Press Release

IACHR Special Session in Peru Comes to a Close

July 7, 2017

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Lima, Peru—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held its 163rd special session in Lima on July 3-7, 2017, at the invitation of the Peruvian State. The IACHR thanks the State of Peru for its invitation to hold this session in the country and for the financial support that made it possible to do so. The Commission extends its appreciation to the civil society organizations that participated and to the Peruvian people for their hospitality and collaboration.

The 163rd special session began with an opening ceremony at the Javier Pérez de Cuéllar Diplomatic Academy, which included the participation of the President of the IACHR, Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren Praeli; the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Peru, María Soledad Pérez Tello; the President of the Peruvian Supreme Court, Duberlí Apolinar Rodríguez Tineo; and the Commissioners of the IACHR.

During the session, the IACHR examined draft thematic reports, analyzed requests for precautionary measures, and reviewed and approved reports on petitions and cases. The Commission held 13 working meetings: 2 on friendly settlements, 5 to monitor the status of agreements and recommendations, and 6 on precautionary measures. The IACHR also held 16 public hearings on human rights situations in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, México, and Venezuela, as well as two regional hearings. The hearings—held in a training center at the Superintendence of Banks and Insurance Companies—were well attended by the public and were followed by thousands of people throughout the region via live webcast. The inter-American human rights system is strengthened by the active participation of States, victims and their representatives, and civil society organizations. In this regard, the Commission regrets that the State of Ecuador did not participate in the two hearings to which it was convened.

During the hearings, the Commission received very troubling information concerning certain human rights situations, including the impact on children of the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, killings of women for gender-related reasons in Argentina, and the impact of extractive industries on the right to cultural identity of indigenous peoples in Ecuador. The Commission also received information on the right to housing in the Americas and the situation of the right to freedom of expression in Venezuela and Colombia, and continued its monitoring of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia. The Commission also held its second public hearing on the Special Follow-Up Mechanism to the Ayotzinapa case in Mexico.

On another matter, the IACHR selected Soledad García Muñoz as the first person to hold the position of Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights (ESCER). As reported in Press Release 90/17, she will take office on August 15, 2017, for a three-year period, which may be renewed once.

Furthermore, in wake of the ending of the three-year period for which Edison Lanza was elected Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression on october 2017, the Commission decided to renew his mandate for a new three-year period, in agreement with Article 15 of its Rules of Procedure.*

In fulfillment of its mandate to promote human rights in the region, the Commission held two academic events: a seminar on inter-American standards on equality and non-discrimination, an event cosponsored by three universities: the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Universidad Ruiz de Montoya, and Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, and a forum on “Current Challenges and Trends in Human Rights for Groups in Especially Vulnerable Situations. The Commission is pleased to note that these events were widely attended by students, academics, human rights defenders, and the general public—a sign of the Peruvian people’s enormous interest in expanding their understanding of the promotion and defense of human rights.

The Inter-American Commission also held meetings with various United Nations offices in Peru: the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In addition, the IACHR met with more than 60 civil society organizations from the region and from Peru.

“In the context of the IACHR’s strategy to have a larger presence in the region, it was especially valuable to have the Peruvian government’s invitation to make this special session possible,” said the IACHR President, Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren. “This session gave us the opportunity to draw closer to the users of the inter-American system who live in this part of the region and to hear the voices of State authorities, petitioners, and victims and their representatives.”  

The IACHR will hold two additional sessions this year. The 164th special session will take place in Mexico City, September 4-8, and the 165th regular session will be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, October 23-November 1, 2017.

The President of the IACHR is Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren, the First Vice-President is Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, and the Second Vice-President is Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño. In addition to this board of officers, the other members of the IACHR are Commissioners José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Paulo Vannuchi, James L. Cavallaro, and Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva. The Executive Secretary of the Commission is Paulo Abrão and the Assistant Executive Secretary is Elizabeth Abi-Mershed. The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression is Edison Lanza.

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 the respect for and defense of 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.


* This paragraph was added to this press release on July 11, 2017.

No. 092/17