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The OAS and the Council of Europe Seek to Strengthen their Inter-institutional Cooperation

  March 1, 2012

Senior Officials and delegates from member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) held a dialogue today with the Deputy Secretary General of Council of Europe, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, about alternatives to strengthen institutional cooperation and explore new areas of collaboration on legislative issues, elections, the promotion of human rights, electoral observation, elimination of gender violence and terrorism, among others.

The High delegate of the Council of Europe was welcomed by the OAS Chief of Staff, Ambassador Hugo de Zela, on behalf of Secretary General José Miguel Insulza. During a meeting that began with an exchange of experiences about what each institution is doing regarding issues such as strengthening their human rights systems, conflict prevention, and the promotion of democracy.

Later, during the meeting with the delegates of member countries of the OAS, Assistant Secretary General, de Boer-Buqucciho valued the exchange and said that "it is important for us, as international organizations to be aware of the context changes, we have to be involved in the development of societies and we have to adapt. This is the approach we are taking to plan the reforms of the Council of Europe. "Like the OAS, the Council has a immense capital of texts, resolutions, and recommendations, and now we want to put more emphasis on the implementation of these texts," said The Council’s representative at the dialogue, which was attended by Chairman of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Haiti, Ambassador Duly Brutus, and the representatives of Canada, Bolivia, Guyana and Honduras.

The Officials of the two international organizations agreed that both have similar agendas, challenges, and functions. They also identified specific areas to expand their cooperation and achieve common goals including: electoral processes; human rights protection, development and awareness raising; freedom of the media, data protection, information society and internet governance; women’s rights, elimination of violence against women; fight against trafficking in human beings; children’s rights and the rights of persons with disabilities; democracy building; conflict prevention and management; post-conflict rehabilitation; fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime, corruption and cyber crime; reduction of the production, trafficking and use of illegal drugs; and the promotion of international legal standards adopted by the other organization.

In the third part of the dialogue, the Council of Europe’s Deputy Secretary exchanged experiences with some of the technical areas of the OAS, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; the Inter- American Committee against Terrorism Inter-American, the Commission of Women, the Department of International Law; the Department of Legal Cooperation; the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation; the Department of Sustainable Democracy and Special Missions; and the Department of Human Development, Education and Culture; and reviewed the state of cooperation between the two international organizations.

At the end of the meetings, the OAS Secretary of External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñonez, acknowledged that the OAS and the EU “are based on the same values and principles” and called to “continue with our joint work”. For her part, the European representative expressed the need to “delve deeper into the topics of the current agenda”, and voiced her interest in continuing and deepening cooperation; she also informed that the conclusions presented in the meeting will be presented to the Council of Ministers of the European Union.

The OAS and the Council of Europe have a history of nearly 25 years of cooperation in areas such as: on human rights, terrorism cyber security, cyber crime, corruption, citizenship education and gender equality.

The Council of Europe is composed of 47 Member States of which 41 are recognized as Permanent Observers to the OAS. In addition, the United States, Canada and Mexico enjoy observer status to that Council.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-070/12