ORIGINS AND BASES OF THE
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.
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) were modified articles 7, 8, 17, 19, 34, 45, 53 and
74 of the above Regulations.
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.
BETWEEN THE IACHR AND THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT
During the period covered by this report, the IACHR has continued
its cooperative relations with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
At its 67th session, it had the opportunity to receive
Professor Thomas Buergenthal, Judge and President of the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights, with whom an interesting exchange of views was
held. This exchange will make it possible to achieve more effective
coordination and increased cooperation between the two organs for human
rights protection, established by the 1969 Pact of San José, Costa
Rica. The Commission also held a meeting with the Court in Atlanta,
Georgia, September 15-16, 1986. The details of this meeting are set
forth in Chapter II.
WITH OTHER AGENCIES OF THE REGIONAL SYSTEM
In 1985 and 1986, the Commission continued to maintain
cooperative relations in the area of human rights 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 regard to the latter, the IACHR was
represented by its member, Mr. Bruce McColm, at the Nineteenth
Inter-American Indian Congress, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from
October 28 to November 1, 1985.
WITH SIMILAR INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES
Also during the period in reference, the Commission continued its cooperative relations with the UN Human Rights Commission and the UN Human Rights Committee and with the European Commission of Human Rights, through the exchange of documents and information. Worthy of special mention is the historic first meeting of the Inter-American Commission and the European Commission of Human Rights, held November 11-12-, 1985, in Seville, Spain, followed by an international colloquium on the European Convention. Both events were attended by the President and several members of the IACHR, and staff members of the Commission's Secretariat.