Press Release

IACHR Announces Submission of Reform Proposals to Public Consultation

February 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) was able to significantly advance in the elaboration of its proposals for reforms to its Rules of Procedure, policies and practices, during a working meeting that took place in Costa Rica on February 7 to 8, 2013. By the end of this week, these reforms will be submitted to public consultation for a two-week period. The Commission plans to make a decision on this process in early March.

In Costa Rica, the plenary of the Commission held a meeting with the plenary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court HR), for the first time since March 2006. The members of the two organs of the Inter-American System of Human Rights (IASHR) held the meeting in an environment of deep understanding and dialogue, focusing their attention on the process underway to strengthen the IASHR. Among other topics, the IACHR discussed with the Court the next set of reforms to be implemented. The meeting of the IACHR and the Court was especially significant for the strengthening of the IASHR, will have positive results for victims, petitioners, States and the System in general.

The members of the IACHR and the Court highlighted the importance of holding a regular meeting of both institutions. In this encounter participated the IACHR Commissioners: José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Chair; Tracy Robinson, First Vice Chair; Felipe González, Second Vice Chair; Dinah Shelton, Rodrigo Escobar Gil, Rosa María Ortiz and Rose-Marie Belle Antoine; as well as the Court’s judges: Diego García-Sayán, President; Manuel E. Ventura Robles, Vice President; Humberto Sierra Porto; Eduardo Vio Grossi; Roberto de Figueiredo Caldas and Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor Poisot. They were accompanied by the Executive Secretaries of the Court, Pablo Saavedra Alessandri, and of the Commission, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, and the Deputy Executive Secretaries of the Court, Emilia Segares Rodríguez, and of the Commission, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero.

In a separate meeting, the IACHR was received by the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, in the Presidential House, in a meeting that also had the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Enrique Castillo. The plenary of the IACHR attended the meeting, accompanied by personnel of the Executive Secretariat.

The IACHR thanked the President for her message of recognition of the IACHR work and the support of the State of Costa Rica to the IASHR in the context of the current process of reforms of the Commission. In addition, the IACHR recognized the important role of Costa Rica in the strengthening process of the System, the Commission, and, in particular, of the Special Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression. The IACHR also recognized the fact that Costa Rica is one of the countries in the region that has ratified all the inter-American instruments of human rights.

The President and the IACHR also discussed the human rights agenda, both of the Americas and of Costa Rica, and agreed on follow-up mechanisms through the specialized Rapporteurships of the IACHR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica.

At the conclusion of the IACHR special meeting, which took place in the headquarters of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, the IACHR thanked the Institute for its hospitality, and extendes a special recognition for its work to promote human rights and the Inter-American system.

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. 10/13