The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is one of two institutions that promote and protect human rights within the Organization of American States (OAS) and its 35 member countries. In carrying out its mandate, the IACHR observes, investigates and reports on the general human rights situation in member states.
The IACHR cannot hear complaints (called ‘petitions’) concerning human rights violations perpetrated by corporations and their agents. However, a number of decisions by the Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have established that OAS member states have a responsibility to ensure third parties such as corporations do not violate human rights.
In serious and urgent situations, the IACHR can request a member state to undertake ‘precautionary measures’ to prevent irreparable harm to any person or group of people experiencing human rights violations. The IACHR also holds thematic hearings, conferences and other meetings on priority human rights issues.