Reform Process 2013

Public consultation on the draft Reforms of the Rules of Procedure, policies and practices of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

February of 2013

Revised Version (posted February 21, 2013)

From February 15 to March 1, 2013, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will receive observations and comments on the integral process of reform that it intends to effectuate during the first semester of 2013.

This process of reform stems from different sources.  The Commission is convinced that some of its procedural institutions require a substantial review with the objective of furthering compliance with their useful purpose and the development of its mandate.  This understanding has been facilitated, in a very meaningful manner, by the observations and recommendations that all actors in the System have presented throughout the last 18 months.

In particular, on June 29, 2011, the Permanent Council of the Organization created a Special Working Group to Reflect on the Workings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with a view to strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System. On December 13, 2011 the Group adopted its Report and on January 25, 2012 the Report was approved by the Permanent Council.  Additionally, many civil society organizations have expressed their opinion on the recommendations issued. For instance, on January 27, 2012, after the adoption of the recommendations of the Special Working Group by the Permanent Council, more than 90 human rights organizations signed a press release expressing their opinion on the recommendations and the need to open a space of dialogue for discussing them. On March 28, 2012, the International Coalition of Human Rights Organizations in the Americas, in representation of more than 700 organizations of the civil society, also expressed its opinion over some of the recommendations during a public hearing before the Commission.  During the last year, hundreds of organizations have participated in hearings and fora held in more than a dozen countries in the hemisphere.  The Commission has maintained a permanent dialogue with the Permanent Council of the Organization and its Member and Observer States.

The instant proposal for the reform of the Rules, the policies and the practices of the Commission are the result of careful consideration of all comments received, and careful analysis of the functioning of the Commission and the Inter-American Human Rights System, on the basis of three fundamental principles.

  1. Principle of integral consideration.  The process of reform has included the consideration of each and every recommendation presented to the Commission;
  2. Principle of strengthening the useful purpose of the Commission.  The Commission has analyzed all recommendations through a sole test, through careful and detailed consideration of the foreseeable result of their implementation.  When this objective, technical and independent analysis has led the Commission to conclude that the recommended measure will strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights, the Commission has included the measure in its reform process and has planned its full implementation; and
  3. Principle of transparency.  The Commission has sent all relevant information to all actors in the System in an opportune and complete manner, and underlines its intention to continue doing so. 

The reform program is divided in three tools: a draft reform of the Rules, a plan of possible reforms to the Strategic Plan of the Commission, and a program of change in practices.  Through these, the Commission intends to effectuate its program of reform through the most adequate tools to ensure full impact. 

This consultation will be a new step in a process.  When it concludes, the Commission will consider and carefully study all observations received, it will deliberate and adopt its definite program of reform, and will publish it along with its justification.
Washington, DC
February 15, 2013


2013 Consultation Modules