PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
GT/CDI-12/01
Original: Spanish

6 September 2001

Working Group to Study the
Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter 


REPORT OF THE CHAIR OF THE WORKING GROUP
TO STUDY THE DRAFT INTER-AMERICAN
DEMOCRATIC CHARTER

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. BACKGROUND *

1. OAS Charter *

2. Third Summit of the Americas *

3. OAS General Assembly *

4. Thirteenth Andean Presidential Council *

II. PERMANENT COUNCIL *

1. Scope of the mandate *

2. Membership and installation of the Working Group *

3. Convocation of the special session of the General Assembly *

III. WORKING GROUP TO STUDY THE DRAFT INTER-AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC CHARTER *

1. Activities *

2. Election of officers *

3. Inter-American Democratic Charter draft resolution *

4. Reference documents: *

IV. STYLE COMMITTEE *

V. CONCLUSIONS *

Appendix I 11

Appendix II 13

 

 

REPORT OF THE CHAIR OF THE WORKING GROUP
TO STUDY THE DRAFT INTER-AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC CHARTER

As Chair of the Working Group to Study the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter, it is my pleasure to present the following report on the activities and conclusions of that Group.

  1. BACKGROUND

With regard to representative democracy, and without prejudice to pronouncements on this subject by other bodies in the Organization of American States, this Chapter presents a brief summary of the background to the draft Inter-American Democratic Charter.

 

  1. OAS Charter
  2. According to the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), representative democracy is an indispensable condition for the stability, peace, and development of the region and one of the essential purposes of the Organization is the promotion and consolidation of representative democracy with due respect for the principle of nonintervention;

  3. Third Summit of the Americas
  4. The Heads of State and Government of the Americas, gathered at the Third Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City from April 20 to 22, 2001, declared in respect of democracy, inter alia, "that the values and practices of democracy are fundamental to the advancement of all our objectives. The maintenance and strengthening of the rule of law and strict respect for the democratic system are, at the same time, a goal and a shared commitment and are an essential condition of our presence at this and future Summits. Consequently, any unconstitutional alteration or interruption of the democratic order in a state of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of that state’s government in the Summits of the Americas process."

    Accordingly, the Heads of State and Government instructed their "Foreign Ministers to prepare, in the framework of the next General Assembly of the OAS, an Inter-American Democratic Charter to reinforce OAS instruments for the active defense of representative democracy."

  5. OAS General Assembly
  6. During the twenty-first regular session of the General Assembly, held in Santiago, Chile, the ministers of foreign affairs and heads of delegation expressed, in the Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System, their determination to adopt a series of effective, timely, and expeditious procedures to ensure the promotion and defense of representative democracy. Likewise, among the actions to which they assigned priority was the following:

    b. Strengthening representative democracy as an expression of the legitimate and free manifestation of the will of the people, always respecting the sovereignty and independence of member states.

    On that occasion, the General Assembly adopted resolution AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-O/91), which established a mechanism for collective action in the event of a sudden or irregular interruption of the democratic political institutional process or of the legitimate exercise of power by the democratically elected government in any of the Organization’s member states./

    Subsequently, at its twenty-second regular session, held in the Bahamas, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Nassau [AG/DEC. 1 (XXII-O/92)], in which it was agreed to develop mechanisms to provide assistance, when requested by a member state, to promote, preserve, and strengthen representative democracy, in order to complement and give effect to the provisions of resolution AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-O/91) and declared:

    1. Their unwavering and renewed commitment to the strengthening, defense, and promotion of representative democracy and human rights in the Hemisphere, the rule of law within the framework of the principles of self-determination, nonintervention and solidarity enshrined in the OAS Charter.

    In 1993, the General Assembly, held in Nicaragua, adopted the Declaration of Managua for the Promotion of Democracy and Development, AG/DEC. 4 (XXIII-O/93), in which the ministers of foreign affairs and heads of delegation expressed their firm belief that democracy, peace, and development are inseparable and indivisible parts of a renewed and integral vision of solidarity in the Americas; and that the observance of these values will depend on the ability of the Organization to help preserve and strengthen democratic structures in the Hemisphere./.

    Finally, in the Dialogue of Heads of Delegation at its thirtieth regular session, the General Assembly reviewed the draft Inter-American Democratic Charter presented by the delegation of Peru and co-sponsored by the delegations of Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, and the United States.

    Accordingly, the General Assembly adopted resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01), Resolution of San Josť, Costa Rica - Inter-American Democratic Charter, reaffirming the resolve of OAS member states to adopt the Charter in order to promote and consolidate representative democracy as the form of government of all the American states.

  7. Thirteenth Andean Presidential Council

The presidents of the Republics of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and the Chairman of Peru’s Ministerial Council, gathered in the city of Valencia, Venezuela, on the occasion of the Thirteenth Andean Presidential Council, adopted the Act of Carabobo on June 24, 2001, and in numbered paragraph 5:

Drew attention to the importance of the Andean Community’s Commitment to Democracy, which reflects the firm conviction and permanent will of the Andean countries to promote democratic order and the existence of the constitutional state in the Andean region. In that connection, they reiterated their full support for Resolution No. 1838 of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which provides for a Special General Assembly to be held in Lima in regard to the Inter-American Democratic Charter./.

 

  1. PERMANENT COUNCIL

 

 

1. Scope of the mandate

 

Pursuant to the second operative paragraph of "Resolution of San Josť, Costa Rica – Inter-American Democratic Charter" [AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01)], the OAS General Assembly accepts "the attached proposed Inter-American Democratic Charter, which will serve as the base document for final consideration of the Charter by the member states" and instructed the Permanent Council:

3. To strengthen and expand, by September 10, 2001, the proposed Inter-American Democratic Charter, in accordance with the OAS Charter, taking into account any consultations that member state governments may carry out in keeping with their constitutional procedures and democratic practices.

4. To make public the proposed Inter-American Democratic Charter in order to help civil society form an opinion, in accordance with the Guidelines for the Participation of Civil Society Organizations in OAS Activities.

5. To convene a special session of the General Assembly, to be held in Lima, Peru, by no later than September 30, 2001.

 

2. Membership and installation of the Working Group

At its meeting of June 20, 2001, the Permanent Council began its review of resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01) Resolution of San Josť, Costa Rica – Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Then, in order to comply with the mandate conferred by the General Assembly, the Council agreed:

    1. To form and install a working group, open to all delegations, to continue preparing the Inter-American Democratic Charter draft resolution pursuant to resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01);
    2. To continue hearing general statements that delegations might wish to make in the Permanent Council; and
    3. To instruct the Chair of the Permanent Council to present, after consulting the delegations, a timetable for reviewing the draft Inter-American Democratic Charter.

At that meeting the Chair of the Working Group was elected by acclamation.

At its meeting of June 27, 2001, the Permanent Council considered the report presented by the Chair of the Permanent Council, Ambassador HernŠn R. Castro, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, on the timetable for consideration of AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01).

After listening to the comments made by delegations on the aforementioned timetable, the Permanent Council decided to adopt it, as follows:

Preliminary considerations:

This draft timetable is based on the following considerations:

    1. Resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01) accepted the draft appended to it as a base document for final consideration by the member states.
    2. It set September 10, 2001 as the deadline for the work of the Permanent Council.
    3. It resolved to take into account consultations that governments may carry out in keeping with their constitutional procedures as well the opinions of civil society.

 

Thus the timetable envisages a brief period of general debate in early July to allow all states an opportunity to make a preliminary statement regarding the base document, a second phase of consultations, a period in which to prepare the material arising out of those consultations in order to rationalize the work of the Council, and a final phase of intense discussion prior to the special session of the General Assembly.

With these considerations in mind, the Chair proposed the following:

Proposal

Preliminary discussion

The Council will listen to preliminary statements on the base document on July 11.

Consultations:

Governments may conduct the consultations referred to in resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01) until August 10, 2001.

A Permanent Council internet portal will be available as of July 9 to receive civil society opinions. The deadline for submitting those opinions shall be August 10, 2001.

Preparation of material:

The General Secretariat team will finish classifying, tabulating, and organizing the relevant material by no later than August 14, 2001.

Debate:

The period for intensive debate will be between August 15 and August 29, 2001.

Debate will proceed as follows: The Council will act as a working group open to all the permanent missions. Once the discussion of each chapter has concluded, the Council will be convened to give its formal approval.

Support:

During the deliberations, the Council may consult the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI) and the Secretariat for Legal Affairs in respect of any concerns or doubts that might arise in the course of debate, with regard to the respective texts.

Accordingly, on August 9, 2001, the Chair of the Permanent Council transmitted a note to the Chair of the Inter-American Juridical Committee inviting that body to support the deliberations of the Working Group to Study the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter in any way it deemed appropriate.

3. Convocation of the special session of the General Assembly

Pursuant to the General Assembly mandate contained in resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01), and bearing in mind Article 58 of the Charter of the Organization of American States, Article 47 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, and Article 70 of the Rules of Procedure of the Permanent Council, the Permanent Council adopted resolution CP/RES. 793 (1283/01), the operative paragraph of which resolves:

To convene the twenty-eighth special session of the General Assembly, to be held in Lima, Peru, on September 10, 2001, in keeping with resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01), in order to adopt the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

On June 24, 2001, the Permanent Mission of Peru transmitted a note to the Chair of the Permanent Council advising him that on instructions of the Government of Peru and for logistical and infrastructure-related reasons, the special session of the General Assembly would begin with an inaugural session on Monday, September 10 and conclude on Tuesday, September 11.

 

 

  1. WORKING GROUP TO STUDY THE DRAFT INTER-AMERICAN
    DEMOCRATIC CHARTER

 

1. Activities

 

The Working Group to Study the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter, on the basis of the mandate conferred by the Permanent Council, held eleven working sessions. It began with Rev.7 appended to resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01), which had been accepted by the General Assembly "as the base document for final consideration by the member states"/.

 

The working sessions were held on August 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31, 2001, exactly as scheduled.

 

Likewise, the Group adhered to the timetable adopted by the Permanent Council at its meeting of June 27, 2001 (CP/doc.3497/01 rev. 1).

2. Election of officers

At its first meeting, held on August 15, the Working Group elected Ambassador Lionel Alexander Hurst, Permanent Representative of Antigua y Barbuda and Ambassador Juan Manuel Castulovich, Permanent Representative of Panama, by acclamation, as Vice Chairs of the Working Group.

Working procedures were agreed on at the same meeting, which also took note of the main issues raised by the delegation in their general statements, such as: the purpose of the document, which should contain preventive, dissuasive, and effective elements; the legal status of the document, bearing in mind the principle of the progressive development of public international law; the essential elements of democracy, with agreement on a minimal characterization of the concept; graduality of the sanctions mechanism and an early warning mechanism, inter alia.

 

It was also agreed to address topics such as gender equity, education, the environment, corruption, sustainable development, and the link between democracy and extreme poverty.

A subgroup of the Working Group, chaired by Ambassador Juan Manuel Castulovich, Permanent Representative of Panama and Vice Chair of the Working Group, was established to consider and prepare the text referring to poverty.

3. Inter-American Democratic Charter draft resolution

At its meeting of August 31, 2001, the Working Group completed the "Inter-American Democratic Charter" draft resolution, thereby fulfilling the mandate conferred on it by resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01) of the Permanent Council.

In its preamble, the draft resolution transcribes the concept of representative democracy contemplated in the OAS Charter; recognizes the contributions of the OAS and other organizations to the promotion of democracy; recalls the instructions of the Heads of State and Government gathered at the Third Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City, Canada; reaffirms the principle that the fight against extreme poverty is essential to the promotion and consolidation of democracy; refers to the values and principles of liberty, equality, and social justice as being intrinsic to democracy; and reaffirms that the promotion and protection of human rights is a basic prerequisite for the existence of a democratic society.

 

The preamble also recognizes that a safe environment is essential to the integral development of the human being; refers to the Protocol of San Salvador on economic, social, and cultural rights; recognizes workers’ rights; and takes into account the principles enshrined in the Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System, in resolution AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-O/91), in the Declaration of Nassau, and in the Declaration of Managua for the Promotion of Democracy and Development, inter alia.

The draft resolution proposes adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter consisting of 28 articles divided into the following chapters:

Chapter I: Democracy and the Inter-American System

Chapter II: Democracy and Human Rights

Chapter III: Democracy, Integral Development, and Combating Poverty

Chapter IV: Strengthening and Preservation of Democratic Institutions

Chapter V: Democracy and Electoral Observation Missions

Article VI: Promotion of a Democratic Culture

4. Reference documents:

 

The Working Group had the following reference documents at its disposal:

      1. Charter of the Organization of American States,
      2. Declaration and the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas (Quebec City, 2001)
      3. Table comparing texts taken from the Inter-American Democratic Charter draft resolution rev. 7, the OAS Charter, and resolution AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-O/91) on Representative Democracy (GT/CDI-1/01).
      4. Comments and proposals of member states with respect to the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter: Antigua and Barbuda (GT/CDI-2/01); Canada (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 1); Peru (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 2); Suriname (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 3, 3-a); Haiti (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 4); Chile (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 5); Saint Lucia (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 6); Ecuador (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 7); Colombia (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 8); Venezuela (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 9); El Salvador (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 10); Costa Rica (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 11); Dominican Republic (GT/CDI-2/01 add. 12)
      5. General observations of member states on the consultation of the Inter-American Juridical Committee: Uruguay (GT/CDI-3/01); Ecuador (GT/CDI-3/01 add. 1); El Salvador (GT/CDI-3/01 add. 2); Honduras (GT/CDI-3/01 add. 3); Mexico (GT/CDI-3/01 add. 4); Costa Rica (GT/CDI-3/01 add. 5); Paraguay (GT/CDI-3/01 add. 6)
      6. Civil society comments and opinions conveyed to the General Secretariat regarding the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter (GT/CDI-5/01 and GT/CDI-5/01 add. 1)
      7. Table comparing the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter (rev. 10) with the proposals, amendments, and comments presented by member states (GT/CDI-6/01 rev. 1)
      8. Observations and comments of the Inter-American Juridical Committee on the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter (GT/CDI-7/01)
      9. Declaration of Ambassador Odeen Ishmael, Permanent Representative of Guyana, during study of the Draft Inter-American Democratic Culture (GT/CDI-9/01)

 

  1. STYLE COMMITTEE
  2. At its meeting of August 14, 2001, after considering the report of the Chair of the Style Committee of the thirty-first regular session of the General Assembly, the Permanent Council agreed to approve the recommendations put forward by the Committee regarding the formation of a style committee for the twenty-eighth special session of the General Assembly that, in accordance with Article 28 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, would revise the text of the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter before presenting it for consideration by the aforementioned special session of the General Assembly.

    The Committee comprised the delegations of Canada for the French text, Brazil for Portuguese, the United States for English, and Costa Rica and Colombia for Spanish.

    The Committee met on September 4, 2001, chaired by Ambassador Luis Guardia, Alternate Representative of Costa Rica. In addition to the members of the Committee, the delegations of Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic also attended the Style Committee meeting.

    Acting within its sphere of competence, the Committee corrected stylistic errors in the draft in question, harmonizing the texts in the official languages of the Organization. Adjustment of Article 19 of the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter to the other languages was left, pending a consultation with the delegation of Belize.

    The draft approved by the Working Group and revised by the Style Committee is attached to this report.

     

  3. CONCLUSIONS

 

In conclusion, and on behalf of the members of the Working Group, I hereby remit for the consideration of the Permanent Council the Draft Inter-American Democratic Charter, as an attachment to this report (GT/CDI-11/01), in order for it to be submitted, pursuant to resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01), for the information and consideration of the General Assembly at its twenty-eighth special session.

Ambassador Humberto de la Calle Lombana
Permanent Representative of Colombia
Chair of the Working Group

 

AppendiX I

OEA/Ser.G
CP/RES. 793 (1283/01)
27 June 2001
Original: Spanish

CP/RES. 793 (1283/01)

CONVOCATION OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH SPECIAL
SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,

HAVING SEEN Article 58 of the Charter of the Organization of American States, Article 47 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, Article 43 of the Statutes of the Permanent Council, and Article 70 of the Rules of Procedure of the Permanent Council;

 

BEARING IN MIND that resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01) reaffirmed the resolve of all the OAS member states to adopt an Inter-American Democratic Charter for the purpose of promoting and consolidating representative democracy as the system of government of all American states; and

 

CONSIDERING that resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01) instructed the Permanent Council to convene a special session of the General Assembly to be held in Lima, Peru, no later than September 30, 2001,

 

RESOLVES:

 

To convene the twenty-eighth special session of the General Assembly, to be held in Lima, Peru, on September 10, 2001, for the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in keeping with resolution AG/RES. 1838 (XXXI-O/01).

 

Appendix II

 

PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE OEA/Ser.G

ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES GT/CDI-11/01

4 September 2001

Working Group to Study the Original: Spanish

Draft Inter-American Democratic Chart

 

DRAFT RESOLUTION
INTER-AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC CHARTER
(Approved by the Working Group at its meeting of August 31, 2001
and revised by the Style Committee on September 4, 2001)

 

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States recognizes that representative democracy is indispensable for the stability, peace, and development of the region, and that one of the purposes of the OAS is to promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention;

RECOGNIZING the contributions of the OAS and other regional and sub-regional mechanisms to the promotion and consolidation of democracy in the Americas;

RECALLING that the Heads of State and Government of the Americas, gathered at the Third Summit of the Americas, held from April 20 to 22, 2001 in Quebec City, adopted a democracy clause which establishes that any unconstitutional alteration or interruption of the democratic order in a state of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of that state's government in the Summits of the Americas process;

BEARING IN MIND that existing democratic provisions in regional and subregional mechanisms express the same objectives as the democracy clause adopted by the Heads of State and Government in Quebec City;

 

REAFFIRMING that the participatory nature of democracy in our countries in different aspects of public life contributes to the consolidation of democratic values and to freedom and solidarity in the Hemisphere;

 

CONSIDERING that solidarity among and cooperation between American states require the political organization of those states based on the effective exercise of representative democracy, and that economic growth and social development based on justice and equity, and democracy are interdependent and mutually reinforcing;

 

REAFFIRMING that the fight against poverty, and especially the elimination of extreme poverty, is essential to the promotion and consolidation of democracy and constitutes a common and shared responsibility of the American states;

 

BEARING IN MIND that the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights contain the values and principles of liberty, equality, and social justice that are intrinsic to democracy;

 

REAFFIRMING that the promotion and protection of human rights is a basic prerequisite for the existence of a democratic society, and recognizing the importance of the continuous development and strengthening of the inter-American human rights system for the consolidation of democracy;

 

CONSIDERING that education is an effective way to promote citizens’ awareness concerning their own countries and thereby achieve meaningful participation in the decision-making process, and reaffirming the importance of human resource development for a sound democratic system;

 

RECOGNIZING that a safe environment is essential to the integral development of the human being, which contributes to democracy and political stability;

 

BEARING IN MIND that the Protocol of San Salvador on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights emphasizes the great importance of the reaffirmation, development, improvement, and protection of those rights in order to consolidate the system of representative democratic government;

 

RECOGNIZING that the right of workers to associate themselves freely for the defense and promotion of their interests is fundamental to the fulfillment of democratic ideals;

 

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that, in the Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System, the ministers of foreign affairs expressed their determination to adopt a series of effective, timely, and expeditious procedures to ensure the promotion and defense of representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention; and that resolution AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-O/91) therefore established a mechanism for collective action in the case of a sudden or irregular interruption of the democratic political institutional process or of the legitimate exercise of power by the democratically elected government in any of the Organization's member states, thereby fulfilling a long-standing aspiration of the Hemisphere to be able to respond rapidly and collectively in defense of democracy;

 

RECALLING that, in the Declaration of Nassau [AG/DEC. 1 (XXII-O/92)], it was agreed to develop mechanisms to provide assistance, when requested by a member state, to promote, preserve, and strengthen representative democracy, in order to complement and give effect to the provisions of resolution AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-O/91);

 

BEARING IN MIND that, in the Declaration of Managua for the Promotion of Democracy and Development [AG/DEC. 4 (XXIII-O/93)], the member states expressed their firm belief that democracy, peace, and development are inseparable and indivisible parts of a renewed and integral vision of solidarity in the Americas; and that the ability of the Organization to help preserve and strengthen democratic structures in the region will depend on the implementation of a strategy based on the interdependence and complementarity of those values;

 

CONSIDERING that, in the Declaration of Managua for the Promotion of Democracy and Development, the member states expressed their conviction that the Organization’s mission is not limited to the defense of democracy wherever its fundamental values and principles have collapsed, but also calls for ongoing and creative work to consolidate democracy as well as a continuing effort to prevent and anticipate the very causes of the problems that affect the democratic system of government;

BEARING IN MIND that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Americas, at the thirty-first regular session of the General Assembly, held in San Jose, Costa Rica, in keeping with express instructions from the Heads of State and Government gathered at the Third Summit of the Americas, in Quebec City, accepted the base document of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and entrusted the Permanent Council of the Organization with strengthening and expanding the document, in accordance with the OAS Charter, for final adoption at a special session of the General Assembly in Lima, Peru;

 

RECOGNIZING that all the rights and obligations of member states under the OAS Charter represent the foundation on which democratic principles in the Hemisphere are built; and

 

BEARING IN MIND the progressive development of international law and the advisability of clarifying the provisions set forth in the OAS Charter and related basic instruments on the preservation and defense of democratic institutions, according to established practice,

 

RESOLVES:

 

To adopt the following:

 

 

INTER-AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC CHARTER

 

 

I

Democracy and the Inter-American System

 

Article 1

 

The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it.

 

Democracy is essential for the social, political, and economic development of the peoples of the Americas.

 

Article 2

 

The effective exercise of representative democracy is the basis for the rule of law and of the constitutional regimes of the member states of the Organization of American States. Representative democracy is strengthened and deepened by permanent, ethical, and responsible participation of the citizenry within a legal framework conforming to the respective constitutional order.

 

Article 3

 

Essential elements of representative democracy include, inter alia, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to and the exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law, the holding of periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret balloting and universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people, the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations, and the separation of powers and independence of the branches of government.

 

Article 4

 

Transparency in government activities, probity, responsible public administration on the part of governments, respect for social rights, and freedom of expression and of the press are essential components of the exercise of democracy.

 

The constitutional subordination of all state institutions to the legally constituted civilian authority and respect for the rule of law on the part of all institutions and sectors of society are equally essential to democracy.

 

Article 5

 

The strengthening of political parties and other political organizations is a priority for democracy. Special attention will be paid to the problems associated with the high cost of election campaigns and the establishment of a balanced and transparent system for their financing.

 

Article 6

 

It is the right and responsibility of all citizens to participate in decisions relating to their own development. This is also a necessary condition for the full and effective exercise of democracy. Promoting and fostering diverse forms of participation strengthens democracy.

 

 

II

Democracy and Human Rights

 

Article 7

 

Democracy is indispensable for the effective exercise of fundamental freedoms and human rights in their universality, indivisibility and interdependence, embodied in the respective constitutions of states and in inter-American and international human rights instruments.

 

Article 8

 

Any person or group of persons who consider that their human rights have been violated may present claims or petitions to the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights in accordance with its established procedures.

 

Member states reaffirm their intention to strengthen the inter-American system for the protection of human rights for the consolidation of democracy in the Hemisphere.

 

Article 9

 

The elimination of all forms of discrimination, especially gender, ethnic and race discrimination, as well as diverse forms of intolerance, the promotion and protection of human rights of indigenous peoples and migrants, and respect for ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in the Americas contribute to strengthening democracy and citizen participation.

 

Article 10

 

The promotion and strengthening of democracy requires the full and effective exercise of workers’ rights and the application of core labor standards, as recognized in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and its Follow-up, adopted in 1998, as well as other related fundamental ILO conventions. Democracy is strengthened by improving standards in the workplace and enhancing the quality of life for workers in the Hemisphere.

 

 

III

Democracy, Integral Development, and Combating Poverty

 

Article 11

 

Democracy and social and economic development are interdependent and are mutually reinforcing.

 

Article 12

 

Poverty, illiteracy, and low levels of human development are factors that adversely affect the consolidation of democracy. The OAS member states are committed to adopting and implementing all those actions required to generate productive employment, reduce poverty, and eradicate extreme poverty, taking into account the different economic realities and conditions of the countries of the Hemisphere. This shared commitment regarding the problems associated with development and poverty also underscores the importance of maintaining macroeconomic equilibria and the obligation to strengthen social cohesion and democracy.

 

Article 13

 

The promotion and observance of economic, social, and cultural rights are inherently linked to integral development, equitable economic growth, and to the consolidation of democracy in the states of the Hemisphere.

 

Article 14

 

Member states agree to review periodically the actions adopted and carried out by the Organization to promote dialogue, cooperation for integral development, and the fight against poverty in the Hemisphere, and to take the appropriate measures to further these objectives.

 

Article 15

 

The exercise of democracy promotes the preservation and good stewardship of the environment. It is essential that the states of the Hemisphere implement policies and strategies to protect the environment, including application of various treaties and conventions, to achieve sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.

 

Article 16

 

Education is key to strengthening democratic institutions, promoting the development of human potential, and alleviating poverty and fostering greater understanding among our peoples. To achieve these ends, it is essential that a quality education be available to all, including girls and women, rural inhabitants, and minorities.

 

 

IV

Strengthening and Preservation of Democratic Institutions

 

Article 17

 

When the government of a member state considers that its democratic political institutional process or its legitimate exercise of power is at risk, it may request assistance from the Secretary General or the Permanent Council for the strengthening and preservation of its democratic system.

 

Article 18

 

When situations arise in a member state that may affect the development of its democratic political institutional process or the legitimate exercise of power, the Secretary General or the Permanent Council may, with prior consent of the government concerned, arrange for visits or other actions in order to analyze the situation. The Secretary General will submit a report to the Permanent Council, which will undertake a collective assessment of the situation and, where necessary, may adopt decisions for the preservation of the democratic system and its strengthening.

 

Article 19

 

Based on the principles of the Charter of the OAS and subject to its norms, and in accordance with the democracy clause contained in the Declaration of Quebec City, an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order or an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state, constitutes, while it persists, an insurmountable obstacle to its government’s participation in sessions of the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation, the Councils of the Organization, the specialized conferences, the commissions, working groups, and other bodies of the Organization.

 

Article 20

 

In the event of an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state, any member state or the Secretary General may request the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council to undertake a collective assessment of the situation and to take such decisions as it deems appropriate.

 

The Permanent Council, depending on the situation, may undertake the necessary diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, to foster the restoration of democracy.

 

If such diplomatic initiatives prove unsuccessful, or if the urgency of the situation so warrants, the Permanent Council shall immediately convene a special session of the General Assembly. The General Assembly will adopt the decisions it deems appropriate, including the undertaking of diplomatic initiatives, in accordance with the Charter of the Organization, international law, and the provisions of this Democratic Charter.

 

The necessary diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, to foster the restoration of democracy, will continue during the process.

 

Article 21

 

When the special session of the General Assembly determines that there has been an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order of a member state, and that diplomatic initiatives have failed, the special session shall take the 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 states in accordance with the Charter of the OAS. The suspension shall take effect immediately.

 

The suspended member state shall continue to fulfill its obligations to the Organization, in particular its human rights obligations.

 

Notwithstanding the suspension of the member state, the Organization will maintain diplomatic initiatives to restore democracy in that state.

 

Article 22

 

Once the situation that led to suspension has been resolved, any member state or the Secretary General may propose to the General Assembly that suspension be lifted. This decision shall require the vote of two thirds of the member states in accordance with the OAS Charter.

 

 

V

Democracy and Electoral Observation Missions

Article 23

 

Member states are responsible for organizing, conducting, and ensuring free and fair electoral processes.

 

Member states, in the exercise of their sovereignty, may request that the Organization of American States provide advisory services or assistance for strengthening and developing their electoral institutions and processes, including sending preliminary missions for that purpose.

 

Article 24

 

The electoral observation missions shall be carried out at the request of the member state concerned. To that end, the government of that state and the Secretary General shall enter into an agreement establishing the scope and coverage of the electoral observation mission in question. The member state shall guarantee conditions of security, free access to information, and full cooperation with the electoral observation mission.

 

Electoral observation missions shall be carried out in accordance with the principles and norms of the OAS. The Organization shall ensure that these missions are effective and independent and shall provide them with the necessary resources for that purpose. They shall be conducted in an objective, impartial, and transparent manner and with the appropriate technical expertise.

Electoral observation missions shall present a report on their activities in a timely manner to the Permanent Council, through the General Secretariat.

Article 25

The electoral observation missions shall advise the Permanent Council, through the General Secretariat, if the necessary conditions for free and fair elections do not exist.

The Organization may, with the consent of the state concerned, send special missions with a view to creating or improving said conditions.

 

VI

Promotion of a Democratic Culture

Article 26

The OAS will continue to carry out programs and activities designed to promote democratic principles and practices and strengthen a democratic culture in the Hemisphere, bearing in mind that democracy is a way of life based on liberty and enhancement of economic, social, and cultural conditions for the peoples of the Americas. The OAS will consult and cooperate on an ongoing basis with member states and take into account the contributions of civil society organizations working in those fields.

Article 27

The objectives of the programs and activities will be to promote good governance, sound administration, democratic values, and the strengthening of political institutions and civil society organizations. Special attention shall be given to the development of programs and activities for the education of children and youth as a means of ensuring the continuance of democratic values, including liberty and social justice.

Article 28

States shall promote the full and equal participation of women in the political structures of their countries as a fundamental element in the promotion and exercise of a democratic culture.