September 11, 2001
FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE AMERICAS ADOPT
INTER-AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC CHARTER, BY ACCLAMATION
The Hemispheres Foreign Ministers by acclamation today adopted the
Inter-American Democratic Charter, a new tool designed to bolster Organization of American
States (OAS) mechanisms to promote democracy while defending it against all threats.
Meeting in plenary session in Lima, with Perus Foreign Affairs Minister Diego
García Sayán presiding, the 28th special session of the OAS General Assembly
opened its deliberations with the approval of the document, after which the Foreign
Ministers and other heads of delegation made general statements.
Central to the five-chapter charter is democracy and its relationship to human
rights, integral development and the war on poverty.
The main purpose of this democracy charter is to strengthen and preserve the
democratic system. Its clauses include a
provision stating that any unconstitutional alteration or disruption of the democratic
order in a member state constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to
participation of that states government in various forums of the OAS.
In that context, and under the terms of the Charter of the OAS itself, the General
Assembly would convene a special session and, after determining that democracy has been
disrupted, it would take a decision to suspend said member state from the exercise
of its right to participate in the OAS, by an affirmative vote of two thirds of the member
The Inter-American Democratic Charter approved
in the Peruvian capital stems from a mandate from the Third Summit of the Americas held
last April in Quebec City, Canada, at the initiative of the then transitional government
of Peru. A draft Charter was submitted
to the regular session of the OAS General Assembly in San José, Costa Rica, last June,
when a decision taken to form a working group to expand and strengthen the document. Colombias Ambassador to the OAS, Humberto de
la Calle, chaired that working group.