Media Center

Press Release


  September 24, 2004

The President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo, today called on the countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) to strengthen and deepen the democratic achievements of the last few years.

“We must not allow any setbacks in human rights policies, nor in the defense of democracy,” Toledo told a protocolary session of the OAS Permanent Council. “Funding for the inter-American human rights system is essential,” he said, adding that the Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights should become permanently functioning bodies.

Toledo also talked about the new challenges facing today’s democracies and said that all actors in a state – not only the political powers but also civil society and the private sector – must do their part to help build “a democratic coexistence.” A democratic hemisphere requires respect for diversity and cultural pluralism, as well as the political will for dialogue and tolerance, he said.

The fight against corruption should be an inter-American priority, Toledo said, adding that it is important to tackle not only public officials’ corrupt actions, but also “the complicity of the private sector.” He called on every country of the world to “say no to impunity” in cases involving “persons who violated human rights and committed crimes against humanity and acts of corruption in our nations.”

“As the leader of Peru, I directly call on Japan to proceed with the extradition of Alberto Fujimori to face Peruvian courts for the grave crimes that are attributed to him,” Toledo said, a statement welcomed with applause.

In welcoming Toledo, OAS Secretary General Miguel Angel Rodríguez emphasized his democratic leadership during difficult times in his country. Three year ago, when Alejandro Toledo took office, Peru was facing a democracy “in a terminal state and with a deteriorating economy,” Rodríguez recalled. He praised the efforts of the Peruvian head of state in solidifying Peruvian democracy and recognized that country’s initiative in the creation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which was adopted in Lima on September 11, 2001, the same day terrorist attacks took place in the United Sates.

The Chair of the Permanent Council and Nicaraguan Ambassador to the OAS, Carmen Marina Gutiérrez, also referred to the Democratic Charter, stressing the Peruvian president’s firm commitment to strengthen democratic institutions. “This navigation instrument…is the only valid path to confront barbaric terrorism, poverty and drugs. The ability to build peace, cooperation and development rests on its application,” said Ambassador Gutierrez.

Reference: E-163/04