Media Center

Press Release


  May 16, 2006

The top leadership of the Organization of American States (OAS) has reaffirmed the Organization’s commitment to a stronger and modernized Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) to advance the interests of women in the region. Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin, addressing the Third Regular Meeting of the CIM Executive Committee, pledged continued support for programs to combat violence against women, workplace inequality, human trafficking and HIV/AIDS.

In his discussions with the Executive Committee members, Insulza noted the Organization’s interest in strengthening the CIM and boosting support for “mainstreaming of gender issues in the OAS.” Gender-related issues play an important role across the inter-American agenda, the Secretary General said.

“We want a more comprehensive work program for gender, so we can assess women’s participation in public life, in business and in the economy,” said Insulza. He added that the OAS would like to measure the impact of gender perspective in the region, as well as the results of the struggle against domestic violence, progress in legislation in each member state, and women’s involvement in every sphere of activity.

Assistant Secretary General Ramdin inaugurated the two-day meeting on Monday, telling the Executive Committee the OAS is urging member states to step up their fight against human trafficking because it targets women and children so specifically. “Trafficking is indeed a multinational security threat,” he argued.

Ramdin called on member states to continue to address this scourge through inter-agency cooperation and directly with the OAS, noting CIM efforts in that regard. “Were it not for the work of the CIM, this issue that demands the utmost attention from the international community, national authorities and society in general would not have become so central to the OAS agenda,” he said. The Assistant Secretary General also cited CIM efforts to establish partnerships, within and outside the OAS, to battle the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its growing impact on the region.

Opening the session, CIM President Nilcéa Freire of Brazil talked about the Follow-Up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention, a tool to evaluate how the hemispheric treaty to eliminate violence against women is being implemented. “This is a source of great pride for the entire hemisphere and a great initiative,” she said. “We must prod our governments and support our experts so that the expectations we had in 2002, when we created this mechanism, can be fully realized,” she added.

Freire said CIM authorities have tried “to develop and incorporate new issues into the agenda, while adjusting to the needs and realities of this historic moment.” Before wrapping up their meeting, the Executive Committee will hear updates on the activities of the CIM Executive Secretariat, which is led by Executive Secretary Carman Lomellin. The meeting will also finalize details of the next Assembly of Delegates, to be held in El Salvador in October.

Reference: E-118/06