IACHR ELECTS OFFICERS
Washington, March 16, 2009 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today elected its new officers. The board of officers is composed of Luz Patricia Mejía, Chair; Víctor Abramovich, First Vice-Chair; and Felipe González, Second Vice-Chair. The election was held, in accordance with the IACHR rules of procedure, at the beginning of the Commission’s 134th regular period of sessions. The other members of the IACHR are Commissioners Paolo Carozza, Florentín Meléndez, Clare K. Roberts and Paolo Sérgio Pinheiro. The Executive Secretary is Santiago A. Canton.
The Chair of the IACHR, Luz Patricia Mejía, is a citizen of Venezuela and began her term on the Commission in January 2008. Commissioner Mejía is an attorney who graduated from the School of Juridical and Political Science at the Central University of Venezuela, where she studied Administrative Law. She was Director of Legal Counsel in Venezuela’s Public Ministry and previously worked in that country’s Public Defender’s Office, as Director of Legal Resources and later Director General of Legal Services. She was also in charge of carrying out the Defense Program as part of Venezuela’s Education-Action in Human Rights Program (PROVEA), and worked as an attorney with the Women’s Association for Reciprocal Assistance (AMBAR) and the Organization for Citizen Action against AIDS (ACCSI). She co-authored the Law for the Protection of Victims, Witnesses and Others Involved in Judicial Procedures, as well as the Organic Law of the Public Defender’s Office and the Organic Law of Citizen Power. She has published research and specialized articles, and has lectured in courses and seminars.
First Vice-Chair Víctor Abramovich is a citizen of Argentina and began his term at the IACHR in January 2006. Commissioner Abramovich is an attorney who graduated from the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and holds a Master’s degree in international law from American University’s Washington College of Law, in Washington, D.C. He has completed numerous specialized courses in human rights in England and Spain. Among other positions, he has been Executive Director of Argentina’s Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), legal adviser to the Ombudsman’s Office of Buenos Aires, and a consultant to the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. He is currently a professor of human rights at the Law School of the UBA and of the National University of Lanus. He is a visiting professor at American University and at Ecuador’s “Simón Bolívar” Andean University, among others. Commissioner Abramovich is the author of several specialized publications, particularly on economic, social, and cultural rights.
Second Vice-Chair Felipe González is a citizen of Chile and began his term on the Commission in January 2008. Commissioner González is Professor of International Human Rights Law and Constitutional Law at Chile’s Diego Portales University. He founded and directed that university’s Human Rights Center, where from 2002 through 2006 he led the effort to prepare and publish the Annual Report on Human Rights in Chile. He also founded and coordinated a Latin American Network of Legal Human Rights Clinics. He has a Master of Law degree from American University, where he has been a Professor at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law since 2001. He also has a Master of Advances Studies in Human Rights from the Carlos III University in Madrid, where he is currently a Visiting Professor. Previously he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Lund University, the University of Deusto and the University of Alcalá de Henares. He also worked from 1991 to 2003 for the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights), first in Washington, D.C., and then in Santiago, Chile.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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