amended by the Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the Organization of
American States "Protocol of Buenos Aires", signed on February 27, 1967,
at the Third Special Inter-American Conference,
by the Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the Organization of
American States "Protocol of Cartagena de Indias", approved on December 5,
1985, at the Fourteenth Special Session of the General Assembly,
Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the Organization of American
States "Protocol of Washington", approved on December 14, 1992, at the
Sixteenth Special Session of the General Assembly,
and by the Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the
Organization of American States "Protocol of Managua", adopted on June 10,
1993, at the Nineteenth Special Session of the General Assembly.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHARTER OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES *
IN THE NAME OF THEIR PEOPLES, THE STATES REPRESENTED AT THE NINTH
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN STATES,
Convinced that the historic mission of America is to offer to man a
land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his
personality and the realization of his just aspirations;
Conscious that that mission has already inspired
numerous agreements, whose essential value lies in the desire of the
American peoples to live together in peace and, through their mutual
understanding and respect for the sovereignty of each one, to provide for
the betterment of all, in independence, in equality and under law;
Convinced that representative democracy is an
indispensable condition for the stability, peace and development of the
Confident that the true significance of American
solidarity and good neighborliness can only mean the consolidation on this
continent, within the framework of democratic institutions, of a system of
individual liberty and social justice based on respect for the essential
rights of man;
Persuaded that their welfare and their
contribution to the progress and the civilization of the world will
increasingly require intensive continental cooperation;
Resolved to persevere in the noble undertaking
that humanity has conferred upon the United Nations, whose principles and
purposes they solemnly reaffirm;
Convinced that juridical organization is a
necessary condition for security and peace founded on moral order and on
In accordance with Resolution IX of the
Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, held in Mexico
upon the following
CHARTER OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
NATURE AND PURPOSES
American States establish by this Charter the international organization
that they have developed to achieve an order of peace and justice, to
promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend
their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.
Within the United Nations, the Organization of American States is a
Organization of American States has no powers other than those expressly
conferred upon it by this Charter, none of whose provisions authorizes it
to intervene in matters that are within the internal jurisdiction of the
Organization of American States, in order to put into practice the
principles on which it is founded and to fulfill its regional obligations
under the Charter of the United Nations, proclaims the following essential
a) To strengthen the peace and security of the continent;
b) To promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due
respect for the principle of nonintervention;
c) To prevent possible causes of difficulties and to ensure the
pacific settlement of disputes that may arise among the Member States;
d) To provide for common action on the part of those States in the
event of aggression;
e) To seek the solution of political, juridical, and economic problems
that may arise among them;
f) To promote, by cooperative action, their economic, social, and
g) To eradicate extreme poverty, which constitutes an obstacle to the
full democratic development of the peoples of the hemisphere; and
h) To achieve an effective limitation of conventional weapons that
will make it possible to devote the largest amount of resources to the
economic and social development of the Member States.
American States reaffirm the following principles:
a) International law is the standard of conduct of States in their
b) International order consists essentially of respect for the
personality, sovereignty, and independence of States, and the faithful
fulfillment of obligations derived from treaties and other sources of
c) Good faith shall govern the relations between States;
d) The solidarity of the American States and the high aims which are
sought through it require the political organization of those States on
the basis of the effective exercise of representative democracy;
e) Every State has the right to choose, without external interference,
its political, economic, and social system and to organize itself in the
way best suited to it, and has the duty to abstain from intervening in the
affairs of another State. Subject to the foregoing, the American States
shall cooperate fully among themselves, independently of the nature of
their political, economic, and social systems;
f) The elimination of extreme poverty is an essential part of the
promotion and consolidation of representative democracy and is the common
and shared responsibility of the American States;
g) The American States condemn war of aggression: victory does not
h) An act of aggression against one American State is an act of
aggression against all the other American States;
i) Controversies of an international character arising between two or
more American States shall be settled by peaceful procedures;
j) Social justice and social security are bases of lasting peace;
k) Economic cooperation is essential to the common welfare and
prosperity of the peoples of the continent;
l) The American States proclaim the fundamental rights of the
individual without distinction as to race, nationality, creed, or sex;
m) The spiritual unity of the continent is based on respect for the
cultural values of the American countries and requires their close
cooperation for the high purposes of civilization;
n) The education of peoples should be directed toward justice,
freedom, and peace.
American States that ratify the present Charter are Members of the
new political entity that arises from the union of several Member States
and that, as such, ratifies the present Charter, shall become a Member of
the Organization. The entry of the new political entity into the
Organization shall result in the loss of membership of each one of the
States which constitute it
other independent American State that desires to become a Member of the
Organization should so indicate by means of a note addressed to the
Secretary General, in which it declares that it is willing to sign and
ratify the Charter of the Organization and to accept all the obligations
inherent in membership, especially those relating to collective security
expressly set forth in Articles 28 and 29 of the Charter.
General Assembly, upon the recommendation of the Permanent Council of the
Organization, shall determine whether it is appropriate that the Secretary
General be authorized to permit the applicant State to sign the Charter
and to accept the deposit of the corresponding instrument of ratification.
Both the recommendation of the Permanent Council and the decision of the
General Assembly shall require the affirmative vote of two thirds of the
Membership in the Organization shall be confined to independent
States of the Hemisphere that were Members of the United Nations as of
December 10, 1985, and the non autonomous territories mentioned in document
OEA/Ser. P, AG/doc.1939/85, of November 5, 1985, when they become
Member of the Organization whose democratically constituted government has
been overthrown by force may be suspended from the exercise of the right
to participate in the sessions of the General Assembly, the Meeting of
Consultation, the Councils of the Organization and the Specialized
Conferences as well as in the commissions, working groups and any other
a) The power to suspend shall be exercised only when such diplomatic
initiatives undertaken by the Organization for the purpose of promoting
the restoration of representative democracy in the affected Member State
have been unsuccessful;
b) The decision to suspend shall be adopted at a special session of
the General Assembly by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Member
c) The suspension shall take effect immediately following its approval
by the General Assembly;
d) The suspension notwithstanding, the Organization shall endeavor to
undertake additional diplomatic initiatives to contribute to the
re-establishment of representative democracy in the affected Member State;
e) The Member which has been subject to suspension shall continue to
fulfill its obligations to the Organization;
f) The General Assembly may lift the suspension by a decision adopted
with the approval of two-thirds of the Member States;
g) The powers referred to in this article shall be exercised in
accordance with this Charter.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF STATES
States are juridically equal, enjoy equal rights and equal capacity
to exercise these rights, and have equal duties. The rights of each State
depend not upon its power to ensure the exercise thereof, but upon the
mere fact of its existence as a person under international law.
Every American State has the duty to respect the rights enjoyed by
every other State in accordance with international law.
fundamental rights of States may not be impaired in any manner whatsoever.
political existence of the State is independent of recognition by other
States. Even before being recognized, the State has the right to defend
its integrity and independence, to provide for its preservation and
prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit, to
legislate concerning its interests, to administer its services, and to
determine the jurisdiction and competence of its courts. The exercise of
these rights is limited only by the exercise of the rights of other States
in accordance with international law.
Recognition implies that the State granting it accepts the
personality of the new State, with all the rights and duties that
international law prescribes for the two States.
right of each State to protect itself and to live its own life does not
authorize it to commit unjust acts against another State.
jurisdiction of States within the limits of their national territory is
exercised equally over all the inhabitants, whether nationals or aliens.
Each State has the right to develop its cultural, political, and
economic life freely and naturally. In this free development, the State
shall respect the rights of the individual and the principles of universal
Respect for and the faithful observance of treaties constitute
standards for the development of peaceful relations among States.
International treaties and agreements should be public.
State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or
indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs
of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force
but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the
personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural
State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or
political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State
and obtain from it advantages of any kind.
territory of a State is inviolable; it may not be the object, even
temporarily, of military occupation or of other measures of force taken by
another State, directly or indirectly, on any grounds whatever. No
territorial acquisitions or special advantages obtained either by force or
by other means of coercion shall be recognized.
American States bind themselves in their international relations not to
have recourse to the use of force, except in the case of selfdefense in
accordance with existing treaties or in fulfillment thereof.
Measures adopted for the maintenance of peace and
security in accordance with existing treaties do not constitute a
violation of the principles set forth in Articles 19 and 21.
PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
International disputes between Member States shall be submitted to
the peaceful procedures set forth in this Charter.
This provision shall not be interpreted as an impairment of the
rights and obligations of the Member States under Articles 34 and 35 of
the Charter of the United Nations.
following are peaceful procedures: direct negotiation, good offices,
mediation, investigation and conciliation, judicial settlement,
arbitration, and those which the parties to the dispute may especially
agree upon at any time.
the event that a dispute arises between two or more American States which,
in the opinion of one of them, cannot be settled through the usual
diplomatic channels, the parties shall agree on some other peaceful
procedure that will enable them to reach a solution.
A special treaty will establish adequate means
for the settlement of disputes and will determine pertinent procedures for
each peaceful means such that no dispute between American States may
remain without definitive settlement within a reasonable period of time.
Every act of aggression by a State against the territorial integrity
or the inviolability of the territory or against the sovereignty or
political independence of an American State shall be considered an act of
aggression against the other American States.
If the inviolability or the integrity of the
territory or the sovereignty or political independence of any American
State should be affected by an armed attack or by an act of aggression
that is not an armed attack, or by an extracontinental conflict, or by a
conflict between two or more American States, or by any other fact or
situation that might endanger the peace of America, the American States,
in furtherance of the principles of continental solidarity or collective
selfdefense, shall apply the measures and procedures established in the
special treaties on the subject.
Member States, inspired by the principles of interAmerican solidarity and
cooperation, pledge themselves to a united effort to ensure international
social justice in their relations and integral development for their
peoples, as conditions essential to peace and security. Integral
development encompasses the economic, social, educational, cultural,
scientific, and technological fields through which the goals that each
country sets for accomplishing it should be achieved.
Inter-American cooperation for integral development is the common and
joint responsibility of the Member States, within the framework of the
democratic principles and the institutions of the interAmerican system.
It should include the economic, social, educational, cultural, scientific,
and technological fields, support the achievement of national objectives
of the Member States, and respect the priorities established by each
country in its development plans, without political ties or conditions.
Inter-American cooperation for integral development should be
continuous and preferably channeled through multilateral organizations,
without prejudice to bilateral cooperation between Member States.
Member States shall contribute to inter-American cooperation for integral
development in accordance with their resources and capabilities and in
conformity with their laws.
Development is a primary responsibility of each country and should
constitute an integral and continuous process for the establishment of a
more just economic and social order that will make possible and contribute
to the fulfillment of the individual.
Member States agree that equality of opportunity, the elimination of
extreme poverty, equitable distribution of wealth and income and the full
participation of their peoples in decisions relating to their own
development are, among others, basic objectives of integral development.
To achieve them, they likewise agree to devote their utmost efforts to
accomplishing the following basic goals:
a) Substantial and self-sustained increase of per capita national
b) Equitable distribution of national income;
c) Adequate and equitable systems of taxation;
d) Modernization of rural life and reforms leading to equitable and
efficient land-tenure systems, increased agricultural productivity,
expanded use of land, diversification of production and improved
processing and marketing systems for agricultural products; and the
strengthening and expansion of the means to attain these ends;
e) Accelerated and diversified industrialization, especially of
capital and intermediate goods;
f) Stability of domestic price levels, compatible with sustained
economic development and the attainment of social justice;
g) Fair wages, employment opportunities, and acceptable working
conditions for all;
h) Rapid eradication of illiteracy and expansion of educational
opportunities for all;
of man's potential through the extension and application of modern medical
j) Proper nutrition, especially through the acceleration of national
efforts to increase the production and availability of food;
k) Adequate housing for all sectors of the population;
l) Urban conditions that offer the opportunity for a healthful,
productive, and full life;
m) Promotion of private initiative and investment in harmony with
action in the public sector; and
n) Expansion and diversification of exports.
Member States should refrain from practicing policies and adopting actions
or measures that have serious adverse effects on the development of other
Transnational enterprises and foreign private investment shall be
subject to the legislation of the host countries and to the jurisdiction
of their competent courts and to the international treaties and agreements
to which said countries are parties, and should conform to the development
policies of the recipient countries.
Member States agree to join together in seeking a solution to urgent or
critical problems that may arise whenever the economic development or
stability of any Member State is seriously affected by conditions that
cannot be remedied through the efforts of that State.
Member States shall extend among themselves the benefits of science and
technology by encouraging the exchange and utilization of scientific and
technical knowledge in accordance with existing treaties and national
Member States, recognizing the close interdependence between foreign trade
and economic and social development, should make individual and united
efforts to bring about the following:
a) Favorable conditions of access to world markets for the products of
the developing countries of the region, particularly through the reduction
or elimination, by importing countries, of tariff and nontariff barriers
that affect the exports of the Member States of the Organization, except
when such barriers are applied in order to diversify the economic
structure, to speed up the development of the lessdeveloped Member
States, and intensify their process of economic integration, or when they
are related to national security or to the needs of economic balance;
b) Continuity in their economic and social development by means of:
i. Improved conditions for trade in basic commodities through
international agreements, where appropriate; orderly marketing procedures
that avoid the disruption of markets, and other measures designed to
promote the expansion of markets and to obtain dependable incomes for
producers, adequate and dependable supplies for consumers, and stable
prices that are both remunerative to producers and fair to consumers;
ii. Improved international financial cooperation and the
adoption of other means for lessening the adverse impact of sharp
fluctuations in export earnings experienced by the countries exporting
iii. Diversification of exports and expansion of export
opportunities for manufactured and semi-manufactured products from the
developing countries; and
iv. Conditions conducive to increasing the real export earnings
of the Member States, particularly the developing countries of the region,
and to increasing their participation in international trade.
Member States reaffirm the principle that when the more developed
countries grant concessions in international trade agreements that lower
or eliminate tariffs or other barriers to foreign trade so that they
benefit the lessdeveloped countries, they should not expect reciprocal
concessions from those countries that are incompatible with their economic
development, financial, and trade needs.
Member States, in order to accelerate their economic development, regional
integration, and the expansion and improvement of the conditions of their
commerce, shall promote improvement and coordination of transportation and
communication in the developing countries and among the Member States.
Member States recognize that integration of the developing countries of
the Hemisphere is one of the objectives of the inter-American system and,
therefore, shall orient their efforts and take the necessary measures to
accelerate the integration process, with a view to establishing a Latin
American common market in the shortest possible time.
order to strengthen and accelerate integration in all its aspects, the
Member States agree to give adequate priority to the preparation and
carrying out of multinational projects and to their financing, as well as
to encourage economic and financial institutions of the interAmerican
system to continue giving their broadest support to regional integration
institutions and programs.
Member States agree that technical and financial cooperation that seeks to
promote regional economic integration should be based on the principle of
harmonious, balanced, and efficient development, with particular attention
to the relatively less-developed countries, so that it may be a decisive
factor that will enable them to promote, with their own efforts, the
improved development of their infrastructure programs, new lines of
production, and export diversification.
Member States, convinced that man can only achieve the full realization of
his aspirations within a just social order, along with economic
development and true peace, agree to dedicate every effort to the
application of the following principles and mechanisms:
a) All human beings, without distinction as to race, sex, nationality,
creed, or social condition, have a right to material well-being and to
their spiritual development, under circumstances of liberty, dignity,
equality of opportunity, and economic security;
b) Work is a right and a social duty, it gives dignity to the one who
performs it, and it should be performed under conditions, including a
system of fair wages, that ensure life, health, and a decent standard of
living for the worker and his family, both during his working years and in
his old age, or when any circumstance deprives him of the possibility of
c) Employers and workers, both rural and urban, have the right to
associate themselves freely for the defense and promotion of their
interests, including the right to collective bargaining and the workers'
right to strike, and recognition of the juridical personality of
associations and the protection of their freedom and independence, all in
accordance with applicable laws;
d) Fair and efficient systems and procedures for consultation and
collaboration among the sectors of production, with due regard for
safeguarding the interests of the entire society;
e) The operation of systems of public administration, banking and
credit, enterprise, and distribution and sales, in such a way, in harmony
with the private sector, as to meet the requirements and interests of the
f) The incorporation and increasing participation of the marginal
sectors of the population, in both rural and urban areas, in the economic,
social, civic, cultural, and political life of the nation, in order to
achieve the full integration of the national community, acceleration of
the process of social mobility, and the consolidation of the democratic
system. The encouragement of all efforts of popular promotion and
cooperation that have as their purpose the development and progress of the
g) Recognition of the importance of the contribution of organizations
such as labor unions, cooperatives, and cultural, professional, business,
neighborhood, and community associations to the life of the society and to
the development process;
h) Development of an efficient social security policy; and
provision for all persons to have due legal aid in order to secure their
Member States recognize that, in order to facilitate the process of Latin
American regional integration, it is necessary to harmonize the social
legislation of the developing countries, especially in the labor and
social security fields, so that the rights of the workers shall be equally
protected, and they agree to make the greatest efforts possible to achieve
Member States will give primary importance within their development plans
to the encouragement of education, science, technology, and culture,
oriented toward the overall improvement of the individual, and as a
foundation for democracy, social justice, and progress.
Member States will cooperate with one another to meet their educational
needs, to promote scientific research, and to encourage technological
progress for their integral development. They will consider themselves
individually and jointly bound to preserve and enrich the cultural
heritage of the American peoples.
Member States will exert the greatest efforts, in accordance with their
constitutional processes, to ensure the effective exercise of the right to
education, on the following bases:
a) Elementary education, compulsory for children of school age, shall
also be offered to all others who can benefit from it. When provided by
the State it shall be without charge;
b) Middle-level education shall be extended progressively to as much
of the population as possible, with a view to social improvement. It shall
be diversified in such a way that it meets the development needs of each
country without prejudice to providing a general education; and
c) Higher education shall be available to all, provided that, in order
to maintain its high level, the corresponding regulatory or academic
standards are met.
Member States will give special attention to the eradication of
illiteracy, will strengthen adult and vocational education systems, and
will ensure that the benefits of culture will be available to the entire
population. They will promote the use of all information media to fulfill
Member States will develop science and technology through educational,
research, and technological development activities and information and
dissemination programs. They will stimulate activities in the field of
technology for the purpose of adapting it to the needs of their integral
development. They will organize their cooperation in these fields
efficiently and will substantially increase exchange of knowledge, in
accordance with national objectives and laws and with treaties in force.
The Member States, with due respect for the
individuality of each of them, agree to promote cultural exchange as an
effective means of consolidating interAmerican understanding; and they
recognize that regional integration programs should be strengthened by
close ties in the fields of education, science, and culture.
Organization of American States accomplishes its purposes by means of:
a) The General Assembly;
b) The Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs;
c) The Councils;
d) The Inter-American Juridical Committee;
e) The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
f) The General Secretariat;
g) The Specialized Conferences; and
h) The Specialized Organizations.
There may be established, in addition to those
provided for in the Charter and in accordance with the provisions thereof,
such subsidiary organs, agencies, and other entities as are considered
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization of American
States. It has as its principal powers, in addition to such others as are
assigned to it by the Charter, the following:
a) To decide the general action and policy of the Organization,
determine the structure and functions of its organs, and consider any
matter relating to friendly relations among the American States;
b) To establish measures for coordinating the activities of the
organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization among themselves, and
such activities with those of the other institutions of the interAmerican
c) To strengthen and coordinate cooperation with the United Nations
and its specialized agencies;
d) To promote collaboration, especially in the economic, social, and
cultural fields, with other international organizations whose purposes are
similar to those of the Organization of American States;
e) To approve the program-budget of the Organization and determine the
quotas of the Member States;
f) To consider the reports of the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers
of Foreign Affairs and the observations and recommendations presented by
the Permanent Council with regard to the reports that should be presented
by the other organs and entities, in accordance with the provisions of
Article 91.f, as well as the reports of any organ which may be required by
the General Assembly itself;
g) To adopt general standards to govern the operations of the General
h) To adopt its own rules of procedure and, by a twothirds vote, its
General Assembly shall exercise its powers in accordance with the
provisions of the Charter and of other inter-American treaties.
General Assembly shall establish the bases for fixing the quota that each
Government is to contribute to the maintenance of the Organization, taking
into account the ability to pay of the respective countries and their
determination to contribute in an equitable manner. Decisions on budgetary
matters require the approval of two thirds of the Member States.
Member States have the right to be represented in the General Assembly.
Each State has the right to one vote.
General Assembly shall convene annually during the period determined by
the rules of procedure and at a place selected in accordance with the
principle of rotation. At each regular session the date and place of the
next regular session shall be determined, in accordance with the rules of
for any reason the General Assembly cannot be held at the place chosen, it
shall meet at the General Secretariat, unless one of the Member States
should make a timely offer of a site in its territory, in which case the
Permanent Council of the Organization may agree that the General Assembly
will meet in that place.
special circumstances and with the approval of two thirds of the Member
States, the Permanent Council shall convoke a special session of the
Decisions of the General Assembly shall be adopted by the affirmative
vote of an absolute majority of the Member States, except in those cases
that require a twothirds vote as provided in the Charter or as may be
provided by the General Assembly in its rules of procedure.
There shall be a Preparatory Committee of the General Assembly,
composed of representatives of all the Member States, which shall:
a) Prepare the draft agenda of each session of the General Assembly;
b) Review the proposed program-budget and the draft resolution on
quotas, and present to the General Assembly a report thereon containing
the recommendations it considers appropriate; and
c) Carry out such other functions as the General Assembly may assign
The draft agenda and the report shall, in due
course, be transmitted to the Governments of the Member States.
THE MEETING OF CONSULTATION OF MINISTERS OF FOREIGN
Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall be held in
order to consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to
the American States, and to serve as the Organ of Consultation.
Member State may request that a Meeting of Consultation be called. The
request shall be addressed to the Permanent Council of the Organization,
which shall decide by an absolute majority whether a meeting should be
agenda and regulations of the Meeting of Consultation shall be prepared by
the Permanent Council of the Organization and submitted to the Member
States for consideration.
for exceptional reasons, a Minister of Foreign Affairs is unable to attend
the meeting, he shall be represented by a special delegate.
case of an armed attack on the territory of an American State or within
the region of security delimited by the treaty in force, the Chairman of
the Permanent Council shall without delay call a meeting of the Council to
decide on the convocation of the Meeting of Consultation, without
prejudice to the provisions of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal
Assistance with regard to the States Parties to that instrument.
Advisory Defense Committee shall be established to advise the Organ of
Consultation on problems of military cooperation that may arise in
connection with the application of existing special treaties on collective
Advisory Defense Committee shall be composed of the highest military
authorities of the American States participating in the Meeting of
Consultation. Under exceptional circumstances the Governments may appoint
substitutes. Each State shall be entitled to one vote.
Advisory Defense Committee shall be convoked under the same conditions as
the Organ of Consultation, when the latter deals with matters relating to
defense against aggression.
The Committee shall also meet when the General
Assembly or the Meeting of Consultation or the Governments, by a twothirds majority of the Member States, assign to it technical studies
or reports on specific subjects.
THE COUNCILS OF THE ORGANIZATION
Permanent Council of the Organization and the Inter-American Council for
Integral Development are directly responsible to the General Assembly, and
each has the authority granted to it in the Charter and other
inter-American instruments, as well as the functions assigned to it by the
General Assembly and the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign
Member States have the right to be represented on each of the Councils.
Each State has the right to one vote.
Councils may, within the limits of the Charter and other interAmerican
instruments, make recommendations on matters within their authority.
Councils, on matters within their respective competence, may present to
the General Assembly studies and proposals, drafts of international
instruments, and proposals on the holding of specialized conferences, on
the creation, modification, or elimination of specialized organizations
and other inter-American agencies, as well as on the coordination of their
activities. The Councils may also present studies, proposals, and drafts
of international instruments to the Specialized Conferences.
Each Council may, in urgent cases, convoke Specialized Conferences on
matters within its competence, after consulting with the Member States and
without having to resort to the procedure provided for in Article 122.
Councils, to the extent of their ability, and with the cooperation of the
General Secretariat, shall render to the Governments such specialized
services as the latter may request.
Each Council has the authority to require the other Council, as well
as the subsidiary organs and agencies responsible to them, to provide it
with information and advisory services on matters within their respective
spheres of competence. The Councils may also request the same services
from the other agencies of the inter-American system.
With the prior approval of the General Assembly, the Councils may
establish the subsidiary organs and the agencies that they consider
advisable for the better performance of their duties. When the General
Assembly is not in session, the aforesaid organs or agencies may be
established provisionally by the corresponding Council. In constituting
the membership of these bodies, the Councils, insofar as possible, shall
follow the criteria of rotation and equitable geographic representation.
Councils may hold meetings in any Member State, when they find it
advisable and with the prior consent of the Government concerned.
Each Council shall prepare its own statutes and
submit them to the General Assembly for approval. It shall approve its own
rules of procedure and those of its subsidiary organs, agencies, and
THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION
Permanent Council of the Organization is composed of one representative of
each Member State, especially appointed by the respective Government, with
the rank of ambassador. Each Government may accredit an acting
representative, as well as such alternates and advisers as it considers
office of Chairman of the Permanent Council shall be held by each of the
representatives, in turn, following the alphabetic order in Spanish of the
names of their respective countries. The office of Vice Chairman shall be
filled in the same way, following reverse alphabetic order.
Chairman and the Vice Chairman shall hold office for a term of not more
than six months, which shall be determined by the statutes.
Within the limits of the Charter and of interAmerican treaties and
agreements, the Permanent Council takes cognizance of any matter referred
to it by the General Assembly or the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers
of Foreign Affairs.
Permanent Council shall serve provisionally as the Organ of Consultation
in conformity with the provisions of the special treaty on the subject.
Permanent Council shall keep vigilance over the maintenance of friendly
relations among the Member States, and for that purpose shall effectively
assist them in the peaceful settlement of their disputes, in accordance
with the following provisions.
accordance with the provisions of this Charter, any party to a dispute in
which none of the peaceful procedures provided for in the Charter is under
way may resort to the Permanent Council to obtain its good offices. The
Council, following the provisions of the preceding article, shall assist
the parties and recommend the procedures it considers suitable for
peaceful settlement of the dispute.
the exercise of its functions and with the consent of the parties to the
dispute, the Permanent Council may establish ad hoc committees.
ad hoc committees shall have the membership and the mandate that the
Permanent Council agrees upon in each individual case, with the consent of
the parties to the dispute.
Permanent Council may also, by such means as it deems advisable,
investigate the facts in the dispute, and may do so in the territory of
any of the parties, with the consent of the Government concerned.
the procedure for peaceful settlement of disputes recommended by the
Permanent Council or suggested by the pertinent ad hoc committee under the
terms of its mandate is not accepted by one of the parties, or one of the
parties declares that the procedure has not settled the dispute, the
Permanent Council shall so inform the General Assembly, without prejudice
to its taking steps to secure agreement between the parties or to restore
relations between them.
Permanent Council, in the exercise of these functions, shall take its
decisions by an affirmative vote of two thirds of its Members, excluding
the parties to the dispute, except for such decisions as the rules of
procedure provide shall be adopted by a simple majority.
performing their functions with respect to the peaceful settlement of
disputes, the Permanent Council and the respective ad hoc committee shall
observe the provisions of the Charter and the principles and standards of
international law, as well as take into account the existence of treaties
in force between the parties.
Permanent Council shall also:
a) Carry out those decisions of the General Assembly or of the Meeting
of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs the implementation of
which has not been assigned to any other body;
b) Watch over the observance of the standards governing the operation
of the General Secretariat and, when the General Assembly is not in
session, adopt provisions of a regulatory nature that enable the General
Secretariat to carry out its administrative functions;
c) Act as the Preparatory Committee of the General Assembly, in
accordance with the terms of Article 60 of the Charter, unless the General
Assembly should decide otherwise;
d) Prepare, at the request of the Member States and with the
cooperation of the appropriate organs of the Organization, draft
agreements to promote and facilitate cooperation between the Organization
of American States and the United Nations or between the Organization and
other American agencies of recognized international standing. These draft
agreements shall be submitted to the General Assembly for approval;
e) Submit recommendations to the General Assembly with regard to the
functioning of the Organization and the coordination of its subsidiary
organs, agencies, and committees;
f) Consider the reports of the Inter-American Council for Integral
Development, of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, of the
InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, of the General Secretariat, of
specialized agencies and conferences, and of other bodies and agencies,
and present to the General Assembly any observations and recommendations
it deems necessary; and
g) Perform the other functions assigned to it in the Charter.
The Permanent Council and the General Secretariat
shall have the same seat.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT
Inter-American Council for Integral Development is composed of one
principal representative, of ministerial or equivalent rank, for each
Member State, especially appointed by the respective Government.
keeping with the provisions of the Charter, the Inter-American Council for
Integral Development may establish the subsidiary bodies and the agencies
that it considers advisable for the better performance of its duties.
purpose of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development is to
promote cooperation among the American States for the purpose of achieving
integral development and, in particular, helping to eliminate extreme
poverty, in accordance with the standards of the Charter, especially those
set forth in Chapter VII with respect to the economic, social,
educational, cultural, scientific, and technological fields.
order to achieve its various goals, especially in the specific area of
technical cooperation, the Inter-American Council for Integral Development
a) Formulate and recommend to the General Assembly a strategic plan
which sets forth policies, programs, and courses of action in matters of
cooperation for integral development, within the framework of the general
policy and priorities defined by the General Assembly;
b) Formulate guidelines for the preparation of the program-budget for
technical cooperation and for the other activities of the Council;
c) Promote, coordinate, and assign responsibility for the execution of
development programs and projects to the subsidiary bodies and relevant
organizations, on the basis of the priorities identified by the Member
States, in areas such as:
1) Economic and social development, including trade, tourism,
integration and the environment;
2) Improvement and extension of education to cover all levels,
promotion of scientific and technological research, through technical
cooperation, and support for cultural activities; and
3) Strengthening of the civic conscience of the American
peoples, as one of the bases for the effective exercise of democracy and
for the observance of the rights and duties of man.
These ends shall be furthered by sectoral participation mechanisms
and other subsidiary bodies and organizations established by the Charter
and by other General Assembly provisions.
d) Establish cooperative relations with the corresponding bodies of
the United Nations and with other national and international agencies,
especially with regard to coordination of inter-American technical
e) Periodically evaluate cooperation activities for integral
development, in terms of their performance in the implementation of
policies, programs, and projects, in terms of their impact, effectiveness,
efficiency, and use of resources, and in terms of the quality, inter alia,
of the technical cooperation services provided; and report to the General
Inter-American Council for Integral Development shall hold at least one
meeting each year at the ministerial or equivalent level. It shall also
have the right to convene meetings at the same level for the specialized
or sectorial topics it considers relevant, within its province or sphere
of competence. It shall also meet when convoked by the General Assembly or
the Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers, or on its own
initiative, or for the cases envisaged in Article 37 of the Charter.
Inter-American Council for Integral Development shall have the
nonpermanent specialized committees which it decides to establish and
which are required for the proper performance of its functions. Those
committees shall operate and shall be composed as stipulated in the
Statutes of the Council.
The execution and, if appropriate, the
coordination, of approved projects shall be entrusted to the Executive
Secretariat for Integral Development, which shall report on the results of
that execution to the Council.
THE INTER-AMERICAN JURIDICAL COMMITTEE
purpose of the Inter-American Juridical Committee is to serve the
Organization as an advisory body on juridical matters; to promote the
progressive development and the codification of international law; and to
study juridical problems related to the integration of the developing
countries of the Hemisphere and, insofar as may appear desirable, the
possibility of attaining uniformity in their legislation.
Inter-American Juridical Committee shall undertake the studies and
preparatory work assigned to it by the General Assembly, the Meeting of
Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, or the Councils of the
Organization. It may also, on its own initiative, undertake such studies
and preparatory work as it considers advisable, and suggest the holding of
specialized juridical conferences.
Inter-American Juridical Committee shall be composed of eleven jurists,
nationals of Member States, elected by the General Assembly for a period
of four years from panels of three candidates presented by Member States.
In the election, a system shall be used that takes into account partial
replacement of membership and, insofar as possible, equitable geographic
representation. No two Members of the Committee may be nationals of the
Vacancies that occur for reasons other than normal expiration of the
terms of office of the Members of the Committee shall be filled by the
Permanent Council of the Organization in accordance with the criteria set
forth in the preceding paragraph.
Inter-American Juridical Committee represents all of the Member States of
the Organization, and has the broadest possible technical autonomy.
Inter-American Juridical Committee shall establish cooperative relations
with universities, institutes, and other teaching centers, as well as with
national and international committees and entities devoted to study,
research, teaching, or dissemination of information on juridical matters
of international interest.
Inter-American Juridical Committee shall draft its statutes, which shall
be submitted to the General Assembly for approval.
Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure.
The seat of the Inter-American Juridical
Committee shall be the city of Rio de Janeiro, but in special cases the
Committee may meet at any other place that may be designated, after
consultation with the Member State concerned.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
There shall be an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, whose
principal function shall be to promote the observance and protection of
human rights and to serve as a consultative organ of the Organization in
An inter-American convention on human rights
shall determine the structure, competence, and procedure of this
Commission, as well as those of other organs responsible for these
THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT
General Secretariat is the central and permanent organ of the Organization
of American States. It shall perform the functions assigned to it in the
Charter, in other inter-American treaties and agreements, and by the
General Assembly, and shall carry out the duties entrusted to it by the
General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign
Affairs, or the Councils.
Secretary General of the Organization shall be elected by the General
Assembly for a five-year term and may not be reelected more than once or
succeeded by a person of the same nationality. In the event that the
office of Secretary General becomes vacant, the Assistant Secretary
General shall assume his duties until the General Assembly shall elect a
new Secretary General for a full term.
Secretary General shall direct the General Secretariat, be the legal
representative thereof, and, notwithstanding the provisions of Article
91.b, be responsible to the General Assembly for the proper fulfillment of
the obligations and functions of the General Secretariat.
Secretary General, or his representative, may participate with voice but
without vote in all meetings of the Organization.
Secretary General may bring to the attention of the General Assembly or
the Permanent Council any matter which in his opinion might threaten the
peace and security of the Hemisphere or the development of the Member
authority to which the preceding paragraph refers shall be exercised in
accordance with the present Charter.
General Secretariat shall promote economic, social, juridical,
educational, scientific, and cultural relations among all the Member
States of the Organization, with special emphasis on cooperation for the
elimination of extreme poverty, in keeping with the actions and policies
decided upon by the General Assembly and with the pertinent decisions of
General Secretariat shall also perform the following functions:
a) Transmit ex officio to the Member States notice of the
convocation of the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation of
Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Inter-American Council for Integral
Development, and the Specialized Conferences;
b) Advise the other organs, when appropriate, in the preparation of
agenda and rules of procedure;
c) Prepare the proposed program-budget of the Organization on the
basis of programs adopted by the Councils, agencies, and entities whose
expenses should be included in the program-budget and, after consultation
with the Councils or their permanent committees, submit it to the
Preparatory Committee of the General Assembly and then to the Assembly
d) Provide, on a permanent basis, adequate secretariat services for
the General Assembly and the other organs, and carry out their directives
and assignments. To the extent of its ability, provide services for the
other meetings of the Organization;
e) Serve as custodian of the documents and archives of the
InterAmerican Conferences, the General Assembly, the Meetings of
Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Councils, and the
f) Serve as depository of inter-American treaties and agreements, as
well as of the instruments of ratification thereof;
g) Submit to the General Assembly at each regular session an annual
report on the activities of the Organization and its financial condition;
h) Establish relations of cooperation, in accordance with decisions
reached by the General Assembly or the Councils, with the Specialized
Organizations as well as other national and international organizations.
Secretary General shall:
a) Establish such offices of the General Secretariat as are necessary
to accomplish its purposes; and
b) Determine the number of officers and employees of the General
Secretariat, appoint them, regulate their powers and duties, and fix their
Secretary General shall exercise this authority in accordance with such
general standards and budgetary provisions as may be established by the
Assistant Secretary General shall be elected by the General Assembly for a fiveyear term and may not be reelected more than once or succeeded by a
person of the same nationality. In the event that the office of Assistant
Secretary General becomes vacant, the Permanent Council shall elect a
substitute to hold that office until the General Assembly shall elect a
new Assistant Secretary General for a full term.
Assistant Secretary General shall be the Secretary of the Permanent
Council. He shall serve as advisory officer to the Secretary General and
shall act as his delegate in all matters that the Secretary General may
entrust to him. During the temporary absence or disability of the
Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General shall perform his
The Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary
General shall be of different nationalities.
General Assembly, by a two-thirds vote of the Member States, may remove
the Secretary General or the Assistant Secretary General, or both,
whenever the proper functioning of the Organization so demands.
Secretary General shall appoint, with the approval of the Inter-American
Council for Integral Development, an Executive Secretary for Integral
the performance of their duties, the Secretary General and the personnel
of the Secretariat shall not seek or receive instructions from any
Government or from any authority outside the Organization, and shall
refrain from any action that may be incompatible with their position as
international officers responsible only to the Organization
Member States pledge themselves to respect the exclusively international
character of the responsibilities of the Secretary General and the
personnel of the General Secretariat, and not to seek to influence them in
the discharge of their duties.
selecting the personnel of the General Secretariat, first consideration
shall be given to efficiency, competence, and integrity; but at the same
time, in the recruitment of personnel of all ranks, importance shall be
given to the necessity of obtaining as wide a geographic representation as
The seat of the General Secretariat is the city
of Washington, D.C.
THE SPECIALIZED CONFERENCES
Specialized Conferences are intergovernmental meetings to deal with
special technical matters or to develop specific aspects of interAmerican
cooperation. They shall be held when either the General Assembly or the
Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs so decides, on its
own initiative or at the request of one of the Councils or Specialized
The agenda and rules of procedure of the
Specialized Conferences shall be prepared by the Councils or Specialized
Organizations concerned and shall be submitted to the Governments of the
Member States for consideration.
THE SPECIALIZED ORGANIZATIONS
the purposes of the present Charter, InterAmerican Specialized
Organizations are the intergovernmental organizations established by
multilateral agreements and having specific functions with respect to
technical matters of common interest to the American States.
General Secretariat shall maintain a register of the organizations that
fulfill the conditions set forth in the foregoing Article, as determined
by the General Assembly after a report from the Council concerned.
Specialized Organizations shall enjoy the fullest technical autonomy, but
they shall take into account the recommendations of the General Assembly
and of the Councils, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter.
Specialized Organizations shall transmit to the General Assembly annual
reports on the progress of their work and on their annual budgets and
Relations that should exist between the Specialized Organizations and
the Organization shall be defined by means of agreements concluded between
each organization and the Secretary General, with the authorization of the
Specialized Organizations shall establish cooperative relations with world
agencies of the same character in order to coordinate their activities. In
concluding agreements with international agencies of a worldwide
character, the Inter-American Specialized Organizations shall preserve
their identity and their status as integral parts of the Organization of
American States, even when they perform regional functions of
In determining the location of the Specialized
Organizations consideration shall be given to the interest of all of the
Member States and to the desirability of selecting the seats of these
organizations on the basis of a geographic representation as equitable as
THE UNITED NATIONS
None of the provisions of this Charter shall be
construed as impairing the rights and obligations of the Member States
under the Charter of the United Nations.
Attendance at meetings of the permanent organs of the Organization of
American States or at the conferences and meetings provided for in the
Charter, or held under the auspices of the Organization, shall be in
accordance with the multilateral character of the aforesaid organs,
conferences, and meetings and shall not depend on the bilateral relations
between the Government of any Member State and the Government of the host
Organization of American States shall enjoy in the territory of each
Member such legal capacity, privileges, and immunities as are necessary
for the exercise of its functions and the accomplishment of its purposes.
representatives of the Member States on the organs of the Organization,
the personnel of their delegations, as well as the Secretary General and
the Assistant Secretary General shall enjoy the privileges and immunities
corresponding to their positions and necessary for the independent
performance of their duties.
juridical status of the Specialized Organizations and the privileges and
immunities that should be granted to them and to their personnel, as well
as to the officials of the General Secretariat, shall be determined in a
multilateral agreement. The foregoing shall not preclude, when it is
considered necessary, the concluding of bilateral agreements.
Correspondence of the Organization of American States, including
printed matter and parcels, bearing the frank thereof, shall be carried
free of charge in the mails of the Member States.
Organization of American States does not allow any restriction based on
race, creed, or sex, with respect to eligibility to participate in the
activities of the Organization and to hold positions therein.
Within the provisions of this Charter, the
competent organs shall endeavor to obtain greater collaboration from
countries not Members of the Organization in the area of cooperation for
RATIFICATION AND ENTRY INTO FORCE
present Charter shall remain open for signature by the American States and
shall be ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional
procedures. The original instrument, the Spanish, English, Portuguese, and
French texts of which are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the
General Secretariat, which shall transmit certified copies thereof to the
Governments for purposes of ratification. The instruments of ratification
shall be deposited with the General Secretariat, which shall notify the
signatory States of such deposit.
present Charter shall enter into force among the ratifying States when two
thirds of the signatory States have deposited their ratifications. It
shall enter into force with respect to the remaining States in the order
in which they deposit their ratifications.
present Charter shall be registered with the Secretariat of the United
Nations through the General Secretariat.
Amendments to the present Charter may be adopted only at a General
Assembly convened for that purpose. Amendments shall enter into force in
accordance with the terms and the procedure set forth in Article 140.
The present Charter shall remain in force
indefinitely, but may be denounced by any Member State upon written
notification to the General Secretariat, which shall communicate to all
the others each notice of denunciation received. After two years from the
date on which the General Secretariat receives a notice of denunciation,
the present Charter shall cease to be in force with respect to the
denouncing State, which shall cease to belong to the Organization after it
has fulfilled the obligations arising from the present Charter.
Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress shall act as the
permanent executive committee of the Inter-American Economic and Social
Council as long as the Alliance is in operation.
Until the inter-American convention on human rights, referred to in
Chapter XV, enters into force, the present InterAmerican Commission on
Human Rights shall keep vigilance over the observance of human rights.
Permanent Council shall not make any recommendation nor shall the General
Assembly take any decision with respect to a request for admission on the
part of a political entity whose territory became subject, in whole or in
part, prior to December 18, 1964, the date set by the First Special
Inter-American Conference, to litigation or claim between an extracontinental country and one or more Member States of the
Organization, until the dispute has been ended by some peaceful procedure.
This article shall remain in effect until December 10, 1990.
in Bogotá in 1948 and amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires in 1967,
by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias in 1985, by the Protocol of
Washington in 1992, and by the Protocol of Managua in 1993