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The Americas express solidarity following appalling hate crime

June 14, 2016

Minute of silence during the meeting with civil society in Santo Domingo.

At an Assembly with record levels of civil society participation, with an Organization focused on promoting equality, equity, and nondiscrimination, the reactions to the hate crime committed in Orlando were unequivocal: unanimous rejection of the motivation; heartfelt solidarity for the victims and their families.

Foreign ministers, representatives of civil society, and OAS officials roundly condemned the attack in which 49 people were murdered and another 53 injured in the early-morning hours of Sunday, June 12.

Foreign Minister Holguín: Colombia condemns terrorist act at OAS Assembly.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, María Ángela Holguín, said that her country “repudiates actions of this kind, for which there can be no political or religious justification.” The Minister of Economic Planning and Sustainable Development of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Camillo Gonsalves, described it as a “tragic and heinous event” and said that his country offered its “support in ridding the world of hate and the tools of hate.”

Minister Gonsalves promises the support of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in freeing the world from hate.

The profuse expressions of solidarity given today by the foreign ministers at the plenary of the General Assembly came after the show of unity that occurred on Sunday, during the Secretary General’s dialogue with civil society, when numerous groups with major differences of opinion, with opposing positions entrenched for hundreds of years, observed a respectful minute of silence to honor the victims.

The OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, also condemned the attack in remarks made on Sunday. The head of the hemispheric organization called the attack “a hate crime” and joined his voice to the deluge of solidarity from across the entire world. “The OAS and its member countries stand with the people and victims of Orlando,” he said, addressing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “We say ‘no’ to terror and to hate,” he wrote in his Twitter account.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: “We will defeat hate by compassion and by inclusion.”


The United States’ ranking diplomat expressed his country’s gratitude for that solidarity in his opening address to the plenary: “I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to all of you for the outpouring of support and condolences in the wake of the horrific attack in Orlando on Sunday,” Secretary of State John Kerry said. “Together, we will redouble our commitment to ensure that the hate and the division that are characterized in these kinds of attacks are ultimately defeated by compassion and by inclusion.”

Reference: E-074/16