Santiago A. Canton, a distinguished Argentine jurist with decades long experience of fighting for the advancement of human rights and the rule of law, has taken up the post of Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) beginning 1 March 2023.
Appointed by the ICJ Executive Committee for a five-year term, Santiago A. Canton brings to this role a wealth of wisdom and practical experience at the national, regional and global levels, serving in governmental, intergovernmental and civil society capacities. He was Executive Secretary of the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights from 2001 to 2012, and served as the Commission’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression from 1998 to 2001. He was also Executive Director of the human rights program of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. He served as Chair of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and has worked closely with the African Commission of Human Rights and People’s Rights. From 2016 to 2019, Santiago A. Canton was the Secretary of Human Rights for the Province of Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Mr. Canton will be charged with continuing and developing the ICJ’s innovative efforts in progressively developing international law and standards, advocating for the entrenchment of the rule of law and the fair administration of justice around the world, and working to ensure accountability and access to justice for all without discrimination.
The ICJ salutes the outstanding contribution of its outgoing Secretary-General, Sam Zarifi, who served the organization with distinction during his six-year tenure (2017-23). During his tenure, the ICJ overcame numerous challenges, including the restrictions of work brought on by the COVID pandemic, engaging in critical work in such diverse areas as accountability for human rights crimes, public health emergencies, human rights in the digital age and defending the rule of law and justice systems in countries in all parts of the world.
The ICJ is an international non-governmental organization established in 1952, consisting of 60 distinguished jurists from all regions of the world. The ICJ works to advance the rule of law and the legal protection of human rights. The headquarters of the ICJ Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and it has field presences in the Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Middle East and North Africa regions.
The press release in French can be be downloaded here
The press release in Spanish can be downloaded here