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Forty-first Regular Session of OAS General Assembly Concludes with Adoption of Declaration of San Salvador

  June 8, 2011

The member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS), meeting in San Salvador at the forty-first regular session of the OAS General Assembly, today called for “strengthening bilateral, subregional, regional, and international cooperation on security-related matters,” in what was the first message of the Declaration of San Salvador. The document, the result of an exchange of views among the countries on multidimensional security, strengthens their commitment to joint efforts to combat the violence and crime that ravage their peoples.

The final declaration of the Assembly session, which closed today in the Salvadoran capital, stresses the importance of strengthening the capacity of states to promote long-term public security policies and to address, prevent, and fight threats to public security in a comprehensive, effective manner. Among these threats, it identifies transnational organized crime, illicit trafficking in arms, human trafficking, the smuggling of migrants, the world drug problem, money laundering, corruption, terrorism, abduction, criminal gangs, and crimes associated with the use of technologies, including cyber-crime.

The complete text of the Declaration of San Salvador is available here.

The countries affirmed that public security policies “require the participation and cooperation of multiple actors,” such as individuals, government at all levels, civil society, communities, the mass media, the private sector, and academia. Public policies should also be “comprehensive” and include “a gender perspective,” taking into account the needs of vulnerable groups and promoting human rights.

The links between security and development, the need to deal with poverty and discrimination, and climate change also are addressed in the Declaration, since they affect the security and well-being of citizens that will make democratic development possible. The top OAS body declared its commitment to “reinforce inter-American partnership for integral development and to strengthen cooperation mechanisms and actions to urgently address extreme poverty, inequity, and social exclusion.”

Final plenary session

At the fourth and final plenary session of the General Assembly, the foreign ministers discussed the long-standing dispute between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Argentine Republic regarding sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands; maritime access for the Republic of Bolivia; and the holding of the Sixteenth Pan American Games in 2011 in Guadalajara, after a presentation by Minister Aurelio López Rocha, Secretary of Tourism of the Mexican State of Jalisco. The representatives also heard statements by the Inter-American Commission of Women, the Inter-American Juridical Committee, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Question of the Malvinas Islands

On the topic of the Malvinas Islands, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship of Argentina, Héctor Timerman, asked the member countries to support Argentina’s claim. He said that “at no time has Argentina failed to express its willingness to negotiate in search of a peaceful settlement to the dispute,” but stated that, “unfortunately, Britain still declines to resume bilateral dialogue, in violation not only of repeated resolutions of the United Nations and this Organization.” He then urged the member countries to support his country “with the conviction that your voice will have to be heard, because, in embracing this cause, you will be the voice of those who forged our history.”

In their statements, the delegates of the member countries expressed their support to the Government of Argentina, endorsing “the legitimate rights of that country,” and advocated a resumption of negotiations between the two countries involved in the prolonged dispute.

Maritime Access for Bolivia

On the topic of maritime access for Bolivia, the Bolivian foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, gave a historical summary of the agreements and developments in this area. He noted that for 132 years his country, “using the power of dialogue and reason, has appealed for the right to return to the sea.” He also said that “regional integration will not be possible as long as this wound, which affects all of South America, remains open,” and appealed for support from the member countries. He said “Bolivia is a country of nature, location, and decision, convinced of the need for integration.” As such, he continued, his country “will not close the door to dialogue.” He raised the possibility of arranging formal bilateral negotiations. Foreign minister Choquehuanca closed his statement by saying that “international law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and direct dialogue with all actors involved in a problem are valid, coherent paths toward a solution to the landlocked state imposed on Bolivia.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Alfredo Moreno, in response to that statement, commented that “Chile has stated, and reaffirms, its willingness to continue dialogue to achieve mutually acceptable solutions that represent benefits for both peoples, are forward-looking, and reflect the spirit of integration and solidarity that should prevail among sister and neighbor nations.” Foreign minister Moreno added that, in that same spirit, “Chile is more than willing to continue exploring with Bolivia the concession of lands and facilities with which to conduct the activities it requires and improve its maritime status.” In conclusion, he noted the importance of working together, in a context of mutual respect and “the inviolability of treaties, and in the context of true integration."

After hearing the statements of the foreign ministers of both nations, the heads of delegation who spoke advocated dialogue, bilateral talks, the path of peace, and consensus in this matter.

Central American Security Strategy

In the context of the Assembly session’s central theme, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Haroldo Rodas, spoke on the Central American Security Strategy and the International Conference in Support of the Strategy, which his country will host on June 22 and 23 of this year. He explained that the aim of the event is “to obtain political and financial support, and monitoring, for implementation of specific measures contained in the Strategy.“ The General Assembly adopted a resolution in support of the Conference.

Election of members of committees and commissions

At the close of the fourth plenary session, elections were held for officers of organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization. Elected to serve on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights were: Rosa María Ortiz (Paraguay), Felipe González (Chile, reelected), Tracy Robinson (Jamaica), and Rose-Marie Bella Antoine (Belize).

Also elected, as new members of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, were Carlos Alberto Mata Prates (Uruguay) and Luis Motreno Guerra (Ecuador).

Elected to the Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JSCA) were Santiago Pereira Campos (Uruguay), Justice Marc Rosemberg (Canada), and Pedro B.A Dallari (Brazil).

Reelected to the Administrative Tribunal and the Board of External Auditors, respectively, were United States citizens Andre M. Surena and James L. Gillette.

Lastly, it was decided by acclamation that the forty-second regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States will be held in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, from July 8 to 10, 2012.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-722/11