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OAS Secretary General Urges Countries to Support the Work of Fulfilling the Protocol of San Salvador

  October 27, 2011

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today urged the Member States of the Organization to support the Working Group in charge of analyzing the periodic reports of the States parties to the Protocol of San Salvador, an additional document to the American Convention on Human Rights on matters of economic, social and cultural rights.

“I don’t think we have sufficiently supported this Working Group,” said the Secretary General, “I believe we can do more.” “Truly, this is a central issue. If we act properly, in a few years this could form the framework of the Social Charter, and the initiatives of this group could be as important as other follow-up activities to the different conventions charged to the OAS that today fill us with pride,” he added.

The head of the hemispheric organization spoke before the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the OAS Permanent Council, chaired by the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the OAS, Ambassador María Isabel Salvador, who held a technical meeting today with the Working Group, with the objective of taking account of the progress made on the issue of indicators for measuring the rights contemplated in the Protocol of San Salvador.

Secretary General Insulza recalled that the date for the signing of the Social Charter of the Americas will be set in the near future, a document to contain “the essential aspects of social citizenship that should accompany the political and civil citizenship aspects in the Inter-American Democratic Charter.” “In the same way it was considered necessary now that the Democratic Charter be accompanied by a social charter, our States considered a long time ago that it was essential for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to also carry as a fundamental part this complementary Protocol on economic, social and cultural rights, and that is the reason why the Protocol of San Salvador was signed,” he explained.

“From the point of view of our Organization’s activities on the issues of integral development, the Protocol is a very rich resource that we have used little, and that is why it heartens me that we are going to use it and we are using it more substantively now,” he continued. “I think this is very difficult work because we are talking about issues that have concerned our Organization for a long time; nevertheless, it is necessary to seek clear identifiers regarding the level of fulfillment of the countries and thus contribute to improve their implementation,” he concluded.

For her part, the Chair of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) and Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the OAS, María Isabel Salvador, made a call to the Member States “to continue reflecting on how to support the Financing of the Working Group” and thus help improve its tasks regarding the fulfillment of the Protocol of San Salvador.

“I also wish to highlight the commitment of the members of the Group, since their work springs from their own conviction and their own willingness to make progress on these issues,” the Ecuadorian Ambassador continued. “And I believe that deserves a special recognition by this Commission and the Organization itself,” she noted.

The Ecuadorian diplomat announced that the Technical Secretariat of the Working Group will prepare a report on today’s meeting as part of a process that will serve—once the corresponding resolution is approved by the General Assembly—to “generate the possibility of beginning concrete work on national reports, based on the indicators presented today.”

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Reference: E-924/11