Independence of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights must be protected from undue political interference

Today the ICJ called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to respect the autonomy and independence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) as the body in charge of promoting the observance of human rights in the Americas, including in respect of its core administration functions.

The OAS Secretary-General has declined to endorse the unanimous decision taken in January by the seven-person IACHR to renew the mandate of its Executive Secretary, Paulo Abrão, whose term expired on 15 August.

The Secretary General indicated that his action was motivated by concern at internal complaints that are still to be resolved.

The refusal to renew this mandate, however, must not be made on the basis of pending complaints, which must nonetheless be resolved in a reasonably short period of time, based on the principles of due process for all parties concerned

The ICJ recognizes the importance of processing the staffs’ complaints in a timely manner which respects the due process rights of the parties concerned through an independent and transparent process.

The ICJ recalls that it is essential to ensure the independence and autonomy of the Inter-American Commission, which necessarily includes the functions related to the appointment process of the Executive Secretary.

“The IACHR has played a critical role in the Americas to advance human rights and to protect victims of human rights violations,” said ICJ Secretary General Sam Zarifi.

He also mentioned that “the situation requires an urgent resolution that guarantees respect for the principles of independence and autonomy of the IACHR.”