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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), set up with the aim to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere. on the basis of the American Convention on Human Rights.
The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in their personal capacity. Their role is to fulfill the mandate of IACHR, which includes, among others:
- investigating individual petitions in which violations of human rights are alleged to have been committed by a member state of the OAS;
- observing the general situation of human rights in the OAS member states and publishing related reports;
- contributing to raising awareness of human rights among individuals, governments, academic institutions and civil society organisations, through the preparation and publication of reports on specific issues, and the organisation of visits, lectures, seminars and other meetings;
- recommends to the OAS member states the measures they should take the better to protect human rights;
- presenting cases to the Inter-American Court and appearing before the Court during the processing and consideration of cases; and
- receiving and examining communications in which a state alleges that another state has committed a violation of a human right protected under the American Convention.
Throughout its work, the Commission, either in full or through the appointed special rapporteurs, looks into issues related to the applicability of human rights in the digital environment, such as: freedom of expression, privacy and data protection, access to information, etc. For example, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression published, in 2013, a report on freedom of expression and the Internet.