We, as Christian Peacemaker Teams and as a member of the Americas Policy Group (APG), express our concern regarding the interference in appointing the Executive Secretary for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The IACHR serves as an independent body of the Organization of American States (OAS) to carry out the important work of investigating complaints of human rights violations committed by member states.
Executive Secretary Dr. Paulo Abrão's term was extended in early January by the IACHR but as of 15 August the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has reversed this decision, putting at risk the independent nature of the IACHR to defend human rights in the Americas.
The APG calls on Canadian Foreign Minister Honourable François-Phillippe Champagne to execute the following demands:
- Call on the Secretary General of the OAS to desist from interfering in the selection of the Executive Secretary of the IACHR and recognize Dr. Paulo Abrão’s mandate;
- Urge all Member States to fully cooperate with pending processes before the IACHR System to protect the rights of citizens from across the region involved in these processes;
- Issue a public statement reiterating Canada’s commitment to an appointments process to the IACHR independent of the Secretary General in order to maintain impartiality before the Members States and provide victims and survivors with effective measures to prevent the recurrence of violations against human rights;
- Support a process of investigation, should there be any concerns involving Dr. Abrão, that follows normal administrative procedures.