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OAS and Mexican State of Hidalgo Sign Agreement on the Hemispheric Forum Belém do Pará + 20

  May 5, 2014

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Governor of the Mexican State of Hidalgo, José Francisco Olvera Ruiz, today signed a letter of understanding according to which the city of Pachuca will host the Hemispheric Forum Belém do Pará + 20 “The Belém do Pará Convention and the prevention of violence against women: Best practices for the future,” from May 14 to 16, 2014.

Upon signing the document, Secretary General Insulza highlighted that “this Forum is the first meeting to be held on the prevention of violence against women, given that up to this point there had only been meeting on the effect of the violence.” “During the event, authorities on the issue will meet with experts from across the region to identify the advances made and remaining challenges for the effective prevention of violence in the areas of education and communication,” said the OAS leader.

Insulza thanked the State of Hidalgo for its generosity in hosting the event, and said “the initiatives of Governor Olvera Ruiz are themselves best practices which will surely be analyzed in our Hemispheric Forum.” Among his achievements in the area, the Secretary General highlighted the approval by the Congress of Hidalgo of a law against gender-based violence, the establishment of a justice center for women, and the fact that all the mayors in the state have adopted a policy of equality, among others.

In his conclusion, Secretary General Insulza said “such an important contribution from the State of Hidalgo to the activities of the Organization has as a point of reference the Cooperation Framework Agreement that we signed two years ago and whose objective is precisely to establish the basis of cooperation for the design and development of actions, programs and projects aimed at the strengthening of public policies,” in this area. “With the signing of this document, the Governor is demonstrating that he truly believes in collaboration and that he honors his commitments,” he concluded.

For his part, Governor Olvera Ruiz emphasized that the Forum represents “a great opportunity, because we can now spread the message we have been working on inside the state abroad, with a much greater voice, through the OAS.” “It also allows us to send a message from Pachuca, from Hidalgo, to the rest of the country so that this is not a fragmented, isolated issue, but one that becomes national public policy,” he said. Immediately thereafter, Olvera Ruiz recalled that the President of his country, Enrique Peña Nieto, determined that gender equality and combating violence against women would be key elements in the national development plan.

The Governor from Hidalgo said the Forum “allows us to fulfill the commitments we have made,” such as the agreement signed with the OAS two years ago. He explained that the event has its origins in the intention of his government to “take measures designed to improve the conditions of women in general in a state like Hidalgo, which means we must counter a culture of determined customs that generally are based on the prevalence of discrimination, and segregation of women.”

The Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS, Emilio Rabasa, sadi the future of the Belém do Pará Convention “depends upon the design, the implementation and the execution of preventative measures that, in and effective and efficient way eradicate prejudices and gender stereotypes that lead to inequality, discrimination and violence, unacceptable forms of behavior that hinder women’s development.” He characterized the Forum as “a great opportunity” to begin a reflection on the achievements and remaining challenges in ensuring that women can exercise “completely and effectively their rights in environments free of violence.”

The Forum will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belém do Pará Convention) by the OAS member states. It is sponsored by the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the OAS, the Government of the State of Hidalgo, the National Women’s Institute of Mexico (INMUJERES), the Foreign Ministry of Mexico, the System for the Integral Development of the Family of the State of Hidalgo (DIF), the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and UN Women.

The regional event will focus on the issue of the prevention of violence and has as its objective the identification of the advances – lessons learned, promising practices and experiences – as well as the challenges to the effective prevention of violence starting in the key areas of education and communication, in order to identify concrete political and program recommendations to strengthen the work in this area on the national and regional level.

National mechanisms for the progress of women in the region will take part in the Forum, as well as the Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) and other national authorities.

Present at the signing ceremony were the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin; the Executive Secretary of the CIM, Carmen Moreno; and the Permanent Representatives of several member states. Before the ceremony, Secretary General received Governor Olvera Ruiz and his wife, the President of the DIF Hidalgo, Guadalupe Romero de Olvera, in his office in Washington DC.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-189/14