Press Release

IACHR selects Tania Reneaum Panszi for Executive Secretary

May 4, 2021

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Washington, D.C.- On May 4, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) selected Tania Reneaum Panszi for the position of Executive Secretary and, in accordance with the terms of Article 11 of its Rules of Procedure, forwarded her name to the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who confirmed the selection and appointed her to the post for four years.

The selection of Tania Reneaum Panszi, a Mexican national, resulted from a broad, open, transparent, and participatory process. The elected Executive Secretary holds a Ph.D. in Law from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. She has two Master's Degrees, the first, an International Master's Degree in Criminal Law and Comparative Social Problems from the University of Barcelona. The second is an Official Master's Degree in Legal Sciences from Pompeu Fabra University. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Legal Sciences from the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas of El Salvador. She has more than 23 years of professional experience working for human rights in academia and civil society, government, and international organizations. She has extensive knowledge of the instruments of the Inter-American System. She is currently the Executive Director of Amnesty International in Mexico. In talent and financial resource management, she has led numerous teams in various organizations and has carried out successful fundraising strategies. Her resume submitted for this competition is available here.

For its part, the plenary of the Inter-American Commission expresses its special appreciation to María Claudia Pulido, who took over as Interim Executive Secretary last August and has been exercising the function with exceptional leadership, standing out for her performance with the highest standards of quality, efficiency, integrity and dignity, and with a firm commitment to the institutionality and human rights in the region; through which she gave exemplary continuity to the process of institutional transformation that was entrusted to her at the time of assuming these functions. This continuity has given sustainability to the process of consolidating and modernizing the structure of the Secretariat, strengthening access to more effective and accessible inter-American justice for victims of human rights violations in the Americas, integrated and timely monitoring, strengthening cooperation with States and civil society, and more structured follow-up to its recommendations. The tenure of Acting Executive Secretary María Claudia Pulido has also led to unprecedented results for the case system, precautionary measures, a timely response to major crises in the region, as well as accompanying efforts to improve working conditions within the Commission, responding to the needs of the Commission, which has undoubtedly strengthened the inter-American human rights system.

Following the internal procedure established in Article 11 of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, on September 25, 2020, a call for applications was published to select the person who would occupy the position from June 2021 to June 2025, which may be renewed once for another four years. 92 applications were received, from which pre-finalists were selected following the criteria established in the abovementioned Article of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, that is the Executive Secretary shall be a person of independence and high moral standing, with experience and recognized expertise in the field of human rights. On December 14, 2020, the Commission announced the names of the 10 finalists with their respective resumes. The IACHR received comments on the nominations by January 22, 2021, and subsequently, on February 2, 2021, announced the list of 5 finalists moving on to the interview round. The IACHR thanks those who participated in this process by sending 460 letters and comments on the nominations.

On April 30, the Commission held a roundtable with the five finalists and the team of its Executive Secretariat, and then on April 3, the full Commission interviewed each of them individually. Based on the weighting of the resumes, the letters of presentation, the comments received on the candidacies and the interviews conducted, the IACHR decided to select Tania Reneaum Panszi for the position. The IACHR thanks all the finalists for their participation in this process and recognizes their high professional level, high moral authority, and recognized and their important human rights trajectory.

The Commission also appreciates that, during this process, the Member States, the Secretary General and the political bodies of the OAS, as well as sectors of civil society, have respected the principle of autonomy and independence of the Inter-American Commission in the adoption of this decision, an essential characteristic for the full fulfillment of the high mission entrusted to it.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 115/21