The Special General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) decided today to suspend immediately the right to participate in the institution of Honduras following the coup d’Etat that expelled President José Manuel Zelaya from power.
In a resolution adopted by acclamation by all Member States at the headquarters of the organization in Washington, DC, the Special General Assembly instructed the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, “to reinforce all diplomatic initiatives and to promote other initiatives for the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in the Republic of Honduras and the reinstatement of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales.”
“No such initiative will imply recognition of the regime that emerged from this interruption of the constitutional order,” specifies the resolution, that invoked for the first time Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter
The document also encourages “the Member States and international organizations to review their relations with the Republic of Honduras during the period of the diplomatic initiatives.” It also reaffirms that Honduras “must continue to fulfill its obligations as a member of the Organization, in particular with regard to human rights”, and urges “the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms in Honduras.”
The Special General Assembly was attended by the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, y President Zelaya, who announced his intention to travel tomorrow back to Honduras.
In his speech to the plenary session, President Zelaya highlighted that “this is a very peculiar moment in the history of the Americas.” After explaining the circumstances surrounding of the coup d’Etat, President Zelaya stressed that “the Honduran people have lived already six days of repression. The people are suffering.” The Honduran leader praised the attitude of the OAS and its Member States: “You, by raising your voice, are giving hope to the Americas, and you are giving hope to the people of Honduras.”
The President of Argentina said that the detention and expulsion of President Zelaya from his country were the equivalent of “kidnapping the democratic restoration in Latin America”. After remembering the negative effects of several past coups in the continent, President Fernández de Kirchner expressed her support for President Zelaya and her wish that he be restored to power as an “act of justice to the people of Honduras and of unconditional respect of Human Rights.”
President Lugo mentioned that all countries in the Americas feel for the current suffering of Honduras and particularly of President Zelaya. “Forced exile is one of the greatest punishments”, he said. The Paraguayan leader said the coup was a “blow to the democratic conscience of the Continent”, and also expressed his support for President Zelaya addressing him directly: “President Zelaya, we have known and we have started to love your people, and also the manner, the style of your government.”
The General Assembly reached an agreement after listening to the report of Secretary General Insulza regarding the initiatives undertaken in the 72 previous hours trying to restore democracy, the Rule of Law and President Zelaya in power, as mandated by the resolution adopted by the same Special General Assembly on Wednesday.
Insulza described his conversations with members of the judicial and legislative Powers in Honduras, as well as political, business and social sectors. His initiatives included a visit to Honduras, where the Secretary General saw “an atmosphere of extreme tension.“
The head of the OAS explained that the attitude of the de facto regime was “extremely firm” and “inflexible,” and therefore he said that “there seems to be no alternative” but to suspend Honduras membership to the organization.
The Secretary General specified that it “should be clear that this is not an action against Honduras or against its people, but rather a means of pressure against the de facto government.”
After the resolution was adopted, the Secretary General expressed his satisfaction for “the success achieved today, because a historic resolution such as this one that we have adopted unanimously has important repercussions not only for the Honduran people and its legitimate government, but also for the life of this organization.”
Also took the floor during the Assembly the representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of CARICOM), Costa Rica, United States, Venezuela, El Salvador, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, Panamá, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Canada.
The following is the full text of the resolution adopted by the XXXVII OAS Special General Assembly:
THE SUSPENSION OF THE RIGHT OF HONDURAS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OAS
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
DEEPLY CONCERNED about the worsening of the current political crisis in the Republic of Honduras resulting from the coup d’état against the constitutional government of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, as well as his arbitrary detention and expulsion from the country, which produced an unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order;
REAFFIRMING the importance of strict respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states;
HAVING RECEIVED the report of the Secretary General on the diplomatic initiatives taken in accordance with Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, aimed at restoring democracy and the rule of law as well as reinstating President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales; and noting that these initiatives have been unsuccessful;
NOTING that the regime that emerged from the coup d’état has refused to comply with the provisions of resolution AG/RES. 1 (XXXVII-E/09), adopted by the OAS General Assembly at its thirty-seventh special session, on July 1, 2009; and
HAVING TAKEN a vote among the member states pursuant to the provisions of Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,
1. To suspend the Honduran state from the exercise of its right to participate in the Organization of American States, in accordance with Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The suspension shall take effect immediately.
2. To reaffirm that the Republic of Honduras must continue to fulfill its obligations as a member of the Organization, in particular with regard to human rights; and to urge the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms in Honduras.
3. To instruct the Secretary General, together with duly designated representatives of various countries, to reinforce all diplomatic initiatives and to promote other initiatives for the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in the Republic of Honduras and the reinstatement of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales so that he may fulfill the mandate for which he was democratically elected, and to report immediately to the Permanent Council. No such initiative will imply recognition of the regime that emerged from this interruption of the constitutional order.
4. To encourage the member states and international organizations to review their relations with the Republic of Honduras during the period of the diplomatic initiatives for the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in the Republic of Honduras and the reinstatement of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales .
5. To instruct the Secretary General to transmit this resolution to the other entities of the inter-American system and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.