Press Release

IACHR and Supreme Court of Mexico Sign Cooperation Agreement

October 24, 2011

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico signed a cooperation agreement which lays the groundwork to strengthen relations between the two institutions, deepen the understanding of the law, promote a legal culture that improves the way justice is delivered, and advance training and outreach on human rights.

The signing ceremony, which took place at IACHR headquarters on October 14, 2011, included the participation of Minister Juan N. Silva Meza, President of the Supreme Court of Justice of the United Mexican States; Commissioner Dinah Shelton, Chair of the IACHR; and Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, the Commission's First Vice-Chair.

"The ceremony that brings us here today is very symbolic and significant," IACHR Chair Dinah Shelton said at the signing ceremony. "It is a recognition of the need to join forces to work toward greater access to justice for anyone who needs it, and it is also a recognition of the value of coordination and communication among those who are pursuing the same objective. I am convinced that this is just the beginning of a great collaboration, and I am deeply honored to be part of this moment."

For his part, the President of Mexico's Supreme Court, Minister Juan Silva Meza, talked about the impact in his country of decisions of the inter-American human rights system, particularly the Rosendo Radilla case.

"In the last three months, the country has not only seen its highest court address the Radilla case, but it has also seen two far-reaching constitutional reforms that have changed the face of the Mexican State and, as a result, the system for delivering justice at the federal level," Silva Meza said. "The new Mexican constitutional system has placed individuals' human rights at the center of its existence," he added.

The President of the Mexican Supreme Court said that "the desire to sign this bilateral agreement responds to the need to bring all personnel in the federal justice system up to date and provide ongoing training on the sources of international human rights law, as well as on the workings of the inter-American human rights system."

For his part, IACHR First Vice-Chair José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez reiterated the Inter-American Commission's commitment to continue carrying out every effort to fulfill the mandate it has received from the States, to protect and provide recourse to anyone who has been a victim of human rights violations.

"I welcome the signing of inter-institutional agreements to join coordination and collaboration efforts in the defense of human rights, for the sake of justice and human dignity, the driving force and raison d'être of the community that makes up the Organization of American States," he added.

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 human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. 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. 112/11