Forum Keynote Speaker

Javier Vasquez

For more than 15 years, Javier Vasquez has practiced international human rights law with particular emphasis on reproductive rights, the rights of indigenous peoples and disability rights, among others. Currently, he is the Human Rights Law Advisor with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).  He advises PAHO Member States, civil society, multilateral organizations, universities and international/regional treaty bodies (such as the IACHR) on human rights issues and strategies to promote and protect the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and other related human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons in situation of vulnerability; and on the formulation/review of national laws, policies, programs, services and plans in a manner consistent with international and regional human rights instruments such as the American Convention on Human Rights, the case law of the IACHR and the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

His current tasks also include formulating the annual PAHO/WHO strategic plans,  objectives and budget on human rights; designing relevant products, services and indicators; drafting inter-governmental resolutions and planning and conducting capacity building consultations and presentations for mainstreaming human rights in PAHO/WHO’s Secretariat and countries in relation to: women, LGBTI groups, persons deprived of liberty, young people, children, older persons, persons living with HIV, racial discrimination, gender identities and access to medicines/technologies (among others).  Javier Vasquez has conducted official visits to 28 countries in North, Central, South America and the Caribbean and participated in the negotiations/formulation of several international/regional human rights treaties and standards.

He is a national of Panama, fully bilingual in Spanish and English, with excellent legal drafting skills in both languages.  He was selected in 1997 by the IACHR as a Romulo Gallegos Fellow and has negotiated several human rights grants with donors such as Norway, Sweden, Spain, Colgate Palmolive, Georgetown University (Law Center) and American University.  As part of his current position, Javier Vasquez is also involved in the selection of personnel, formulation of job descriptions for human rights positions and supervision of human rights advisors, specialists, consultants and PAHO/WHO’s country focal points.