At the next General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), the States Parties of the organization must elect four members to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a fundamental body for the protection and promotion of human rights in the hemisphere. One month before the candidate nomination deadline, the GQUAL Campaign reminds States of the importance of submitting nominations and voting for new members, ensuring that the result contributes to creating a body consistent with the criteria of gender parity, representativeness, geographic balance, independence, impartiality, high moral authority, and recognized expertise in human rights.
The importance of upholding these principles in the election of members to the principal organs of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) has been repeatedly emphasized by the OAS member states through General Assembly resolutions.
For example, the 52nd General Assembly, held in Lima, Peru from October 5-7, 2022, led to the adoption of Resolution AG/CG/doc.10/22 r., which in its Section xxvi on “Gender parity and geographical representation and representation of different legal systems in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” establishes the importance of achieving and maintaining gender parity, geographical balance, and representation of different populations and legal systems of the Hemisphere in the membership of the IACHR and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR Court). Accordingly, the Resolution calls on States to prioritize these principles and reflect them in their practices and policies for nominating and electing candidates, including through efforts to create the conditions for more women to be considered.
For the first time in their history, the IACHR and the IACHR Court reflect gender parity in their current membership, thus contributing to overcoming the historical underrepresentation of women in both bodies. This achievement was highlighted by the OAS General Assembly in its aforementioned Resolution, affirming the importance of measures to sustain it on the basis that gender parity and representative integration is necessary to strengthen the work, impact, and adequate treatment of the issues and problems of the region in the prevention, promotion, protection, and guarantee of human rights, with special attention to the issues of equality and non-discrimination. In addition, the same Resolution mandated the OAS Committee on Juridical Affairs and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) to develop consultations for the preparation of a report with best practices and recommendations that will help sustain the gender parity achieved.
With four vacancies available on the IACHR, three of them currently occupied by women, the upcoming election represents a critical moment where the action of the States must be consistent with the commitment to gender parity expressed at the last General Assembly. With one month left before the deadline to nominate candidates and, in evaluating and voting for
the new members, we call on the States to adopt these principles to ensure that the future composition of the IACHR complies with gender parity and the other criteria that should guide its nomination and selection process.