ORIGIN AND BASES OF THE IACHR
In its resolution on human rights, the Fifth Meeting of
Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Santiago, Chile, 1959)
established an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to “promote
respect for such rights.”
The Council approved the Statute of the Commission on May 25,
1960, and elected its seven members on June 29 of that year.
On February 27, 1967, the Protocol of Amendments to the OAS
Charter was signed in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Article 112 of the
Protocol calls for an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with
the primary function of promoting the observance and defense of human
rights and serving as an organ of consultation for the OAS in this
field. It also raised the Commission to the rank of a principal organ
subject to a future convention on human rights (Article 112, last part),
and provided that in the interim period between the entry into force of
the Protocol and the entry into force of the Convention, the IACHR,
established by the Fifth Meeting of Consultation, “shall keep
vigilance over the observance of human rights” (Article 150).
Finally, on November 12, 1969, the American Convention on Human
Rights was signed in San José, Costa Rica, and entered into force
almost nine years later on July 18, 1978, when the eleventh instrument
of ratification was deposited by the member State of Grenada. As of the
date of approval of this Report the Convention has nineteen state
parties: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican
Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras,
Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
At its ninth regular session (La Paz, Bolivia, October 1979), the
OAS General Assembly approved the new Statute of the Commission. At the
following regular session of the General Assembly, held in November
1980, in Washington, D.C., Articles 6 and 8 of the Statute were amended.
Pursuant to Article 112 of the OAS Charter and Article 1 of the
Commission’s Statute, the Commission is: “An organ…created to
promote the observance and defense of human rights and to serve as
consultative organ of the Organization in this matter.”
At its 49th session (April 1980), the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights adopted new Regulations. At its 64th
session (March 1985) articles 7, 8, 17, 19, 34, 45, 53 and 74 of the
above Regulations were modified.
A more detailed explanation of the Commission’s origin and
juridical bases, along with the text of the instruments governing it are
contained in the document “Handbook of Existing Rules Pertaining to
Human Rights in the Inter-American System” (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.65, doc. 6,
July 1, 1985).
OF THE AMERICAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
On the date this report was approved, the following States were
parties to the American Convention on Human Rights: Argentina, Barbados,
Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama,
Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Of these countries, Argentina, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela have
recognized the Commission’s competence to receive inter-State
complaints in accordance with Article 45. Argentina, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela have recognized the
Court’s jurisdiction in accordance with Article 62 of the Convention.
OF THE IACHR WITH THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT
During the period covered by this report, the IACHR continued to
cooperate with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. During its 64th
regular meeting, the Commission welcomed the President of the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Dr. Pedro Nikken, the
Vice-President, Prof. Thomas Buergenthal, Dr. Carlos Roberto Reina, Dr.
Rafael Nieto Navia and the Secretary, Dr. Charles Moyer. Discussions
were held to strengthen the ties of cooperation and coordination between
these two organs.
WITH OTHER AGENCIES OF THE
In 1984-1985, the Commission continued to cooperate in the human
rights field with the Inter-American Commission of Women, the
Inter-American Children’s Institute and the Inter-American Indian
Institute, which are specialized organs of the OAS.
WITH WORLD AGENCIES OF THE SAME TYPE
Likewise, during that time the Commission continued to strengthen
its cooperative ties with the United Nations’ Commission and Committee
on Human Rights and the European Commission on Human Rights, through an
exchange of documents and information. Worthy of special note was the
visit of the Chairman of the IACHR, Ambassador César Sepúlveda, to the
United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva, Switzerland, in February