IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presents the January–June 2023 Assessment Report on the results of the first six months of implementation of its Strategic Plan 2023–2027.
"This Strategic Plan is a roadmap reflecting institutional efforts that prioritize individuals, in constant multilevel communication between the IACHR and the most relevant stakeholders in the Americas—particularly States and civil society—to build a fairer region with more respect for human rights," said IACHR President Margarette May Macaulay.
The Strategic Plan 2023–2027 was developed with a results-management focus and an emphasis on the theory of change, and it draws on a profound understanding of the regional context, of priority topics and issues in the Americas, and of the strengths and challenges of the relevant institutions. Based on this approach and on its own mandate, the IACHR established that its ultimate long-term goal needed to be the greatest possible enjoyment of all human rights for all individuals in the Americas.
The Commission therefore adopted 34 programs with which it will seek to attain 9 short-term strategic objectives. These short-term objectives will in turn promote medium-term changes, through well-coordinated work with States, to attain the desired end result.
Preliminary results over these six months indicate that 1,194 petitions were received and 84% of them were assessed. Of these petitions, proceedings were initiated in 123, while 67 led to requests for information from the parties and 818 were rejected. A total of 97 admissibility reports were drafted, of which 86 were approved. Of the 53 merits reports that were drafted, 19 were submitted to the Commission, which approved 8 of them.
The IACHR attained 8 new friendly settlement agreements, out of 25 that were pursued. States took 82 measures concerning 61 cases that were in transition, and these measures enabled progress toward attaining compliance with the recommendations made in merits reports. Applications concerning 11 cases were filed before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Commission also launched the cycle Reflections and Experiences to Ensure Timely Justice at the IACHR, which seeks to gather comparative data to support the adoption of measures to enable faster access to inter-American justice.
The IACHR sought to conduct preliminary assessments of all requests for precautionary measures in real time, and succeeded in doing this in 80% of the 495 requests for precautionary measures that were received. A total of 22 precautionary measures were granted to protect more than 200 specific individuals, including journalists and rights defenders, as well as 12,000 members of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant communities.
The IACHR further issued 2 follow-up precautionary measures concerning Cuba and Honduras and conducted a visit to Brazil and another activity in the context of the Commission's on-site visit to Honduras to ensure compliance with precautionary measures that had been issued previously. Further, 4 temporary protection measures and 3 extensions of precautionary measures were requested from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to protect 24 individuals and 2 groups, in Haiti, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
The IACHR launched the second joint mechanism to monitor recommendations made to Colombia and conducted 2 working visits to Bolivia and Chile to monitor similar mechanisms that had been established there in 2022. The Commission further pursued multilevel talks with a broad agenda with States; staged 14 presentations before political institutions, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), and the OAS General Assembly, to inform States and the international community about the situation of human rights in Peru and Haiti; and made contributions to the resolution concerning Nicaragua that was approved during the 53rd Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly.
The IACHR notes improvements in preventive monitoring, using risk analysis and information management tools. To enforce adequate management and responses to crises and human rights issues, the IACHR issued 77 press releases and held 16 public hearings, which served to alert States and the international community about situations that might entail rights violations or rollbacks, as well as affect democratic institutions (although the Commission also acknowledged instances of progress made concerning human rights).
These alerts and concerns are also reflected in the Annual Report, in chapters IVA and IVB. The IACHR would like to highlight the timely response strategy adopted in the human rights crisis in Peru, involving on-site meetings, 139 testimonies, and the publication of a report with 36 recommendations in the context of social protests. To address the situation in Nicaragua, 65 testimonies were heard concerning the release from prison and forced expatriation of 222 individuals, while concrete contributions were made to the relevant United Nations working group.
In the context of a focus on the situation in the Caribbean, 2 technical cooperation visits were conducted, to Suriname and Saint Lucia, as well as 10 meetings with national and regional human rights institutions. These events addressed the challenges concerning governance and its structural links to political instability and insufficient coordination among institutions in a report about Haiti.
These efforts led to a 96.2% increase in IACHR website traffic from the Caribbean (up 3,712 visits compared to 2022). A further 2 on-site visits were conducted, to Bolivia and Honduras, and enabled the Commission to identify, flag, and discuss structural human rights issues and to make applicable recommendations. Both visits enabled the IACHR to monitor issues that were being addressed at the petition and case system and the precautionary measure mechanism, as well as priority issues that were being monitored by the Commission's Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression and Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights.
The IACHR focused on the publication of 6 thematic reports with recommendations about the rights of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant communities, older persons, women who are deprived of liberty, and rights defenders, as well as the impact of organized crime on population groups like women and girls in Central America. The Commission's Special Rapporteurships made specific contributions to these recommendations. By June 2023, 115 training and promotion sessions had been held, with a total of 2,222 participants who were officials of various States in the Americas or representatives of civil society.
The IACHR prioritized coordination with international human rights organizations, in order to develop strategic alliances with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the European Parliament. Some 25 financial reports were drafted, along with 20 project execution reports submitted to donors and 7 staff reports issued to ensure accountability and institutional transparency.
Over the first six months, 28,000 emails were received, along with more than 1,500 petitions and requests for precautionary measures. Software for the benefit of persons with disabilities was integrated into the Commission's website. The website received more than 2.5 million unique visitors to access information about various institutional mechanisms.
The launch of the Co-Labora program enables the team at the Executive Secretariat to work collectively to develop an institutional culture that makes it more effective and efficient and values the individuals involved.
"The IACHR Strategic Plan holds an inclusive, intersectional, and differentiated vision and takes into consideration the contexts and voices of various stakeholders in the Americas. Over the first six months of its implementation, we have seen concrete results and the effects of these results on change, focused on individuals as beneficiaries and participants in this process," said IACHR Executive Secretary Tania Reneaum Panszi.
The IACHR thanks the Member States, Observers, and Donors whose contributions are instrumental to achieve results: Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the European Commission, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Spain, Switzerland, the United States, the Arcus Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Google, the Pan American Development Foundation, the O'Neill Institute at Georgetown University, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund.
The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.