Press Release

IACHR makes its choice of Emilio Álvarez Icaza for Executive Secretary

July 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. – In exercise of its autonomy and independence, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) made its choice today of Emilio Álvarez Icaza for the post of Executive Secretary, and, in the terms of Article 11 of its Rules of Procedure, sent the name of the selected person to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), with a proposal that the person be appointed for a four-year period.

Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria, a Mexican national, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO) from that country. In 1999 he was elected Counselor of the Electoral Institute of the Federal District; later, in 2001, he was elected President of the Commission of Human Rights of the Federal District (CDHDF), position he held until 2009. He has also practiced journalism in several media outlets, and teaches human rights at the Law School of the National University of Mexico (UNAM). He has written books and a number of articles that have been published in Mexican and foreign publications. He was the Director General of the National Center for Social Communication (Cencos) and cofounder of Civic Alliance, both of them civil society organizations from Mexico. Currently, he is an independent consultant, expert in issues relating to human rights, democracy, citizen participation, civil society and public policy, and he is a member of the Movement for Peace with Dignity in Mexico.

The selection of Emilio Álvarez Icaza was the result of a comprehensive, open, transparent and participatory process. The call for resumés for the post was published on November 16, 2011, opening the period to receiving applications for the post of IACHR Executive Secretary until May 1, 2012. The IACHR received 111 candidacies for the post. The names of the prestigious five finalistas and their resumés were published on the IACHR Website on June 1, 2012, marking the starting date for a one-month period for receiving comments. The IACHR thanks those who participated in this process through the submission of 116 observations on the candidacies, which were considered by the Commissioners. The plenary of the Commission interviewed the five finalists in the headquarters.

The IACHR values that, during this process, the Member States and the OAS political organs, as well as civil society organizations, respected the principle of autonomy and indepence of the Inter-American Commission for the adoption of this decision, an essential characteristic for the full compliance of the high mission that has been entrusted to it.

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 a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 92/12