Freedom of Expression

Special Rapporteur

Edison Lanza

Pedro Vaca Villarreal
Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

Pedro Vaca Villarreal is the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) since October 6th, 2020. He is a Colombian lawyer from Universidad Nacional of Colombia. He has a Master's degree in Law and a Specialization in Constitutional Law, with more than 12 years of professional experience in the field of human rights. He has litigated on behalf of victims of serious violations of freedom of expression. From 2013 to 2020, he served as Executive Director of the Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP) in Colombia. He has extensive experience in organizational management, inter-sectoral dialogue, and articulation of teams and networks. He currently is also a professor for the Master's Program in Journalism at Universidad de los Andes. He has led regional processes in defense of freedom of expression from positions of responsibility. He was a member of the Advisory Network of the Media Freedom Coalition and of the Global Council of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). Was part of the UNESCO team for the training of judges in Bolivia, Mexico and Colombia. He was a consultant to Freedom House for the Colombia chapter of the global report on internet freedom and co-founded the Presunto Podcast.


Former Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression

Edison Lanza, 2014-2020


Catalina Botero

Edison Lanza Robato was the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during the period October 6, 2014 to October 5, 2020.

Edison Lanza is an A Uruguayan lawyer, he graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of the Republic in 1997. The Rapporteur has also served as a journalist in several media outlets; leaded emblematic cases related to the right of freedom of expression before the Inter-American Human Rights System and integrated, directed and founded several non-governmental organizations which defend the right to freedom of expression. He pursued graduate studies on freedom of speech and criminal law at the University of the Republic of Uruguay, and is a PhD candidate in the regulatory process of audiovisual media in the region at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires. Lanza has co-founded and presided the Center for Archives and Access to Public Information, CAInfo, co-founded the Media and Society Group, has been a member of the Committee on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in the Regional Alliance for Freedom of Expression and Information, and of the Working Group on the Inter-American System of Human Rights of the OAS IFEX-ALC alliance in defense of freedom of expression.

He has supported the drafting of bills and edited policy initiatives related to access to public information, right of reply and correction, freedom of expression and media outlets, among others.

Catalina Botero, 2008-2014


Catalina Botero

Catalina Botero Marino was the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during the period October 6, 2008 to October 5, 2014.

Catalina Botero is a Colombian attorney who worked as Acting Magistrate and Auxiliary Magistrate in the Constitutional Court of Colombia for 8 years. Previously she has held a number of posts, including: adviser for the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation; National Director of the Office for the Promotion of Human Rights in the Office of the People’s Defender of Colombia, Director of the Consultancy for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law at the Social Foundation, and professor and researcher at the Law School of the Universidad de los Andes and other national and international universities. She is the author of several books and essays published in different countries on freedom of expression, constitutional law, international criminal law and transitional justice.

She received her law degree in 1988 at the Universidad de los Andes and did postgraduate studies there, as well as in Madrid, Spain, at Universidad Complutense, Universidad Carlos III, and the Center for Constitutional Studies.

Ignacio Álvarez, 2006-2008


Ignacio Álvarez

Ignacio J. Álvarez was Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) from March 2006 to March 2008. He is a Venezuelan and U.S. citizen, with a law degree from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Venezuela, a Specialist in Procedural Law degree from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and a Master in International Law (LLM) from American University in Washington, D.C. He worked at the IACHR as a lawyer specializing on human rights from 1998 until 2006. He has authored several articles on human rights published in Spanish, English and Portuguese. Prior to joining the IACHR, he worked from 1986 to 1996 at the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie in Caracas and at the law firm of Álvarez, Rivas & Associates in Caracas. Currently, he practices as the founding member of the law firm of Alvarez Martinez Law Firm LLC in Washington, D.C. and forms part of the Steering Committee of the International Law Section of the District of Columbia Bar.


Eduardo Bertoni, 2002-2005


Eduardo Bertoni

Mr. Bertoni is an Argentine lawyer and a graduate Phd of the University of Buenos Aires. He has done graduate studies at Columbia University School of Law and is a former fellow of the Human Rights Institute there. He has also been appointed Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the School of Law of Universidad de Buenos Aires, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on freedom of expression and criminal law. Before taking on office at the OAS, he has been a legal advisor for several nongovernmental organizations in his country, among them “Asociación Periodistas”, and he was a member at the “Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales” (CELS), “Instituto de Estudios Comparado en Ciencias Penales y Sociales” (INECIP) and “Foro para la Reconstrucción Institucional.” He has also worked as an advisor to the Department of Justice and Human Rights in Argentina. Mr. Bertoni has written several publications on the right to freedom of expression, he has given lectures and conferences in several countries. Eduardo Bertoni was the Executive Director of the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) until May, 2006. Then, He was the Director of Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information -CELE.


Santiago Canton, 1998 - 2001


Santiago Canton

From 1998 to 2001 Santiago Canton the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. 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 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. After finished his period as a Special Rapporteur he was elected as Executive Secretary of the IACHR where worked from August 2001 until June 30, 2012. Curently Mr Canton is Executive Director of Partners for Human Rights at Robert F. Kenndy Center for Justice and also is Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, The Georgetown University Law Center and the Universidad de Buenos Aires.