplate ethnic/racial diversity and improve the representation of other groups that have historically been discriminated against.

The IACHR continued to strengthen its communications using a multiplatform strategy. To this end, it implemented various activities to raise awareness and publicize the information it has generated through five campaigns to grow the audience of its social media accounts, improve its media relations, ensure that its website is constantly up-to-date, and develop new multimedia sites. In the first six months of 2020, the IACHR successfully grew its communities of followers on all its social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, and Instagram), and now has over 1.2 million followers. It has the greatest reach on Twitter, where it has 615,000 followers, and its website has received over 1.9 million visits.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IACHR established the SACROI COVID-19 multimedia site, which contains important information on human rights during the pandemic and has been visited 7,200 times. Another new feature of the IACHR’s outreach work are the daily newsletters it publishes containing the main news stories and statistics on the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on media from around the Americas and countries’ official sites on the pandemic. It is also been releasing awareness-raising videos through the IACHR Channel, which is now a year old, as part of its outreach campaigns.

The figures show that the IACHR is now reaching significantly more people through its social media accounts and website, which shows that more and more people are interested in the different sorts of work that it engages in.

P18: Program of Technological Innovation Applied to Human Rights

Moving ahead with technological changes to support the needs of the IACHR and the Executive Secretariat, the use of remote working tools was planned and implemented, following functional specifications, to enable the IACHR’s teams to continue to operate smoothly. As a result, the IACHR has been able to continue its work and comply with internal and external processes despite the current circumstances.

We have researched new technologies and various configurations and uses for the series of internal and external meetings, training sessions, and/or online seminars that the IACHR has organized since the pandemic began. This includes the work of the SACROI COVID-19.

The Inter-American System for Monitoring and Evaluation of Human Rights (Inter-American SIMORE) was implemented, as was the electronic voting system for internal IACHR consultations (E-Vote). These advances aim to increase our productivity and provide constant support for human rights–related applications of technology.

To promote the integrity and transparency of the IACHR’s procedures and work through technology and automated management tools to improve decision-making, internalization processes, the systematization of manual processes for staff and to help victims, petitioners, and states, we have implemented automated systems for gathering information digitally, enabling us to receive online requests for hearings for the 176th Period of Sessions. Application systems were also implemented for the grants for following up on IACHR recommendations on the rights of LGBTI people and for receiving feedback on the finalists for the post of Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

In the first half of 2020, 1956 new accounts were opened within the Individual Petition System Portal.. Over 1,300 user queries submitted to the Individual Petition System Portal were answered.

P19: Financial Sustainability Plan

The OAS General Assembly approved a budget of $10,627,900 for the IACHR in 2020. This increase in the budget for 2020 marks the final stage in the process of doubling the budget for the regular fund that began after it was agreed on at the OAS General Assembly in Cancún in 2017. Thanks to the support received from member states, progress has been made toward doubling the IACHR budget, and although this has not yet been fully achieved, the increase has enabled the IACHR to continue to consolidate its administrative structure and expand its capacities.

In the second half of 2020, the Executive Secretariat will work with the member states and the OAS General Secretariat to present its budget program proposal for 2021.

The IACHR also continued implementing the various components of its financial sustainability plan, particularly the communications strategy and the improvements to accountability processes for donors.

In the first half of 2020, the IACHR Executive Secretariat drafted and submitted 18 or interim or final financial reports to the following 13 donors: UNHCR, ARCUS, Canada (2), Ecuador (2), Fondo Español (2), France, the Ford Foundation, the Netherlands, Ireland, Mexico, the United States (2), PADF (2 quarterly), and Switzerland. The Executive Secretariat also drafted 19 interim or final narrative reports for the following 13 donors: UNHCR, ARCUS, Canada, the European Commission, Fondo Español (4), France, the Ford Foundation, the Netherlands (2), Ireland (2), the Balearic Islands, the United States (2), PADF (2), and Switzerland.

The Executive Secretariat also drafted eight contingency plans for donors in light of the measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects were financed by Arcus, Canada, the European Commission, the United States/CSO, Fondo Español, PADF, the Foundation for the Americas/Wellspring, and Switzerland.

The ES/IACHR also continued to mobilize funds as part of the resource diversification strategy it is implementing in 2020 and 2021 through the ES/IACHR Resource Mobilization Committee, which has been operating online. In the first half of 2020, the IACHR’s Executive Secretariat drafted seven project proposals for funding to be submitted to donors: Bases for Transitional Justice in Nicaragua, presented to the PADF, with a budget of $260,000 (approved); Project to Strengthen the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons together with the Foundation for the Americas for Wellspring, with a budget of $450,000 (approved); Strengthening the International Protection of Migrants, Displaced People, and Refugees in Countries of Origin, Transit, Destination, and Return in the Americas for the UNHCR, with a budget of $80,000; Implementation of the Special Follow-Up Mechanism for Venezuela (MESEVE), presented to Canada and the Netherlands; Implementation of the Bolivia GIEI, presented at the donors’ conference on January 14, 2020; Proposal to Strengthen the IACHR’s Capacity to Protect Human Rights in Crisis Situations, presented to Canada; and the Proposal on COVID-19 and Human Rights, which is to be presented at the next online donors’ conference.

P20: User Support Center

By creating the User Support and Information Management Center, the IACHR has responded to a long-standing demand on the part of users for a specific section to handle their requests efficiently and satisfactorily. In response to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IACHR has stepped up its efforts to ensure that users continue to be assisted effectively. In the first half of 2020, the User Support and Information Management Center has responded to a total of 2,745 requests, 1,924 of which were submitted online and 821 by telephone. It is also held more than 30 in-person or online meetings with users to address various issues. The User Support Center has focused its efforts on providing guidance for users regarding tools that facilitate their access to the IACHR, such as its Individual Petition System Portal. Since the creation of the center, some 4,911 new users have signed up to the portal, 1,956 of whom did so in the first half of 2020. These achievements are proof of major progress toward making the IASHR more accessible and improving interactions between the IACHR and its users.

P21: Special Program to Follow Up On and Gage the Impact of IACHR Recommendations

In the first half of 2020, the IACHR continued to apply methodologies for following up on its recommendations to verify how far states are complying and internalizing the human rights commitments they have taken on and to analyze the impact of their action plans.

A central aspect of the monitoring agenda is the launch and implementation of the Inter-American SIMORE. This IT tool systematizes the recommendations that the IACHR issues through its different mechanisms and ensures that users can conduct targeted searches for these and submit information on compliance with recommendations. The Inter-American SIMORE is thus a major mechanism for accountability, transparency, and participation. It seeks to promote the democratization of monitoring processes by encouraging more stakeholders to participate in the Inter-American System of Human Rights. This major step forward was made possible by the support of the OAS General Assembly and continual collaboration with the state of Paraguay as part of the process of implementing the memorandum of understanding it signed with the IACHR in 2017.

As part of the monitoring work of the SACROI COVID-19, the IACHR included the recommendations that derive from Resolution No. 1/2020, Pandemics and Human Rights in the Americas in the Inter-American SIMORE and invited stakeholders in the IASHR to contribute to the process of following up on this resolution through the platform. The media and press coverage of Resolution 1/2020 was also included in the system, as were the various measures and resolutions referring to IACHR recommendations that have been adopted by the different authorities and branches of government in the region, including judicial bodies. The IACHR has also been providing support for civil society organizations in Argentina through the Social Forum that has been established for the country. These organizations are establishing a monitoring panel to monitor the recommendations of Resolution 1/2020.

In its 2019 Annual Report, the IACHR noted that significant progress had been made on compliance with 23 recommendations. Some four reparation measures had been fully complied with, substantial partial compliance was achieved for six reparation measures, and partial compliance for a further 13.

In the first half of 2020, the IACHR held six working meetings as part of its 175th Period of Sessions, which took place in Haiti. It is currently preparing to hold four working meetings as part of the 176th Period of Sessions. The IACHR held a portfolio meeting with the Mexican state to discuss progress and challenges around implementing its recommendations. The IACHR also sent 20 letters requesting information from member states and petitioners regarding cases for which merits reports have been issued. By doing so, the IACHR has made continual efforts to monitor compliance on all cases for which merits reports have been issued since 2000.

The IACHR has continued its efforts to consolidate and strengthen the operations of its special mechanisms for following up on recommendations and has achieved significant results in the first half of 2020. In this period, through its Special Technical Advisory Group for Honduras (MESAT), the IACHR made successfully coordinated with the Honduran Secretariat of Human Rights by organizing activities to introduce the features of the Inter-American SIMORE and provide technical and advisory services to improve the Honduran state’s capacity to follow up on the recommendations that were made in the report “The Human Rights Situation in Honduras,” which was published in 2019. Different areas of the IACHR continue to work with the government of Honduras to jointly coordinate the activities and products the state committed to in the mechanism. These include providing technical advice on public policies on children’s rights, human rights defenders, women’s rights, indigenous peoples, and Hondurans of African descent.

Through the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI), the IACHR has published a total of 13 press releases over the last six months and has included a report on the human rights situation in Nicaragua in Chapter IV.B of its 2019 Annual Report, which was published on April 6, 2020, in accordance with its Rules of Procedure.

This work has included sending three requests for information on the human rights situation in the country in the first half of 2020. During that time, MESENI has also obtained 91 testimonies from victims of human rights violations. These testimonies and the information gathered through monitoring have played a fundamental part in preparing reports and reporting on the grave situation the country is experiencing. In the first half of 2020, the IACHR has held weekly meetings with civil society to continue monitoring the situation in Nicaragua in real time. Through MESENI, the IACHR has organized 31 training sessions, which have had a direct impact on more than 640 people. In the first half of the year, despite the effects of the pandemic, six sessions took place and were attended by a total of 107 people.

In 2020, MESENI has continued to draw public attention to the human rights situation in Nicaragua through its social media accounts and the publication of 13 press releases. On February 27, 2020, the president of the IACHR, Commissioner Joel Hernández, presented the results of the IACHR’s monitoring, follow-up, and protection mechanisms, particularly MESENI, at a side event held during the 43rd Period of Sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which was attended by members of Nicaraguan civil society and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule. The May 4 session of the European Parliament and the June 23 session of the OAS Permanent Council both referred specifically to the IACHR’s work and mentioned the information that MESENI has gathered and systematized on the human rights crisis in Nicaragua.

To mark the second anniversary of the start of the human rights crisis in the country and other more recent events such as the Mothers of April March and the IACHR’s first visit to the country since the crisis began, the IACHR has issued press releases and shared written and audiovisual information through its social media accounts and the IACHR Channel.

Through the Mexican-based Technical Support Group (GAT), the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on the Ayotzinapa Case (MESA) took part in the sessions of the Commission for Truth and Access to Justice on the Ayotzinapa Case (COVAJ) and working meetings with the Special Unit for the Investigation and Litigation of the Ayotzinapa Affair and representatives of the victims. Their objective was to document progress on the search for and investigation into the disappearance of the 43 students from the Isidro Burgos Rural High School, as part of the process of following up on the provisions of precautionary measure PM/409/14. With regard to developing structural measures to ensure the nonrepetition of events, the GAT has taken part in meetings of the steering committee to create and implement the Extraordinary Forensic Identification Mechanism (MEIF) and in working sessions with the National Search Commission. The IACHR and the Mexican state are currently in the final stages of approving the new work plan for MESA/GAT to continue its work monitoring the provisions of the precautionary measure on the Ayotzinapa case.

At the request of the parents of the missing students, the IACHR has placed itself at the disposal of the Mexican state to re-establish the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI). To this end, through MESA, the IACHR and the Mexican state began the process of drafting an international agreement to re-establish the GIEI, working in collaboration with representatives of the students’ families. The international agreement to re-establish the GIEI was signed on May 6, 2020. The GIEI will provide technical assistance with the investigation into the Ayotzinapa case. This will include involvement in designing such plans, providing technical analysis and assistance with investigations, monitoring the implementation of the Agreement on Responses and Potential Reparation for Victims and Their Families, identifying patterns of torture, and analyzing guarantees of independence regarding the investigation.

Through the Special Follow-Up Mechanism for Venezuela (MESEVE), the IACHR has closely monitored the human rights situation in the country, making a major effort to reach out to victims and civil society organizations. MESEVE held more than 15 meetings with victims’ groups and civil society organizations. MESEVE’s many notable achievements include its efforts to raise awareness around the human rights situation in Venezuela. It has achieved this through various activities, including making an on-site visit to the Colombian–Venezuelan border, which was brought forward to February, and organizing a webinar to present the findings from this visit and 45 recommendations to the Venezuelan state. MESEVE’s communications strategy has included publishing at least 30 Twitter threads to attract attention to the predicaments of various social groups in different parts of Venezuela, and that of Venezuelans who have migrated in response to the crisis the country is experiencing. In the first half of the year, the IACHR has published 15 press releases on Venezuela, several of which provide information on precautionary measures that have been issued or extended.


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 and his team, and the entire team at the IACHR Executive Secretariat for their role in enabling the organization to reach the landmark achievements presented in this report despite the challenges of adapting the IACHR’s work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It wishes to thank the OAS member states for approving the third stage in the increase of the regular fund and hopes that this will be implemented over the course of 2020. It also wishes to thank the OAS member countries, observer states, and donors whose voluntary contributions in the first half of 2020 have played a decisive role in achieving the outcomes presented in this publication: Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Peru, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, the Justice Center of the Americas (JSCA), the Arcus Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, and Google. The IACHR’s work is dedicated 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.

No. 160/20