IFEX, the global network that defends and promotes freedom of expression, congratulates Uruguayan lawyer and journalist Edison Lanza on his selection as the next Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Lanza has been appointed for a three-year term and will take office on 6 October 2014.
The office of the Special Rapporteur is mandated to carry out activities that protect and promote the right to freedom of thought and expression in the region. These include advising the IACHR on cases of journalists in danger, conducting site visits of member states of the Organization of American States (OAS), promoting legislative, judicial and other measures to strengthen support for free expression, and producing thematic reports on key issues.
Lanza brings a wealth of relevant experience to this role. He is co-founder and current president of the Montevideo-based Center for Archives and Access to Public Information (CAinfo), which is a member of the IFEX network and of IFEX-ALC, a regional alliance of IFEX members in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has worked as a journalist and as a consultant for international organisations working in the area of freedom of expression, such as UNESCO and the United Nations Special Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression.
To select a replacement for the current Special Rapporteur, Catalina Botero, whose mandate ends 6 October 2014, the IACHR sent out a call for applications in December 2013. During May, civil society was invited to submit their comments on the six finalists, who were then interviewed on 22 July in Washington D.C. In their statement on Lanza's appointment, the IACHR noted “the wide support that his candidacy received during the consultation process, expressed by civil society organizations of numerous countries in the region.”
"IFEX members have seen first-hand how the work of the Special Rapporteurs can make a powerful contribution to constructive dialogue and focussed, effective action around free expression."
Annie Game, IFEX Executive Director
The work of the Special Rapporteur is central to the state of free expression in the Americas, and, as was noted by the IFEX-ALC, “has contributed to a consolidation of democracy in the region”.
IFEX thanks Catalina Botero for the important contribution she has made to free expression in the Americas during her six-year tenure. We look forward to continued collaboration with both the Rapporteur's Office and Edison Lanza.