Nº 1/02






The Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Santiago A. Canton, will visit the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on February 5, 6, 7, and 8 at the invitation of the Venezuelan Government. The visit by Ambassador Canton, who also serves as Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the IACHR, is also in response to requests from various sectors of civil society concerned over recent events in that country in the area of freedom of expression.


The aim of the visit is to gather information on the status of freedom of expression in Venezuela and also to conduct a preliminary evaluation for the on-site visit the Commission will carry out in the coming months. To that end, the Executive Secretary will meet with Venezuelan Government officials, media outlet directors, independent journalists, and civil society organizations.


During the 114th regular session of the Commission, to take place in Washington from February 25 to March 15 of this year, Ambassador Canton will report to the Commission on the results of his visit.


The IACHR is the body within the Organization of American States whose principal function is to promote the observance and defense of human rights and to advise the Organization in this area.  Its authority stems from the American Convention on Human Rights and the OAS Charter, instruments both ratified by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The Executive Secretary will be accompanied by attorney Milton Castillo, who handles matters pertaining to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela within the Executive Secretariat, and attorney Débora Benchoam, who works with the Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Commission.



Washington, D.C., February 4, 2002