Press Release

IACHR Adopts Resolution to Strengthen and Expand Friendly Settlement Procedure

April 21, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 03/20 to streamline and promote friendly settlement processes, providing overall guidelines and principles applicable to all efforts to negotiate and implement friendly settlement agreements.

Among other measures taken through this Resolution, the Commission adopted a framework to prevent delays in processes to negotiate friendly settlements, setting deadlines for the actions of all parties while respecting the voluntary and flexible nature of the process. The Resolution also restricts excessive use of unjustified requests for extensions and adopts a specific schedule to ensure progress while negotiating and implementing an agreement. The Resolution further spells out objective criteria to assess a course of action in cases brought before the friendly settlement mechanism and to approve friendly settlement agreements.

The adoption of Resolution 03/20 by the IACHR entails major progress in the implementation of the Commission’s Program to Expand the Use of Friendly Settlements, which is part of its Strategic Plan 2017–2021. This Resolution will also enable the IACHR to implement its pilot project to expand the friendly settlement mechanism, as one of the main aspects in efforts to promote the development of a more affective and accessible inter-American justice system and ensure timely access to comprehensive reparation for victims of human rights violations.

Finally, through this Resolution, the Commission seeks to take differentiated action on issues brought before the friendly settlement mechanism to decide on a course of action for negotiation processes, closing old friendly settlement processes where the parties have made no significant progress or failed to establish solid dialogue.

“The adoption of this Resolution by the IACHR entails a change of focus in the friendly settlement procedure, toward much more proactive involvement by the Commission in negotiation and implementation processes. This means that matters brought before this mechanism will remain there only for as long as significant progress is observed in negotiation processes, rather than purely out of inertia,” said Commissioner Joel Hernández, President of the Inter-American Commission. “The Commission’s decision is an innovative move that will make friendly settlement processes more dynamic and ensure that victims of human rights violations can attain timely resolutions on their cases through friendly settlements,” said IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão.

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. 084/20