Relations with Permanent Observers

The status of Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States was established by the General Assembly at its first regular session, held in San José, Costa Rica, in 1971 [AG/RES. 50 (I-O/71)]. Permanent observers participate in the Organization’s activities and contribute to its programs.

General Activities: 2014|2013|2012|2011|2010|2009|2008|2007|2006

May 1, 2014 – OAS CHIEF OF STAFF RECEIVES DIRECTOR FOR THE AMERICAS OF THE EUROPEAN EXTERNAL ACTION SERVICE

The Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, Ambassador Hugo De Zela, met today with the Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service (EEAS) of the European Union, Roland Schaefer, at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

During the meeting, the Chief of Staff shared the OAS’ appreciation for the European Commission’s recent contribution to the Inter-American Human Rights System; and the EEAS’ ongoing technical support to the OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs, the OAS security strategy in Central America, the Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone, and other matters of hemispheric importance.

In the meeting were also present the Senior Advisor for Global Issues from the Delegation of the European Union to the United States of America, Gisella Gori; OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez; Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín; Senior Advisor in the Secretariat for Political Affairs, Betilde Muñóz-Pogossian; and Advisor to the Secretary General, Pamela Moraga.

April 21, 2014 - FRANCE DELIVERS CONTRIBUTION TO THE OAS TO FUND ELECTORAL OBSERVATION MISSIONS

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Government of France today signed an agreement by which the European country will donate 150,000 euros to the Fund for Electoral Observation Missions (EOM) to be deployed by the hemispheric institution in 2014-2016. 

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, emphasized the key role of the EOMs in the promotion and advancement of democracy in the Hemisphere, and recalled that six observation missions were conducted during the first four months of 2014, while another ten will take place during the rest of the year. “To join with the government of France in these efforts will no doubt provide a key support in carrying out this important task entrusted to the OAS," he said.

"The signing of today's agreement is another example of France's commitment to further strengthen its cooperation for the benefit of the citizens of the Americas," said Secretary General Insulza, who stressed the importance of the input and interaction of the European country with the OAS, an organization to which it has been a Permanent Observer since 1972.

Insulza said EOMs "are one of the most important tools that we have for our Organization to consolidate democratic values and strengthen democratic institutions in our countries," emphasizing that "our Inter-American Democratic Charter establishes the holding of periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret and universal voting as an expression of the sovereignty of the people, one of the essential elements of representative democracy."

For his part, the Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, Ambassador Jean-Claude Nolla, noted that the contribution to EOMs is due to the special attention his country places on the actions of the OAS in this area, which he said "constitutes an important element in the consolidation and extension of democracy in the Americas." 

Ambassador Nolla noted that for more than a quarter of a century democracy has emerged as normal and legitimate form of political power in the Americas, adding that "now the political health of the Americas can be measured by the rhythm of democratic alternations, and without much drama." In this regard, the French diplomat recalled the political situation in the region before 1990, when many governments of the region were not elected democratically, and he appreciated "the immense progress made in 25 years."

Ambassador Nolla also noted that the OAS must play an indispensable role in the progress of democracy in the Americas, which is a crucial element of its legitimacy. "It's never an easy role, nor is it a quiet role, but it is a role that only the OAS can play," he said.

The French diplomat said that the EOMs of the OAS carry out their tasks with "conviction, determination and independence, and this is something that France welcomes." He added that the OAS has a central role in ensuring the transparency of elections in the region, because "a true democracy must have free and fair elections to renew the covenant between citizens and their representatives."

The agreement was signed at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC. The ceremony was attended by the Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the OAS; representatives of the Missions of the United States and Canada; the Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, Hugo de Zela; the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez; the Director of the OAS Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation, Gerardo Hernández de Icaza; and the Director of the OAS Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanin.

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April 17, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THAILAND

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, received the Permanent Observer of Thailand, Ambassador Vijavat Isarabhakdi, at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC.

During the meeting, the Secretary General and the Thai diplomat discussed the situation in the Americas and Thailand’s engagement with the region.  The Secretary General expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s demonstrated commitment to the region and referred to the Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 27, 2012 between the General Secretariat of the OAS and the International Development Cooperation Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, which provided a framework for capacity-building and training courses in Thailand and in OAS Member States, as well as field technical assistance programs in the areas of professional development, tourism, management, economic and social development, and employment and poverty reduction.

In the meeting were also present the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, and the Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín.

March 31, 2014 – OAS CHIEF OF STAFF MEETS WITH DIRECTOR FOR THE AMERICAS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

The Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, Ambassador Hugo De Zela, met today with the Director for the Americas of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Kate Smith, and the British Ambassador to Colombia, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

During the meeting, the OAS and British officials discussed the OAS work in the Americas, with particular attention to the current status of the Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP) in Colombia, the upcoming presidential elections, the civil registry program, and the Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone.

The United Kingdom has been a Permanent Observer to the OAS since 1995 and has made contributions of more than $5 million to the work of the OAS in a wide array of areas, especially: the Belize and Guatemala Territorial Dispute; OAS Electoral Observation Missions in the region; human rights, racial and ethnic equality, freedom of expression; demining programs and the work of Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, among others.

Also present in the meeting were Alternate Observer of the United Kingdom to the OAS, James Eke; OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez; Secretary for Political Affairs, Kevin Casas-Zamora; Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín; Director of the Department of Sustainable Democracy and Special Mission, Christopher Hernandez-Roy; and Advisor to the Secretary General, Pamela Moraga.

March 22, 2014 – OAS AND EUROPEAN UNION SIGN FINANCING AGREEMENT TO STRENGTHEN THE INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, subscribed a cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU) that stipulates the contribution of one million Euros to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System, which pillars are the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The agreement "Support and Strengthening of the Work of the Inter-American Human Rights System through the promotion and protection of the rights of the most vulnerable and excluded communities and groups in the Americas," was led by Secretary General Insulza as part of the commitment to give greater strength to the system and to contribute to efforts aimed at addressing social inequities and the need to ensure the full rights of people living in vulnerable conditions.

The OAS-EU agreement seeks to respond to issues of great concern for the System, among which are impunity, inhumane treatment and conditions in prisons, and the security and protection of the rights of human rights defenders. The contribution of the European Union applies to program 4 of the IACHR Strategic Plan (2011-2015) and will foster the development of case law and legal regulations, which support the creation of policies and legislation that ensure respect for human rights in the member states, awareness and knowledge of the System, access to it by victims of human rights violations, and the strengthening of the Commission’s capacity to safeguard and protect their rights.

The European Union has been a Permanent Observer to the OAS since 1998 and has contributed nearly $17 million to programs of the Organization in the areas of promotion of democracy, cooperation and electoral observation, conflict resolution, human rights, public security, and sustainable development.

February 21, 2014 – OAS ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia today announced that they will be offering 15 scholarships for students of the Americas to study in the University for Information Science and Technology St. Paul the Apostle, in the city of Ohrid.

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, met with the new Permanent Observer of the United Kingdom to the OAS, Mr. Patrick Davies, on February 21, 2014.

During a meeting, the Assistant Secretary General welcomed Mr. Davies as the new British Permanent Observer and expressed the OAS’ appreciation for the United Kingdom’s long-term support to OAS programs in the areas of electoral cooperation and observation, conflict resolution and human rights.  The OAS and British representatives also discussed the current situation in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas.

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February 11, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF ISRAEL

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received the Permanent Observer of Israel, Ambassador Ron Dermer, at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington D.C.

During the meeting the two discussed the current political and economic situation in the Hemisphere and the different contributions the country has made to the OAS since it became a Permanent Observer in 1972. Among them, they noted the support for Electoral Missions, Scholarship Programs, Seminars conducted by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) and integral development programs, among others.

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February 10, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF ESTONIA

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received the Permanent Observer of Estonia, Ambassador Marina Kaljurand, at the headquarters of the OAS in Washington D.C.

Secretary General Insulza and Ambassador Kaljurand discussed the current political situation in the region and the scope of the next OAS General Assembly, to be held in the first week of June in Asunción, Paraguay. During the meeting the diplomat delivered to the head of the hemispheric Organization a letter from the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, inviting him to participate in the “4th Annual Freedom Online Coalition Conference” that will take place in Tallinn April 28 and 29.

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February 6, 2014 - OAS AND FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA ANNOUNCE SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia today announced that they will be offering 15 scholarships for students of the Americas to study in the University for Information Science and Technology St. Paul the Apostle, in the city of Ohrid.

During a meeting at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington, DC, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the importance of the offer, which in his opinion "will not only contribute to and enhance this well established program, but will also open new paths for students from the Americas to engage with your country and the Balkans, and as such further strengthen the integration efforts of our regions.” Secretary General Insulza added that "the OAS places a strong emphasis on the pillar of integral development, which includes the development of our most precious resource, our people."

The Permanent Observer of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the OAS, Zoran Jolevski, explained that the program will offer 15 scholarships each year for five years to study any undergraduate degree program offered by the University. Ambassador Jolevski explained that for his country, the scholarships represent an opportunity to get to know and better understand the citizens of the Americas, and to help them get to know his country. The scholarships, which will form part of the OAS Academic Scholarship Program, will cover full tuition, visa fees, travel, accommodation, health insurance and a monthly stipend. Classes will be taught in English

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February 4, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH THE DIRECTOR FOR THE AMERICAS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met with the Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service of the European Union, Christian Leffler, at OAS headquarters in Washington DC. During the meeting, Secretary General Insulza and Managing Director Leffler discussed the current political and economic situation in the region, as well as human rights, regional alliances and the agenda of the next OAS General Assembly, to be held in Asunción, Paraguay.

They also talked about the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas, as well as issues related to the security situation in Central America, the progress in the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP-OEA), and the negotiations for peace in the South American country.

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January 31, 2014 –PERMANENT COUNCIL GRANTS MONTENEGRO AND THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIECHTENSTEIN THE STATUS OF PERMANENT OBSERVER TO THE OAS

The Permanent Council approved the requests by the Governments of Montenegro and the Principality of Liechtenstein to be granted Permanent Observer status to the Organization of American States (OAS) during its regular meeting today.

The addition of these two countries brings the total number to 70 Permanent Observers to the OAS. The OAS General Assembly established the status of Permanent Observer in 1971 through resolution AG/RES. 50 (I-O/71) with a view to provide a way for non-OAS Member States to follow OAS activities, attend the meetings of the Organization’s political organs and provide cooperation for its programs. Permanent Observers attend meetings of the General Assembly and Permanent Council and of their principal committees. They also receive the documents and publications of the Organization and are invited to attend specialized conferences and other meetings convoked by the OAS. The Permanent Observers provide cooperation, in the form of training opportunities, expert services, equipment, and cash contributions for various OAS programs.

January 14, 2014 – SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF SPAIN

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met today with the President of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, at OAS headquarters in Washington DC. 

Secretary General Insulza and the President Rajoy discussed the current global political situation and relations between Latin America and Europe, analyzed the political and economic situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, trade negotiations between North America and the United States, and the peace process in Colombia. The OAS leader and the head of the Spanish government also reviewed aspects of the progress made in regional integration alliances in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the economic challenges the region will face during 2014.

President Rajoy gave details to the Secretary General Insulza on the recovery in Spain, where the economy has returned to growth after a recession, and about reforms his government undertook to tackle the crisis. "Nobody talks about the euro crisis and bailouts in Europe anymore," said the OAS Secretary General after the meeting.

The OAS Secretary General was accompanied by the Chair of the Permanent Council and Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the OAS, Pedro Vergés; his Chief of Staff, Hugo de Zela; and the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez. President Rajoy attended the meeting with the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia; the Chief of Staff of the President of Spain, Jorge Moragas; the Director of the Department of International Politics and Security, Ildefonso Castro López; the Presidential Adviser on International Affairs to the President, María Benasach; and the Director of the Department of Protocol of the President, Bernardo de Sicart Escoda.

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