Press Release


OAS Permanent Council Closes Second Stage of the Process of Strengthening the Inter-American System of Human Rights

  December 19, 2012

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today received a compilation, prepared by the Chair of the Council, of the proposals made by Member States, civil society organizations and individuals on the strengthening of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS), which formally ended the second phase of the process.

The Chair of the Permanent Council and Representative of Mexico to the OAS, Joel Hernández, summarized the process of strengthening the IAHRS to date, recalling that the Work Plan divided the work into four stages: receipt of written proposals; the review and discussion of proposals; the preparation of a report for consideration of the General Assembly; and the holding of a special session of the General Assembly on the subject in March 2013.

With today's introduction of the compilation of proposals, the Chair of the Council said the second stage, which took place during November and December, has come to an end. During this period, six special meetings of the Permanent Council were held (November 7, November 26, November 30, December 5, December 7 and December 11) for Member States and civil society to submit their ideas on the process.

Ambassador Hernández further suggested that "in the next stage, the Permanent Council should prepare a draft resolution for the General Assembly, which would contain as an annex the measures implementing the recommendations of the Working Group. " The Mexican representative emphasized that the compilation presented today does not reflect any agreements, given that "the proposals presented have yet to be discussed."

The Secretary General of the Organization, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the importance of meeting the deadlines, especially in relation to the holding of a special meeting of the General Assembly in March, and that a delay would create "uncertainty" among users of the system. "For me," said the OAS leader, "strengthening means first making the system as general and universal as possible, so that all our states participate fully in it. And it also means, in particular, maintaining and strengthening the system´s autonomy and independence," features that make it one of the"most important” elements of the OAS. "I hope the result of this process is to strengthen the system in terms of universality, autonomy, and the resources from which it operates," concluded Secretary General Insulza.

The Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Emilio Álvarez Icaza, also took part in the meeting and announced that "the Commission has decided to make a new presentation of its proposals" in late January 2013. After the presentation, said Executive Secretary Álvarez Icaza, "a consultation period will open, which will run through the second week of February, so we can get specific feedback on the Commission's proposals."

The Permanent Representatives of the United States, Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Haiti, Peru, Nicaragua, Uruguay and El Salvador all took part in the discussion.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Reference: E-472/12