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OAS Permanent Council Approves Final Report on Dialogue on Inter-American Democratic Charter

  December 14, 2011

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today approved the Final Report on the Dialogue on the Effectiveness of the Implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, a document from 2001 which the report says has been “a milestone for the region.”

The report, which will be elevated to the General Assembly, is the result of five sessions of debates held in 2011 at the Permanent Council, which started with the consensus that it is unnecessary to modify the Charter agreed upon in 2001, “given that the Charter itself reflects fundamental areas of consensus and balanced points of view regarding shared democratic ideals, values, principles, and practices.” Following this agreement, the dialogue focused on making implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter more effective.

Member States agreed that the Inter-American Democratic Charter is “the most complete legal and political instrument at the disposal of the Organization today for promoting democratic principles and practices, as well as for guiding the Organization's decisions and actions in the face of crises and disruptions of the democratic order.”

The document states that “the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter was described as the culmination and synthesis of a long process in which democracy evolved in the region.” It adds that it “has become a core part of the Organization's identity and purpose and a fundamental pillar of the inter-American system and its efforts to engage in multilateral promotion and defense of democracy.”

The dialogue resulted in a reaffirmation of the ongoing validity of the Charter, and the “positive assessment of the Inter-American Democratic Charter's broad and comprehensive concept of democracy.” There was also agreement on the need to universalize the jurisdiction of the inter-American human rights system to all Member States; and countries reiterated their concern on the subsistence of scourges such as poverty, discrimination and inequality.

The report also contains proposals to “boost the Organization of American States' preventive capacity, mechanisms, and actions,” such as creating a system to periodically elaborate reports on the state of democracy in the region, which could provide a basis for early warning systems; giving greater impetus to the role, mechanisms, and instruments of the OAS in accompanying countries in their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions; supporting a more dynamic, proactive, and flexible role of the Secretary General with regard to prevention; creating a special rapporteurship or similar to keep systematic, well informed track of political processes in each country; and specifying more clearly under what circumstances that might affect a country’s democratic stability the OAS would be expected to trigger collective actions in defense of democracy.

The dialogue held by the Permanent Council responded to a mandate issued in resolution 2555 of the 40th OAS General Assembly, in 2010, in Lima, and reiterated in resolution 2694 of the 41st General Assembly. Both texts instruct the Council to “organize and carry out a dialogue on the effectiveness of the implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to submit the results and/or progress of the same during 2011, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its adoption.”

During debates, Member States reviewed the Charter and made comments, exposed ideas and formulated proposals. The result is a document with the purpose of presenting “the main outcomes of the debate, highlight progress made, and, in so doing, offer some guidelines as to the next steps to be taken.”

The report highlights that the net outcome of the meetings “was a high level of commitment by the Member States to the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to the promotion and defense of democracy in the region,” and that “a productive exchange of views was maintained, characterized by profound insight and enriching proposals.”

The report is divided into three parts. The first part presents the specific mandates from the General Assembly; the second summarizes the principal topics discussed and debated at each of the five meetings, including positions taken by the Member States and the proposals put forward; the third part compiles and consolidates the principal outcomes of the series of dialogues, based on areas of agreement and progress attained thanks to the Member States' contributions.

A gallery of photos of the event will be available here soon.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-1014/11