Press Release

IACHR Elects New Board

February 23, 2018

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Bogotá, Colombia - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) elected its new board. The board of officers is composed of Margarette May Macaulay as President, Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño as First Vice-President, and Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva as Second Vice-President. The election was held, in accordance with the IACHR Rules of Procedure, on the first day of the Commission’s first Period of Sessions of the year, February 22, 2018. The other members of the IACHR are Francisco Eguiguren Praeli, Joel Hernández García, Antonia Urrejola and Flávia Piovesan. The Executive Secretary is Paulo Abrão and the Assistant Executive Secretaries are Elizabeth Abi-Mershed and Maria Claudia Pulido. The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression is Edison Lanza, and the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights is Soledad García Muñoz.

The new President of the IACHR, Margarette May Macaulay, was elected Commissioner on June 16, 2015, by the OAS General Assembly, for a four-year term that runs from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2019. President Macaulay holds a bachelor of laws degree from the University of London and is currently an attorney in private practice. She serves as Mediator in the Supreme Court of Jamaica and as Associate Arbitrator, as well as serving as Notary Public. She served as a Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights from 2007 to 2012, contributing to the formulation of the Court’s Rules of Procedure. She is an honored member of the Gender Justice Legacy Wall of notable women’s rights advocates who have brought about important changes, which was launched in December 2017 at the United Nations in New York, during the Assembly of Ministers. She took part in the reform and drafting of laws in Jamaica and is well known as a strong proponent of and authority on women’s rights. She is a citizen of Jamaica.

Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, now First Vice-President, was elected on June 16, 2015, by the OAS General Assembly, for a four-year term that runs from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2019. She held office in Panama's judiciary: she was a Justice of the Supreme Court, of which she was vice-president; she also presided over the Chamber for Criminal Cases, and was a judge for the High Court on children and adolescent affairs. She participated in the Special Commission that proposed constitutional reforms in Panama in 2011, and on the Commission that elaborated the Code of Constitutional Procedures in 2016. She has a degree in Philosophy, Letters and Education, with a specialization in Pedagogy, as well as a degree in Law and Political Science. Her post-graduate studies are in gender, with a specialization in family and childhood, as well as constitutional affairs. She is an academic and a professor at the University of Panama, the Superior Judicial Institute and Panama's Judicial Authority. She collaborates with the Public Prosecutor's Office School with regards to the new criminal system and in the subject of juvenile criminal justice. She is a consultant on childhood, adolescence, women and family for international organizations. She was also an ad honorem consultant in the elaboration, debates and approval of important legislation on these matters for Panama's legislative authority. She is a citizen of Panama.

The new Second Vice-President, Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, was elected in May 2017 by the OAS General Assembly after the vacancy created by the resignation of Commissioner Enrique Gil Botero on March 9, 2017. His term will end on December 31, 2019. He holds a Doctorate in Law and Social Sciences from Colombia’s Universidad Libre, with a specialization in family law from that same institution, and has a doctorate in private law and personal and family law from the Universidad de Zaragoza. He was a magistrate of the Constitutional Court of Colombia, and served as its President. He also presided over the Special Monitoring Chamber for 8 years, which was created by the Constitutional Court to execute the structural sentence of protection of the rights of the displaced population due to the internal armed conflict. He is a university professor and author of essays, lectures and books on procedural and constitutional law. He is a citizen of Colombia.

The IACHR thanks Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren Praeli for his work as IACHR President for the last year.

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. 034/18