Statement of the Secretary-General on the Autonomy of the IACHR
WASHINGTON, USA – With respect to a certain disinformation campaign that seeks to make people believe that the autonomy of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is in some way in jeopardy, I reaffirm that I have no interest nor wish to participate in the designation of the next executive secretary, to participate in the discussions that lead to her or his election, nor to designate that person on my own. I reaffirm, thus, that this designation corresponds to and will correspond to the IACHR.
On the other hand, I expect the greatest responsibility from the IACHR regarding this process, and that the person chosen to be the executive secretary be personally, morally and professional suitable for the performance of the job’s functions.
I reiterate that there is no way I will incorporate or reincorporate an individual facing 61 pending accusations. Beyond the presumption of innocence is ignoring the seriousness of these complaints and that the IACHR had more than a year to materialize this presumptive innocence by transmitting the reports submitted by the Ombudsperson to the corresponding OAS mechanisms.
Instead, after being informed of the accusations, even by myself, the Commissioners, instead of searching for the quickest way to clarify the accusations (conflict of interest, differential treatment, serious deterioration in the level of transparency of the processes, retaliations and violations of the code of ethics, impunity for sexual harassment accusations, to mention some examples) proceeded practically immediately to express their willingness to renew the contract for new period to the then-executive secretary. It should be noted that the process carried out by the Ombudsperson was long and transparent as that office kept the IACHR permanently informed in this regard.
On the other hand, we are struck by the fact that they consider that the most suitable person for the position is someone facing 61 pending complaints, which reveals a very serious situation.
These days have made me think a lot about the situation of victims of workplace harassment all over the world, not only in the Organization and in this case. The situations they experience, how the system makes them invisible, mutes them, crushes them. How suddenly they are the least important people of all. How the accused moves the system, how the system covers him no matter what and even less the rights of the eventual victims.
During this time, I have seen the system becoming unambiguously corporatist and defending the indefensible.
Those who claim to defend human rights such as OHCHR, HRW, Amnesty, CEJIL, etc., ignore the basic labor rights of workers designed to guarantee them the possibility of working free from harassment. Corporate denials are not the best way to deliver justice or guarantee human rights.
It is extremely serious to ignore these rights, to ignore the complaints, to try to impose the accused for a new period, ignoring the seriousness of the situation and the complaints, as well as the physical, psychological and spiritual situation of the civil servants. That is no longer passive complicity; is an active cover-up. All this in the name of something that has never been nor will ever be at stake: the autonomy and independence of the IACHR.
As secretary-general, I will never impose an executive secretary on the IACHR. I recognize the IACHR´s right to select the person that the Commission considers the most apt both ethically and professionally to carry out the job, a process in which I will not participate and in which I have no desire to participate.
On the other hand, we will also ensure that the autonomy and independence of the IACHR is not affected by the interference of any State in this or in other internal processes.