Human Rights &
American Convention on Human Rights
(Adopted at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on
San Jos�, Costa Rica, 22 November 1969)
The American states signatory to the present Convention,
Reaffirming their intention to consolidate in this
hemisphere, within the framework of democratic institutions,
a system of personal liberty and social justice based on
respect for the essential rights of man;
Recognizing that the essential rights of man are not derived
from one's being a national of a certain state, but are
based upon attributes of the human personality, and that
they therefore justify international protection in the form
of a convention reinforcing or complementing the protection
provided by the domestic law of the American states;
Considering that these principles have been set forth in the
Charter of the Organization of American States, in the
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that they
have been reaffirmed and refined in other international
instruments, worldwide as well as regional in scope;
Reiterating that, in accordance with the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free men enjoying
freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if
conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his
economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as his civil
and political rights; and
Considering that the Third Special Inter-American Conference
(Buenos Aires, 1967) approved the incorporation into the
Charter of the Organization itself of broader standards with
respect to economic, social, and educational rights and
resolved that an inter-American convention on human rights
should determine the structure, competence, and procedure of
the organs responsible for these matters,
Have agreed upon the following:
PART I - STATE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS PROTECTED
CHAPTER I - GENERAL OBLIGATIONS
Article 1. Obligation to Respect Rights
1. The States Parties to this Convention undertake to
respect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to
ensure to all persons subject to their jurisdiction the free
and full exercise of those rights and freedoms, without any
discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national or social
origin, economic status, birth, or any other social
2. For the purposes of this Convention, "person" means every
Article 2. Domestic Legal Effects
Where the exercise of any of the rights or freedoms referred
to in Article 1 is not already ensured by legislative or
other provisions, the States Parties undertake to adopt, in
accordance with their constitutional processes and the
provisions of this Convention, such legislative or other
measures as may be necessary to give effect to those rights
CHAPTER II - CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
Article 3. Right to Juridical Personality
Every person has the right to recognition as a person before
Article 4. Right to Life
1. Every person has the right to have his life respected.
This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from
the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily
deprived of his life.
2. In countries that have not abolished the death penalty,
it may be imposed only for the most serious crimes and
pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court
and in accordance with a law establishing such punishment,
enacted prior to the commission of the crime. The
application of such punishment shall not be extended to
crimes to which it does not presently apply.
3. The death penalty shall not be reestablished in states
that have abolished it.
4. In no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for
political offenses or related common crimes.
5. Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who,
at the time the crime was committed, were under 18 years of
age or over 70 years of age; nor shall it be applied to
6. Every person condemned to death shall have the right to
apply for amnesty, pardon, or commutation of sentence, which
may be granted in all cases. Capital punishment shall not be
imposed while such a petition is pending decision by the
Article 5. Right to Humane Treatment
1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental,
and moral integrity respected.
2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons
deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for
the inherent dignity of the human person.
3. Punishment shall not be extended to any person other than
4. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances,
be segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject
to separate treatment appropriate to their status as
5. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be
separated from adults and brought before specialized
tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be
treated in accordance with their status as minors.
6. Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty shall
have as an essential aim the reform and social readaptation
of the prisoners.
Article 6. Freedom from Slavery
1. No one shall be subject to slavery or to involuntary
servitude, which are prohibited in all their forms, as are
the slave trade and traffic in women.
2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory
labor. This provision shall not be interpreted to mean that,
in those countries in which the penalty established for
certain crimes is deprivation of liberty at forced labor,
the carrying out of such a sentence imposed by a competent
court is prohibited. Forced labor shall not adversely affect
the dignity or the physical or intellectual capacity of the
3. For the purposes of this article, the following do not
constitute forced or compulsory labor:
a. work or service normally required of a person imprisoned
in execution of a sentence or formal decision passed by the
competent judicial authority. Such work or service shall be
carried out under the supervision and control of public
authorities, and any persons performing such work or service
shall not be placed at the disposal of any private party,
company, or juridical person;
b. military service and, in countries in which conscientious
objectors are recognized, national service that the law may
provide for in lieu of military service;
c. service exacted in time of danger or calamity that
threatens the existence or the well-being of the community;
d. work or service that forms part of normal civic
Article 7. Right to Personal Liberty
1. Every person has the right to personal liberty and
2. No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty except
for the reasons and under the conditions established
beforehand by the constitution of the State Party concerned
or by a law established pursuant thereto.
3. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or
4. Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons
for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the
charge or charges against him.
5. Any person detained shall be brought promptly before a
judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise
judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a
reasonable time or to be released without prejudice to the
continuation of the proceedings. His release may be subject
to guarantees to assure his appearance for trial.
6. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled
to recourse to a competent court, in order that the court
may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his arrest or
detention and order his release if the arrest or detention
is unlawful. In States Parties whose laws provide that
anyone who believes himself to be threatened with
deprivation of his liberty is entitled to recourse to a
competent court in order that it may decide on the
lawfulness of such threat, this remedy may not be restricted
or abolished. The interested party or another person in his
behalf is entitled to seek these remedies.
7. No one shall be detained for debt. This principle shall
not limit the orders of a competent judicial authority
issued for nonfulfillment of duties of support.
Article 8. Right to a Fair Trial
1. Every person has the right to a hearing, with due
guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a competent,
independent, and impartial tribunal, previously established
by law, in the substantiation of any accusation of a
criminal nature made against him or for the determination of
his rights and obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal, or any
2. Every person accused of a criminal offense has the right
to be presumed innocent so long as his guilt has not been
proven according to law. During the proceedings, every
person is entitled, with full equality, to the following
a. the right of the accused to be assisted without charge by
a translator or interpreter, if he does not understand or
does not speak the language of the tribunal or court;
b. prior notification in detail to the accused of the
charges against him;
c. adequate time and means for the preparation of his
d. the right of the accused to defend himself personally or
to be assisted by legal counsel of his own choosing, and to
communicate freely and privately with his counsel;
e. the inalienable right to be assisted by counsel provided
by the state, paid or not as the domestic law provides, if
the accused does not defend himself personally or engage his
own counsel within the time period established by law;
f. the right of the defense to examine witnesses present in
the court and to obtain the appearance, as witnesses, of
experts or other persons who may throw light on the facts;
g. the right not to be compelled to be a witness against
himself or to plead guilty; and
h. the right to appeal the judgment to a higher court.
3. A confession of guilt by the accused shall be valid only
if it is made without coercion of any kind.
4. An accused person acquitted by a nonappealable judgment
shall not be subjected to a new trial for the same cause.
5. Criminal proceedings shall be public, except insofar as
may be necessary to protect the interests of justice.
Article 9. Freedom from Ex Post Facto Laws
No one shall be convicted of any act or omission that did
not constitute a criminal offense, under the applicable law,
at the time it was committed. A heavier penalty shall not be
imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the
criminal offense was committed. If subsequent to the
commission of the offense the law provides for the
imposition of a lighter punishment, the guilty person shall
Article 10. Right to Compensation
Every person has the right to be compensated in accordance
with the law in the event he has been sentenced by a final
judgment through a miscarriage of justice.
Article 11. Right to Privacy
1. Everyone has the right to have his honor respected and
his dignity recognized.
2. No one may be the object of arbitrary or abusive
interference with his private life, his family, his home, or
his correspondence, or of unlawful attacks on his honor or
3. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law
against such interference or attacks.
Article 12. Freedom of Conscience and Religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and of
religion. This right includes freedom to maintain or to
change one's religion or beliefs, and freedom to profess or
disseminate one's religion or beliefs, either individually
or together with others, in public or in private.
2. No one shall be subject to restrictions that might impair
his freedom to maintain or to change his religion or
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion and beliefs may be
subject only to the limitations prescribed by law that are
necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or
morals, or the rights or freedoms of others.
4. Parents or guardians, as the case may be, have the right
to provide for the religious and moral education of their
children or wards that is in accord with their own
Article 13. Freedom of Thought and Expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and
expression. This right includes freedom to seek, receive,
and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of
frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form
of art, or through any other medium of one's choice.
2. The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing
paragraph shall not be subject to prior censorship but shall
be subject to subsequent imposition of liability, which
shall be expressly established by law to the extent
necessary to ensure:
a. respect for the rights or reputations of others; or
b. the protection of national security, public order, or
public health or morals.
3. The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect
methods or means, such as the abuse of government or private
controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or
equipment used in the dissemination of information, or by
any other means tending to impede the communication and
circulation of ideas and opinions.
4. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2 above,
public entertainments may be subject by law to prior
censorship for the sole purpose of regulating access to them
for the moral protection of childhood and adolescence.
5. Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national,
racial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements to
lawless violence or to any other similar action against any
person or group of persons on any grounds including those of
race, color, religion, language, or national origin shall be
considered as offenses punishable by law.
Article 14. Right of Reply
1. Anyone injured by inaccurate or offensive statements or
ideas disseminated to the public in general by a legally
regulated medium of communication has the right to reply or
to make a correction using the same communications outlet,
under such conditions as the law may establish.
2. The correction or reply shall not in any case remit other
legal liabilities that may have been incurred.
3. For the effective protection of honor and reputation,
every publisher, and every newspaper, motion picture, radio,
and television company, shall have a person responsible who
is not protected by immunities or special privileges.
Article 15. Right of Assembly
The right of peaceful assembly, without arms, is recognized.
No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right
other than those imposed in conformity with the law and
necessary in a democratic society in the interest of
national security, public safety or public order, or to
protect public health or morals or the rights or freedom of
Article 16. Freedom of Association
1. Everyone has the right to associate freely for
ideological, religious, political, economic, labor, social,
cultural, sports, or other purposes.
2. The exercise of this right shall be subject only to such
restrictions established by law as may be necessary in a
democratic society, in the interest of national security,
public safety or public order, or to protect public health
or morals or the rights and freedoms of others.
3. The provisions of this article do not bar the imposition
of legal restrictions, including even deprivation of the
exercise of the right of association, on members of the
armed forces and the police.
Article 17. Rights of the Family
1. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of
society and is entitled to protection by society and the
2. The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry
and to raise a family shall be recognized, if they meet the
conditions required by domestic laws, insofar as such
conditions do not affect the principle of nondiscrimination
established in this Convention.
3. No marriage shall be entered into without the free and
full consent of the intending spouses.
4. The States Parties shall take appropriate steps to ensure
the equality of rights and the adequate balancing of
responsibilities of the spouses as to marriage, during
marriage, and in the event of its dissolution. In case of
dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary
protection of any children solely on the basis of their own
5. The law shall recognize equal rights for children born
out of wedlock and those born in wedlock.
Article 18. Right to a Name
Every person has the right to a given name and to the
surnames of his parents or that of one of them. The law
shall regulate the manner in which this right shall be
ensured for all, by the use of assumed names if necessary.
Article 19. Rights of the Child
Every minor child has the right to the measures of
protection required by his condition as a minor on the part
of his family, society, and the state.
Article 20. Right to Nationality
1. Every person has the right to a nationality.
2. Every person has the right to the nationality of the
state in whose territory he was born if he does not have the
right to any other nationality.
3. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality
or of the right to change it.
Article 21. Right to Property
1. Everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his
property. The law may subordinate such use and enjoyment to
the interest of society.
2. No one shall be deprived of his property except upon
payment of just compensation, for reasons of public utility
or social interest, and in the cases and according to the
forms established by law.
3. Usury and any other form of exploitation of man by man
shall be prohibited by law.
Freedom of Movement and Residence
1. Every person lawfully in the territory of a State Party
has the right to move about in it, and to reside in it
subject to the provisions of the law.
2. Every person has the right lo leave any country freely,
including his own.
3. The exercise of the foregoing rights may be restricted
only pursuant to a law to the extent necessary in a
democratic society to prevent crime or to protect national
security, public safety, public order, public morals, public
health, or the rights or freedoms of others.
4. The exercise of the rights recognized in paragraph 1 may
also be restricted by law in designated zones for reasons of
5. No one can be expelled from the territory of the state of
which he is a national or be deprived of the right to enter
6. An alien lawfully in the territory of a State Party to
this Convention may be expelled from it only pursuant to a
decision reached in accordance with law.
7. Every person has the right to seek and be granted asylum
in a foreign territory, in accordance with the legislation
of the state and international conventions, in the event he
is being pursued for political offenses or related common
8. In no case may an alien be deported or returned to a
country, regardless of whether or not it is his country of
origin, if in that country his right to life or personal
freedom is in danger of being violated because of his race,
nationality, religion, social status, or political opinions.
9. The collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited.
Article 23. Right to Participate in Government
1. Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and
a. to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly
or through freely chosen representatives;
b. to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections,
which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret
ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of
the voters; and
c. to have access, under general conditions of equality, to
the public service of his country.
2. The law may regulate the exercise of the rights and
opportunities referred to in the preceding paragraph only on
the basis of age, nationality, residence, language,
education, civil and mental capacity, or sentencing by a
competent court in criminal proceedings.
Article 24. Right to Equal Protection
All persons are equal before the law. Consequently, they are
entitled, without discrimination, to equal protection of the
Article 25. Right to Judicial Protection
1. Everyone has the right to simple and prompt recourse, or
any other effective recourse, to a competent court or
tribunal for protection against acts that violate his
fundamental rights recognized by the constitution or laws of
the state concerned or by this Convention, even though such
violation may have been committed by persons acting in the
course of their official duties.
2. The States Parties undertake:
a. to ensure that any person claiming such remedy shall have
his rights determined by the competent authority provided
for by the legal system of the state;
b. to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy; and
c. to ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce
such remedies when granted.
CHAPTER III - ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
Article 26. Progressive Development
The States Parties undertake to adopt measures, both
internally and through international cooperation, especially
those of an economic and technical nature, with a view to
achieving progressively, by legislation or other appropriate
means, the full realization of the rights implicit in the
economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural
standards set forth in the Charter of the Organization of
American States as amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires.
CHAPTER IV - SUSPENSION OF GUARANTEES, INTERPRETATION, AND
Article 27. Suspension of Guarantees
1. In time of war, public danger, or other emergency that
threatens the independence or security of a State Party, it
may take measures derogating from its obligations under the
present Convention to the extent and for the period of time
strictly required by the exigencies of the situation,
provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its
other obligations under international law and do not involve
discrimination on the ground of race, color, sex, language,
religion, or social origin.
2. The foregoing provision does not authorize any suspension
of the following articles: Article 3 (Right to Juridical
Personality), Article 4 (Right to Life), Article 5 (Right to
Humane Treatment), Article 6 (Freedom from Slavery), Article
9 (Freedom from Ex Post Facto Laws), Article 12 (Freedom of
Conscience and Religion), Article 17 (Rights of the Family),
Article 18 (Right to a Name), Article 19 (Rights of the
Child), Article 20 (Right to Nationality), and Article 23
(Right to Participate in Government), or of the judicial
guarantees essential for the protection of such rights.
3. Any State Party availing itself of the right of
suspension shall immediately inform the other States
Parties, through the Secretary General of the Organization
of American States, of the provisions the application of
which it has suspended, the reasons that gave rise to the
suspension, and the date set for the termination of such
Article 28. Federal Clause
1. Where a State Party is constituted as a federal state,
the national government of such State Party shall implement
all the provisions of the Convention over whose subject
matter it exercises legislative and judicial jurisdiction.
2. With respect to the provisions over whose subject matter
the constituent units of the federal state have
jurisdiction, the national government shall immediately take
suitable measures, in accordance with its constitution and
its laws, to the end that the competent authorities of the
constituent units may adopt appropriate provisions for the
fulfillment of this Convention.
3. Whenever two or more States Parties agree to form a
federation or other type of association, they shall take
care that the resulting federal or other compact contains
the provisions necessary for continuing and rendering
effective the standards of this Convention in the new state
that is organized.
Article 29. Restrictions Regarding Interpretation
No provision of this Convention shall be interpreted as:
a. permitting any State Party, group, or person to suppress
the enjoyment or exercise of the rights and freedoms
recognized in this Convention or to restrict them to a
greater extent than is provided for herein;
b. restricting the enjoyment or exercise of any right or
freedom recognized by virtue of the laws of any State Party
or by virtue of another convention to which one of the said
states is a party;
c. precluding other rights or guarantees that are inherent
in the human personality or derived from representative
democracy as a form of government; or
d. excluding or limiting the effect that the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and other
international acts of the same nature may have.
Article 30. Scope of Restrictions
The restrictions that, pursuant to this Convention, may be
placed on the enjoyment or exercise of the rights or
freedoms recognized herein may not be applied except in
accordance with laws enacted for reasons of general interest
and in accordance with the purpose for which such
restrictions have been established.
Article 31. Recognition of Other Rights
Other rights and freedoms recognized in accordance with the
procedures established in Articles 76 and 77 may be included
in the system of protection of this Convention.
CHAPTER V - PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Article 32. Relationship between Duties and Rights
1. Every person has responsibilities to his family, his
community, and mankind.
2. The rights of each person are limited by the rights of
others, by the security of all, and by the just demands of
the general welfare, in a democratic society.
PART II - MEANS OF PROTECTION
CHAPTER VI - COMPETENT ORGANS
The following organs shall have competence with respect to
matters relating to the fulfillment of the commitments made
by the States Parties to this Convention:
a. the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, referred
to as "The Commission;" and
b. the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, referred to as
CHAPTER VII - INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1. Organization
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights shall be
composed of seven members, who shall be persons of high
moral character and recognized competence in the field of
The Commission shall represent all the member countries of
the Organization of American States.
1. The members of the Commission shall be elected in a
personal capacity by the General Assembly of the
Organization from a list of candidates proposed by the
governments of the member states.
2. Each of those governments may propose up to three
candidates, who may be nationals of the states proposing
them or of any other member state of the Organization of
American States. When a slate of three is proposed, at least
one of the candidates shall be a national of a state other
than the one proposing the slate.
1. The members of the Commission shall be elected for a term
of four years and may be reelected only once, but the terms
of three of the members chosen in the first election shall
expire at the end of two years. Immediately following that
election the General Assembly shall determine the names of
those three members by lot.
2. No two nationals of the same state may be members of the
Vacancies that may occur on the Commission for reasons other
than the normal expiration of a term shall be filled by the
Permanent Council of the Organization in accordance with the
provisions of the Statute of the Commission.
The Commission shall prepare its Statute, which it shall
submit to the General Assembly for approval. It shall
establish its own Regulations.
Secretariat services for the Commission shall be furnished
by the appropriate specialized unit of the General
Secretariat of the Organization. This unit shall be provided
with the resources required to accomplish the tasks assigned
to it by the Commission.
Section 2. Functions
The main function of the Commission shall be to promote
respect for and defense of human rights. In the exercise of
its mandate, it shall have the following functions and
a. to develop an awareness of human rights among the peoples
b. to make recommendations to the governments of the member
states, when it considers such action advisable, for the
adoption of progressive measures in favor of human rights
within the framework of their domestic law and
constitutional provisions as well as appropriate measures to
further the observance of those rights;
c. to prepare such studies or reports as it considers
advisable in the performance of its duties;
d. to request the governments of the member states to supply
it with information on the measures adopted by them in
matters of human rights;
e. to respond, through the General Secretariat of the
Organization of American States, to inquiries made by the
member states on matters related to human rights and, within
the limits of its possibilities, to provide those states
with the advisory services they request;
f. to take action on petitions and other communications
pursuant to its authority under the provisions of Articles
44 through 51 of this Convention; and
g. to submit an annual report to the General Assembly of the
Organization of American States.
The States Parties shall transmit to the Commission a copy
of each of the reports and studies that they submit annually
to the Executive Committees of the Inter-American Economic
and Social Council and the Inter-American Council for
Education, Science, and Culture, in their respective fields,
so that the Commission may watch over the promotion of the
rights implicit in the economic, social, educational,
scientific, and cultural standards set forth in the Charter
of the Organization of American States as amended by the
Protocol of Buenos Aires.
The States Parties undertake to provide the Commission with
such information as it may request of them as to the manner
in which their domestic law ensures the effective
application of any provisions of this Convention.
Section 3. Competence
Any person or group of persons, or any nongovernmental
entity legally recognized in one or more member states of
the Organization, may lodge petitions with the Commission
containing denunciations or complaints of violation of this
Convention by a State Party.
1. Any State Party may, when it deposits its instrument of
ratification of or adherence to this Convention, or at any
later time, declare that it recognizes the competence of the
Commission to receive and examine communications in which a
State Party alleges that another State Party has committed a
violation of a human right set forth in this Convention.
2. Communications presented by virtue of this article may be
admitted and examined only if they are presented by a State
Party that has made a declaration recognizing the
aforementioned competence of the Commission. The Commission
shall not admit any communication against a State Party that
has not made such a declaration.
3. A declaration concerning recognition of competence may be
made to be valid for an indefinite time, for a specified
period, or for a specific case.
4. Declarations shall be deposited with the General
Secretariat of the Organization of American States, which
shall transmit copies thereof to the member states of that
1. Admission by the Commission of a petition or
communication lodged in accordance with Articles 44 or 45
shall be subject to the following requirements:
a. that the remedies under domestic law have been pursued
and exhausted in accordance with generally recognized
principles of international law;
b. that the petition or communication is lodged within a
period of six months from the date on which the party
alleging violation of his rights was notified of the final
c. that the subject of the petition or communication is not
pending in another international proceeding for settlement;
d. that, in the case of Article 44, the petition contains
the name, nationality, profession, domicile, and signature
of the person or persons or of the legal representative of
the entity lodging the petition.
2. The provisions of paragraphs 1.a and 1.b of this article
shall not be applicable when:
a. the domestic legislation of the state concerned does not
afford due process of law for the protection of the right or
rights that have allegedly been violated;
b. the party alleging violation of his rights has been
denied access to the remedies under domestic law or has been
prevented from exhausting them; or
c. there has been unwarranted delay in rendering a final
judgment under the aforementioned remedies.
The Commission shall consider inadmissible any petition or
communication submitted under Articles 44 or 45 if:
a. any of the requirements indicated in Article 46 has not
b. the petition or communication does not state facts that
tend to establish a violation of the rights guaranteed by
c. the statements of the petitioner or of the state indicate
that the petition or communication is manifestly groundless
or obviously out of order; or
d. the petition or communication is substantially the same
as one previously studied by the Commission or by another
Section 4. Procedure
1. When the Commission receives a petition or communication
alleging violation of any of the rights protected by this
Convention, it shall proceed as follows:
a. If it considers the petition or communication admissible,
it shall request information from the government of the
state indicated as being responsible for the alleged
violations and shall furnish that government a transcript of
the pertinent portions of the petition or communication.
This information shall be submitted within a reasonable
period to be determined by the Commission in accordance with
the circumstances of each case.
b. After the information has been received, or after the
period established has elapsed and the information has not
been received, the Commission shall ascertain whether the
grounds for the petition or communication still exist. If
they do not, the Commission shall order the record to be
c. The Commission may also declare the petition or
communication inadmissible or out of order on the basis of
information or evidence subsequently received.
d. If the record has not been closed, the Commission shall,
with the knowledge of the parties, examine the matter set
forth in the petition or communication in order to verify
the facts. If necessary and advisable, the Commission shall
carry out an investigation, for the effective conduct of
which it shall request, and the states concerned shall
furnish to it, all necessary facilities.
e. The Commission may request the states concerned to
furnish any pertinent information and, if so requested,
shall hear oral statements or receive written statements
from the parties concerned.
f. The Commission shall place itself at the disposal of the
parties concerned with a view to reaching a friendly
settlement of the matter on the basis of respect for the
human rights recognized in this Convention.
2. However, in serious and urgent cases, only the
presentation of a petition or communication that fulfills
all the formal requirements of admissibility shall be
necessary in order for the Commission to conduct an
investigation with the prior consent of the state in whose
territory a violation has allegedly been committed.
If a friendly settlement has been reached in accordance with
paragraph 1.f of Article 48, the Commission shall draw up a
report, which shall be transmitted to the petitioner and to
the States Parties to this Convention, and shall then be
communicated to the Secretary General of the Organization of
American States for publication. This report shall contain a
brief statement of the facts and of the solution reached. If
any party in the case so requests, the fullest possible
information shall be provided to it.
1. If a settlement is not reached, the Commission shall,
within the time limit established by its Statute, draw up a
report setting forth the facts and stating its conclusions.
If the report, in whole or in part, does not represent the
unanimous agreement of the members of the Commission, any
member may attach to it a separate opinion. The written and
oral statements made by the parties in accordance with
paragraph 1.e of Article 48 shall also be attached to the
2. The report shall be transmitted to the states concerned,
which shall not be at liberty to publish it.
3. In transmitting the report, the Commission may make such
proposals and recommendations as it sees fit.
1. If, within a period of three months from the date of the
transmittal of the report of the Commission to the states
concerned, the matter has not either been settled or
submitted by the Commission or by the state concerned to the
Court and its jurisdiction accepted, the Commission may, by
the vote of an absolute majority of its members, set forth
its opinion and conclusions concerning the question
submitted for its consideration.
2. Where appropriate, the Commission shall make pertinent
recommendations and shall prescribe a period within which
the state is to take the measures that are incumbent upon it
to remedy the situation examined.
3. When the prescribed period has expired, the Commission
shall decide by the vote of an absolute majority of its
members whether the state has taken adequate measures and
whether to publish its report.
CHAPTER VIII - INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1. Organization
1. The Court shall consist of seven judges, nationals of the
member states of the Organization, elected in an individual
capacity from among jurists of the highest moral authority
and of recognized competence in the field of human rights,
who possess the qualifications required for the exercise of
the highest judicial functions in conformity with the law of
the state of which they are nationals or of the state that
proposes them as candidates.
2. No two judges may be nationals of the same state.
1. The judges of the Court shall be elected by secret ballot
by an absolute majority vote of the States Parties to the
Convention, in the General Assembly of the Organization,
from a panel of candidates proposed by those states.
2. Each of the States Parties may propose up to three
candidates, nationals of the state that proposes them or of
any other member state of the Organization of American
States. When a slate of three is proposed, at least one of
the candidates shall be a national of a state other than the
one proposing the slate.
1. The judges of the Court shall be elected for a term of
six years and may be reelected only once. The term of three
of the judges chosen in the first election shall expire at
the end of three years. Immediately after the election, the
names of the three judges shall be determined by lot in the
2. A judge elected to replace a judge whose term has not
expired shall complete the term of the latter.
3. The judges shall continue in office until the expiration
of their term. However, they shall continue to serve with
regard to cases that they have begun to hear and that are
still pending, for which purposes they shall not be replaced
by the newly elected judges.
1. If a judge is a national of any of the States Parties to
a case submitted to the Court, he shall retain his right to
hear that case.
2. If one of the judges called upon to hear a case should be
a national of one of the States Parties to the case, any
other State Party in the case may appoint a person of its
choice to serve on the Court as an ad hoc judge.
3. If among the judges called upon to hear a case none is a
national of any of the States Parties to the case, each of
the latter may appoint an ad hoc judge.
4. An ad hoc judge shall possess the qualifications
indicated in Article 52.
5. If several States Parties to the Convention should have
the same interest in a case, they shall be considered as a
single party for purposes of the above provisions. In case
of doubt, the Court shall decide.
Five judges shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of
business by the Court.
The Commission shall appear in all cases before the Court.
1. The Court shall have its seat at the place determined by
the States Parties to the Convention in the General Assembly
of the Organization; however, it may convene in the
territory of any member state of the Organization of
American States when a majority of the Court considers it
desirable, and with the prior consent of the state
concerned. The seat of the Court may be changed by the
States Parties to the Convention in the General Assembly by
a two-thirds vote.
2. The Court shall appoint its own Secretary.
3. The Secretary shall have his office at the place where
the Court has its seat and shall attend the meetings that
the Court may hold away from its seat.
The Court shall establish its Secretariat, which shall
function under the direction of the Secretary of the Court,
in accordance with the administrative standards of the
General Secretariat of the Organization in all respects not
incompatible with the independence of the Court. The staff
of the Court's Secretariat shall be appointed by the
Secretary General of the Organization, in consultation with
the Secretary of the Court.
The Court shall draw up its Statute which it shall submit to
the General Assembly for approval. It shall adopt its own
Rules of Procedure.
Section 2. Jurisdiction and Functions
1. Only the States Parties and the Commission shall have the
right to submit a case to the Court.
2. In order for the Court to hear a case, it is necessary
that the procedures set forth in Articles 48 and 50 shall
have been completed.
1. A State Party may, upon depositing its instrument of
ratification or adherence to this Convention, or at any
subsequent time, declare that it recognizes as binding, ipso
facto, and not requiring special agreement, the jurisdiction
of the Court on all matters relating to the interpretation
or application of this Convention.
2. Such declaration may be made unconditionally, on the
condition of reciprocity, for a specified period, or for
specific cases. It shall be presented to the Secretary
General of the Organization, who shall transmit copies
thereof to the other member states of the Organization and
to the Secretary of the Court.
3. The jurisdiction of the Court shall comprise all cases
concerning the interpretation and application of the
provisions of this Convention that are submitted to it,
provided that the States Parties to the case recognize or
have recognized such jurisdiction, whether by special
declaration pursuant to the preceding paragraphs, or by a
1. If the Court finds that there has been a violation of a
right or freedom protected by this Convention, the Court
shall rule that the injured party be ensured the enjoyment
of his right or freedom that was violated. It shall also
rule, if appropriate, that the consequences of the measure
or situation that constituted the breach of such right or
freedom be remedied and that fair compensation be paid to
the injured party.
2. In cases of extreme gravity and urgency, and when
necessary to avoid irreparable damage to persons, the Court
shall adopt such provisional measures as it deems pertinent
in matters it has under consideration. With respect to a
case not yet submitted to the Court, it may act at the
request of the Commission.
1. The member states of the Organization may consult the
Court regarding the interpretation of this Convention or of
other treaties concerning the protection of human rights in
the American states. Within their spheres of competence, the
organs listed in Chapter X of the Charter of the
Organization of American States, as amended by the Protocol
of Buenos Aires, may in like manner consult the Court.
2. The Court, at the request of a member state of the
Organization, may provide that state with opinions regarding
the compatibility of any of its domestic laws with the
aforesaid international instruments.
To each regular session of the General Assembly of the
Organization of American States the Court shall submit, for
the Assembly's consideration, a report on its work during
the previous year. It shall specify, in particular, the
cases in which a state has not complied with its judgments,
making any pertinent recommendations.
Section 3. Procedure
1. Reasons shall be given for the judgment of the Court.
2. If the judgment does not represent in whole or in part
the unanimous opinion of the judges, any judge shall be
entitled to have his dissenting or separate opinion attached
to the judgment.
The judgment of the Court shall be final and not subject to
appeal. In case of disagreement as to the meaning or scope
of the judgment, the Court shall interpret it at the request
of any of the parties, provided the request is made within
ninety days from the date of notification of the judgment.
1. The States Parties to the Convention undertake to comply
with the judgment of the Court in any case to which they are
2. That part of a judgment that stipulates compensatory
damages may be executed in the country concerned in
accordance with domestic procedure governing the execution
of judgments against the state.
The parties to the case shall be notified of the judgment of
the Court and it shall be transmitted to the States Parties
to the Convention.
CHAPTER IX - COMMON PROVISIONS
1. The judges of the Court and the members of the Commission
shall enjoy, from the moment of their election and
throughout their term of office, the immunities extended to
diplomatic agents in accordance with international law.
During the exercise of their official function they shall,
in addition, enjoy the diplomatic privileges necessary for
the performance of their duties.
2. At no time shall the judges of the Court or the members
of the Commission be held liable for any decisions or
opinions issued in the exercise of their functions.
The position of judge of the Court or member of the
Commission is incompatible with any other activity that
might affect the independence or impartiality of such judge
or member, as determined in the respective statutes.
The judges of the Court and the members of the Commission
shall receive emoluments and travel allowances in the form
and under the conditions set forth in their statutes, with
due regard for the importance and independence of their
office. Such emoluments and travel allowances shall be
determined in the budget of the Organization of American
States, which shall also include the expenses of the Court
and its Secretariat. To this end, the Court shall draw up
its own budget and submit it for approval to the General
Assembly through the General Secretariat. The latter may not
introduce any changes in it.
The General Assembly may, only at the request of the
Commission or the Court, as the case may be, determine
sanctions to be applied against members of the Commission or
judges of the Court when there are justifiable grounds for
such action as set forth in the respective statutes. A vote
of a two-thirds majority of the member states of the
Organization shall be required for a decision in the case of
members of the Commission and, in the case of judges of the
Court, a two-thirds majority vote of the States Parties to
the Convention shall also be required.
PART III - GENERAL AND TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
CHAPTER X - SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION, RESERVATIONS,
AMENDMENTS, PROTOCOLS, AND DENUNCIATION
1. This Convention shall be open for signature and
ratification by or adherence of any member state of the
Organization of American States.
2. Ratification of or adherence to this Convention shall be
made by the deposit of an instrument of ratification or
adherence with the General Secretariat of the Organization
of American States. As soon as eleven states have deposited
their instruments of ratification or adherence, the
Convention shall enter into force. With respect to any state
that ratifies or adheres thereafter, the Convention shall
enter into force on the date of the deposit of its
instrument of ratification or adherence.
3. The Secretary General shall inform all member states of
the Organization of the entry into force of the Convention.
This Convention shall be subject to reservations only in
conformity with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on
the Law of Treaties signed on May 23, 1969.
1. Proposals to amend this Convention may be submitted to
the General Assembly for the action it deems appropriate by
any State Party directly, and by the Commission or the Court
through the Secretary General.
2. Amendments shall enter into force for the States
ratifying them on the date when two-thirds of the States
Parties to this Convention have deposited their respective
instruments of ratification. With respect to the other
States Parties, the amendments shall enter into force on the
dates on which they deposit their respective instruments of
1. In accordance with Article 31, any State Party and the
Commission may submit proposed protocols to this Convention
for consideration by the States Parties at the General
Assembly with a view to gradually including other rights and
freedoms within its system of protection.
2. Each protocol shall determine the manner of its entry
into force and shall be applied only among the States
Parties to it.
1. The States Parties may denounce this Convention at the
expiration of a five-year period from the date of its entry
into force and by means of notice given one year in advance.
Notice of the denunciation shall be addressed to the
Secretary General of the Organization, who shall inform the
other States Parties.
2. Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of
releasing the State Party concerned from the obligations
contained in this Convention with respect to any act that
may constitute a violation of those obligations and that has
been taken by that state prior to the effective date of
CHAPTER XI - TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
Section 1. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Upon the entry into force of this Convention, the Secretary
General shall, in writing, request each member state of the
Organization to present, within ninety days, its candidates
for membership on the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights. The Secretary General shall prepare a list in
alphabetical order of the candidates presented, and transmit
it to the member states of the Organization at least thirty
days prior to the next session of the General Assembly.
The members of the Commission shall be elected by secret
ballot of the General Assembly from the list of candidates
referred to in Article 79. The candidates who obtain the
largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the
votes of the representatives of the member states shall be
declared elected. Should it become necessary to have several
ballots in order to elect all the members of the Commission,
the candidates who receive the smallest number of votes
shall be eliminated successively, in the manner determined
by the General Assembly.
Section 2. Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Upon the entry into force of this Convention, the Secretary
General shall, in writing, request each State Party to
present, within ninety days, its candidates for membership
on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Secretary
General shall prepare a list in alphabetical order of the
candidates presented and transmit it to the States Parties
at least thirty days prior to the next session of the
The judges of the Court shall be elected from the list of
candidates referred to in Article 81, by secret ballot of
the States Parties to the Convention in the General
Assembly. The candidates who obtain the largest number of
votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the
representatives of the States Parties shall be declared
elected. Should it become necessary to have several ballots
in order to elect all the judges of the Court, the
candidates who receive the smallest number of votes shall be
eliminated successively, in the manner determined by the