The Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), meeting in Antigua Guatemala at the 43rd OAS General Assembly, declared today “that it is essential that the Hemisphere continue to advance in a coordinated manner in the search for effective solutions to the world drug problem with a comprehensive integrated, strengthened, balanced and multidisciplinary approach with full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The OAS Declaration of Antigua, Guatemala calls on governments of the region to incorporate “public health, education, and social inclusion, together with preventive actions to address transnational organized crime, and the strengthening of democratic institutions, as well as the promotion of local and national development.”
The full text of the Declaration of Antigua, Guatemala is available here.
The final Declaration of the Assembly also encourages the consideration of new approaches to the world drug problem in the Americas based on scientific knowledge and evidence.
The approved text also suggests that “it is necessary, based on the principle of common and shared responsibility, to bolster and promote hemispheric cooperation by mobilizing different resources,” recognizing “the different impacts and manifestations of the world drug problem in each country” and by using for this purpose “mechanisms for the exchange of information and experiences among countries.”
Issue of the Malvinas
The General Assembly approved a statement on the Malvinas, as proposed by Argentina, reaffirming the need for governments of both countries “to resume as soon as possible negotiations over the disputed sovereignty in order to find a peaceful solution to this protracted controversy,” and committing the Organization to closely monitor the evolution of the dispute until it is settled.
The Minister of Foreign Relations and Worship of Argentina, Hector Timerman, addressed the issue of the Malvinas and recalled that the OAS was the first regional body to support his country in the dispute, in adopting each year at its General Assembly, resolutions and statements describing the sovereignty dispute as being of “permanent hemispheric interest.”
That backing from the OAS Member States was endorsed, Foreign Minister Timerman went on to say, by other regional bodies both inside and outside of the hemisphere, which have taken a position of recognizing Argentina’s sovereign rights to the Malvinas. “It has become evident that the anachronistic colonial conflict and the obstinacy in rebuffing the call to dialogue is irritating a growing number of countries, which have expressed this at different international forums, and that the usurpation of the territories not only offends Argentina, but the whole region, since it [the region] recognizes the cause as its own,” he asserted.
Regarding the plebiscite conducted on the Island by the United Kingdom last March, the chief Argentine diplomat recalled that the principle of self-determination, now being invoked by the British nation, ”is what has made it possible for more than 80 former colonies in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Oceania to be freed,” and that that principle “should not or cannot be manipulated in order to enshrine the perpetuation of an order conceived and devised by a colonial power.”
The Director for the Americas of the Foreign Office of the British Commonwealth, Kate Smith, contended before the plenary Assembly that her country respects the fact that OAS members have their own political view of this issue; however, she reiterated that, in the view of the United Kingdom, the principle of self-determination, which allows for the people to decide their own political future, takes precedence in this matter.
In response to the remarks of the British representative, Foreign Minister Timerman quoted former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in stating that “courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Additionally, the Argentine Minister reiterated the importance for the European Union to provide an opportunity to listen to Argentine points of view regarding this issue.
Election of Committee and Commission Members
At the fourth plenary meeting, elections were held for the officers of the organs, agencies and entities of the organization. The winning candidates in the elections to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights are Jose de Jesús Orozco (Mexico) who was reelected, James L. Cavallaro (United States) and Paulo De Tarso Vannuchi (Brazil).
Ana Elizabeth Villalta Vizcarra (El Salvador), and Miguel Aníbal Pichardo Olivier (Dominican Republic) were elected to the Inter-American Juridical Committee. One position remained vacant and will be filled at an election to be held at the first regular meeting of the OAS Permanent Council in September. Nominations must be submitted by June 22.
Ernesto Pazmiño Granizo (Ecuador) was elected to the Justice Study Center for the Americas, leaving one vacancy to be filled at the first regular meeting of the OAS Permanent Council in September. Nominations must be submitted by June 22.
Homero Bibiloni (Argentina), the lone candidate, fills the vacancy on the OAS Administrative Tribunal. Martin Rubenstein (Canada), also the only candidate, joins the Board of External Auditors to Examine the Accounts of the General Secretariat.
Additionally, presentations were made to the Assembly by the Chair of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the President of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) and the President of the Board of External Auditors of the OAS.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org