Press Release

IACHR Received Delegation from State of Ecuador

March 29, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which is holding its 144th session, met today at its headquarters with a delegation from the government of Ecuador. The delegation included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ricardo Patiño; the State Attorney General, Diego García; the Minister of Justice, Human Rights, and Worship, Johana Pesántez; the National Communications Secretary, Fernando Alvarado; and other high-level officials.

The meeting was requested by the government of Ecuador in order to "express its conceptual concerns and concerns regarding Commission procedures with respect to the adoption of precautionary measures and the processing of individual petitions in the inter-American system." In a letter dated March 19, the Commission granted a private meeting for March 29 and specified that "the meeting will be held to discuss procedures related to precautionary measures and petitions and cases, without reference to any specific matter."

After learning that a press conference had been convened with the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister under the title "Government of Ecuador will state its position to the IACHR on the request for precautionary measures in the case of El Universo," Commission Chair José de Jesús Orozco reminded the delegation that the meeting had been requested solely to discuss matters of a general nature. He explained that the IACHR could not take into account any reference made to pending matters without the presence of the other party, as this would violate the principle of procedural equality between the parties.

The Inter-American Commission regrets that in spite of this, the representatives of the State opted to make references to the precautionary measure and case involving the newspaper El Universo (Petition 1436/11 and PM 406/11). It also informs the public, just as it alerted the State delegation, that these references will not be taken into account in evaluating particular petitions or cases, and that they have not and will not be recorded in the Commission's files. 

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 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. 35/12