The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today held a regular meeting in which it celebrated the incorporation of gender perspectives into the justice system in Argentina, received a presentation on the Pan American and Parapan American Games of Toronto in 2015 and honored the figure of the Salvadoran Bishop Monsignor Romero 33 years after his murder.
At the request of the Mission of Argentina, two representatives of the Supreme Court of the South American country shared with the Council the experiences and best practices adopted by the court in terms of human rights and the incorporation of gender perspectives in service of justice and labor relations.
Sofia Acselrad, Legal Secretary, and Gabriela Pastorino, Deputy Legal Secretary, detailed the steps taken to prepare a plan to incorporate gender perspectives at various levels of the judiciary, the training and awareness processes that were carried out, as well as the challenges, achievements and tools used to implement the plan, which included a work protocol with workshops to train officials and convert them into multiplying agents that would promote gender equality in the administration of justice.
In their presentation, the lawyers explained how the workshops provide conceptual tools that allow participants to respond, in cases involving gender issues, in line with the country's Constitution and international treaties signed by Argentina. As part of the achievements made by the Plan they mentioned that in some jurisdictions of the country it has been declared mandatory for officials to attend workshops on gender. Two years after launching the initiative, they reported, today there are 675 people that have been trained to spread the content of the workshops and 861 training sessions have been conducted reaching 22 thousand officials nationwide.
As part of the presentation, the lawyers of the Argentine Court emphasized the need to bring the effort beyond the country’s scope and encouraged regional cooperation in this field using the methods applied in their own country. "The government of Argentina has created a tool that we believe may be useful to other states from the practical and normative standpoint," said Dr. Acselrad. She explained that, in her view, it can be used to promote the implementation of conventions and regional and international instruments that condemn discrimination against women, protect the right to equality and push for cooperation. "This is the time to act together, to optimize resources and to help ensure compliance to what was established by these conventions," she said.
The delegations of Argentina, Nicaragua, Mexico and Canada took the floor to praise the initiative and support the call to extend its impact.
At the beginning of the session, the Chair of the Permanent Council, and representatives of the Member Countries, welcomed the new Permanent Representative of Panama, Arturo Ulysses Vallarino Bartuano, who spoke for the first time to express the commitment of his country to contribute to consensus-building to meet the goals, challenges and purposes enshrined in the OAS Charter. "Panama throughout its history has proved its Panamerican vocation," he said, recalling the legacy of the Amphictyonic Congress of 1826, held in his country, which "laid the foundation of the first dream of regional integration."
Ambassador Vallarino also stated that Panama has shown its commitment to service to others, and cited the Panama Canal and its mission "to connect the south with the north of the hemisphere, the Atlantic and the Pacific and the Caribbean, facilitating communications between the countries of the Americas." The Panamanian diplomat concluded by highlighting that the OAS is recognized as one of the "landmarks of Panamericanism," which carries out key work in the areas of bilateral cooperation, sustainable development and the promotion of peace, democracy and equal rights for all citizens.
In the same session, the Permanent Council heard a presentation on the Pan American and Parapan American Games to be held in Toronto in 2015 by Louise Lutgens and Iris Nemani, representatives of the Toronto 2015 Organizing Committee. The theme, events, preparation and conceptualization of the games were explained in detail, along with the idea that culture and sport will combine to form the central theme for the 2015 event that will open on July 10, 2015. The Canadian representatives also reported that the agenda of the Toronto Games will highlight the cultural richness of the participating countries and encouraged Member States to support and promote the participation of athletes from their own nations in the event, which is held every four years, and in which 41 nations participate.
At the request of the Permanent Mission of El Salvador, members of the Council paid tribute to Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero on the thirty-third anniversary of his murder, which takes place Sunday. On this point, the Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the OAS, Joaquín Maza Martelli, highlighted his life and work saying that he was "a preacher who offered his life for the cause of justice and human rights, a man of humble origins and intellectual integrity." Ambassador Maza Martelli said that the history of his country "has not been free of injustice, violence and fear," and that in this context Monsignor Romero "assumed the painful condition that this situation afforded him: to protect the dignity of the dispossessed and report abuses of the social system prevailing in his time." The Salvadoran diplomat concluded by recalling that, in recognition of the work of Monsignor Romero, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 24 as the International Day of the Right to Truth related to serious human rights violations and the dignity of victims."
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
The B-roll of the event is available here.
The audio of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.