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OAS Secretary General and Representatives of the Member Countries Accompanied the IACHR at the Conclusion of its 149th Period of Sessions

  November 7, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Permanent Representatives of the member states of the Organization today joined the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in the closing ceremony of the 149th Period of Sessions, which started on October 24 and formally ends tomorrow at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC.

In his address, Secretary General Insulza said that the Commission is "indispensable" for the operation of the OAS, and its autonomous character plays a key role in that. "The IACHR is the voice of the OAS on human rights, the Commission is a principal agency, it only depends on the General Assembly, which elects its commissioners, and is the only OAS agency called upon to comment on human rights issues."

The leader of the multilateral Organization said the Commission "is probably the best known agency of the OAS and has provided the greatest amount of international prestige." He noted that the issues considered by the IACHR are "of great sensitivity and highly complex, because the State is always questioned when human rights are violated, even if it’s not the government of the day." Therefore, he added, "dialogue and the search for understandings between the parties involved" are particularly important.

Secretary General Insulza stressed that the period of sessions now ending "marks a return to normal work in the Commission," after the debate on strengthening the Inter-American System of Human Rights (ISHR) held within of the Organization during the last two years. That debate, said the OAS leader, "was in my opinion very rich and very important."

Finally, the OAS Secretary General said that the work of the Commission is not free of difficulties, and urged member states to continue working to fix them. The success of its work depends, he said, "first of all that all the countries should be ISHR members; second that we all comply with the decisions taken; and third, that all we finance its operations."

The Commission’s Chair, José de Jesús Orozco, said that during the 149th period of sessions the Commission held 52 public hearings. Commissioner Orozco noted that during 2013 the Commission registered the record for audiences in one year in its history, and which exceeded by 123 percent the number of hearings held five years ago. "We ended the year with a total of 114 hearings, of which ten had a regional focus, and the rest are referred to the situation of more than 20 countries throughout the Hemisphere," he said.

Orozco said that during this period of sessions "we have taken decisions regarding petitions and cases, as well as attend meetings with representatives of the illustrious states of the Organization and civil society." He specified that in the hearings, the Commission took up the study of cases both in countries that ratified the American Convention (and thus recognize the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights), and those who are not part of the treaty but are members of the OAS.

The Mexican commissioner confirmed also that the Commission accepted the invitation of the Dominican Republic for a visit to the Caribbean country. "Given the situation reported in relation to the possibility that tens of thousands of people could be deprived of their right to nationality -with the consequent risk of becoming stateless- from the implementation of the decision in a recent judgment of the Constitutional Court, the Commission welcomes the opening of the illustrious State and hopes that this visit will made in an urgent manner," he said.

During the meeting, the representatives of the member countries Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Dominica, Jamaica, Uruguay, Haiti, Canada and Chile all took the floor.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-418/13