Paulo AbrĂ£o Paulo Abrão
Executive Secretary, August 2016 to August 2020

Paulo Abrão was the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) since August 16, 2016 to August 15, 2020. A Brazilian national, he has a PhD in Law, he was a law professor in Brazil and Spain, he was the Executive Secretary of the Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights of MERCOSUR and Chairman of Brasil’s Amnesty Commission, in charge of the policies on reparations and memory for the victims of the dictatorship. In the past he was Brazil’s Secretary of Justice, he was Chairman of the National Committee for Refugees and of the National Committee against Human Trafficking. He has professional experience in the management of public policies, as well as financial and budgetary administration. He has worked in the academic, non-governmental, governmental and international areas, coordinating plural and diverse working teams. He also has experience in fundraising and directing international cooperation projects in partnership with international organizations.

Emilio Alvarez Icaza Emilio Alvarez Icaza
Executive Secretary, August 2012 to August 2016

Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria was the Executive Secretary of the IACHR from August 16, 2012 to August 15, 2016. A Mexican national, Emilio Álvarez Icaza has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO-Mexico). In 1999 he was elected Counselor of the Electoral Institute of the Federal District; later, in 2001, he was elected President (Ombudsman) of the Commission of Human Rights of the Federal District (CDHDF), position he held until 2009. He has been professor of human rights in the Graduate Division of UNAM’s Law School, among other scholarly activities. He has been panelist and given conferences in more than 300 forums, seminars, and coloquia in Mexico, the United States, Europe and Latin America. He has published more than 80 articles in Mexico and other countries; and he is author of the book “To understand: Human Rights in Mexico.” In addition, he has participated in several civil society initiatives, including as Director General of the National Center for Social Communication (Cencos) and as cofounder of Civic Alliance, A.C. He has been an independent consultant and expert in issues relating to human rights, democracy, citizen participation, civil society and public policy, in Mexico and in international organizations. He has also participated in printed media, and in radio and TV programs. He has received more than 50 recognitions, awards and national and international distinctions. On January 15, 2016, Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria made public an open letter announcing his decision not to run for reelection. His mandate ended on August 15, 2016.

Santiago Canton Santiago Canton
Executive Secretary, August 2001 to June 2012

Santiago Canton was the Executive Secretary of the IACHR from August 1, 2001 to June 30, 2012. An Argentine citizen, he studied law at the University of Buenos Aires and earned a Master of International Law degree at American University in Washington, D.C. From 1998 to 2001 he was the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. From 1994 to 1998, he was Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a democratic development organization based in Washington, D.C. He also worked as Political Adviser to President Jimmy Carter on democratic development programs.

Jorge Enrique Taiana
Executive Secretary, March 1996 to July 2001

David J. Padilla
United States
Interim Executive Secretary, January to May 1996

Edith Márquez Rodríguez
Executive Secretary, May 1990 to February 1996

David J. Padilla
United States
Interim Executive Secretary, March to June 1990

Edmundo Vargas Carreño
Executive Secretary, September 1977 to March 1990

Charles D. Moyer
United States
Interim Executive Secretary, January to August 1977

Luis Reque
Executive Secretary, 1960 to June 1976