Organizations denounce lack of IACHR autonomy following OAS secretary’s decision

In a statement, they say the attitude of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States violates the Commission’s Statute

Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro

Nearly 400 civil society organizations from different countries expressed, in a statement published on August 28, their concern over ensuring the autonomy of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a body of the OAS (Organization of American States).

The situation was caused by the decision of the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, to not renew for another four years the mandate of the Executive Secretary of the Commission, the Brazilian Paulo Abrão.

Abrão took office in 2016 and had his mandate renewed for another four years following unanimous approval by the members of the Inter-American Commission, in an election held in January. This renewal, however, was overturned by Almagro based on allegations of complaints received by the organization’s Ombudsperson. The measure has sparked an unprecedented crisis in the Inter-American System.

According to the signatory organizations, Almagro is infringing on Article 21 of the IACHR’s Statute, which states that prior consultation with the Commission is necessary for the Secretary General to make a decision that conflicts with one made by its members.

In the statement, the organizations point out that historically efforts have been made to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights Protection System. These include regulatory reforms to guarantee the autonomy and independence of the bodies.

Read the statement in full here

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