Press Release

The IACHR calls for a respectful and truthful institutional dialogue between the Main Organs of the OAS

August  25, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The IACHR salutes the comments of the Secretary General of the OAS on August 28 recognizing the competence of the Commission to elect its Executive Secretary and that he will guarantee the independence and autonomy of this body. This acknowledgement should serve as the basis for a respectful dialogue between two principal organs of the OAS.

The IACHR considers that the difference with the Secretary General can be resolved based on three fundamental premises: First, the recognition of the independence and autonomy of the IACHR, starting with its prerrogative to select and renew the mandate of its Executive Secretary without interference.  Second, the respect for the labor rights of workers, not only of the IACHR but of the entire OAS, which includes the right to file complaints of any form of harassment or discrimination so that they can be investigated effectively and appropriately by the competent bodies of the OAS and, if proven, apply an effective sanction to those responsible. Third, the right to due process of those who may eventually be denounced for violations of workers' rights, in this case the Executive Secretary. The emphatic Inter-American jurisprudence indicates that justice must be carried out through processes where due process of law is protected.
The Commission rejects the public characterization that has been given to the contents of the confidential report of the Ombudsperson, received on August 10, regarding information and complaints about alleged events that occurred in 2019. The Commission also rejects the Secretary General's characterization of the Commission's actions, suggesting that the IACHR failed to assume its responsibility.

The Commission has given the priority, importance and seriousness that the case deserves, reacting immediately within its powers when it became aware of the testimonies and facts denounced. Upon receiving the Ombudsperson report on August 10, eigth months after publicizing its decision to renew the Executive Secretary's mandate -without the Secretary General’s opposition-, the Commission immediately indicated to the Secretary General that it has the greatest interest in having the corresponding administrative investigations carried out by the competent body, in full compliance with the guarantees and inter-American standards of presumption of innocence, due process, duty to investigate and due diligence. The attribution to file complaints before the Inspector General is within the mandate  of the Secretary General. Therefore, communications have been conducted to the Secretary through official channels. The Commission has also expressed its willingness to accept the recommendation of the Ombudsperson to hold dialogues with her Office to follow up on her recommendations.

The IACHR renews its willingness for dialogue and invites the Secretary General to find a prompt solution to this conflict.a solution that strengthens the inter-American system for the protection of human rights. The Commission appreciates and values all the expressions of support received these days in defense of its autonomy and independence, which constitute fundamental pillars of its functioning, credibility and effectiveness.

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. 205/20