Nº 18/01



Today Dr. Santiago A. Canton took up the post of Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS).  He replaces Ambassador Jorge Taiana, who completed a five-year term.  Since November of 1998, Dr. Santiago A. Canton had been Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR. 

Dr. Canton, who is a citizen of Argentina, studied Law at the University of Buenos Aires and obtained a Masters in International Law from the Washington College of Law at the American University in Washington, D.C.  In 1998 he was Director of Public Information of the OAS.  From 1994 to 1998 he was Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). 

On taking up his appointment, Dr. Canton expressed his desire to contribute to “strengthening the Inter-American Commission’s mechanisms for the protection and promotion of the human rights of all the inhabitants of the Americas.”  He also referred to the importance that the IACHR will continue to attach to the defense of the right to freedom of expression.  He said:  “Ample freedom of expression for all the inhabitants of the Hemisphere continues to be essential for sustaining democratic systems and full respect for human rights.”  

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is a principal and autonomous organ of the OAS.  Together with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica, it is one of the two bodies in the inter-American system for the protection and promotion of human rights in the Americas.  The IACHR acts on behalf of all member states of the OAS and derives its mandate from the Charter of the OAS and the American Convention on Human Rights. 

Washington, D.C., August 1, 2001