In Solidarity: IACHR and Dr. Paulo Abrão

August 26, 2020

 

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (the Coalition) stands

with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in their firm

condemnation of the decision made on August 15, 2020 by Luis Almagro,

the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), not to

renew the four-year mandate of Dr. Paulo Abrão as Executive Secretary of

the IACHR.

 

Dr. Abrão is an unparalleled defender of human rights in the Americas.

Having served as Executive Secretary of the Institute for Public Policies on

Human Rights of MERCOSUR, Brazil’s Secretary of Justice, and Chairman

of Brazil’s Amnesty Commission, he has advocated for the rights of victims

throughout the region and has played a pivotal role in securing human

rights for the most vulnerable – including refugees and survivors of

trafficking – for decades. Worldwide, his work on the importance of

memory in the pursuit of justice and accountability has been nothing short

of ground-breaking.

 

For these reasons and many more, the IACHR unanimously recommended

in January 2020 that Dr. Abrão’s mandate be renewed for another four

years. Without transparency or a respect for procedure, the Secretary

General unilaterally overrode that recommendation in an unprecedented

move on August 15, 2020 – only one day before Dr. Abrão’s contract was

set to expire. In doing so, he threatens the legitimacy of the IACHR – which

is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights in the American

hemisphere – by undermining its autonomy as an independent arm of the

OAS, free of political influence.

 

As an organization that includes all 35 independent states of the Americas

and is charged with supporting democracy, human rights, security, and

development among member states, the OAS, led by Luis Almagro, should

reverse the decision regarding Dr. Abrão and reaffirm its commitment to

transparency and nonpartisanship. Only when our institutions are free from

bias and opacity can the rights of all people be properly protected.

 

To read IACHR’s full statement, please click here.

To read the statement from The Network of Latin American and Caribbean Sites of Memory, click here (Spanish, French, Portuguese.)

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