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Civil Society of the Americas Presents Its Perspectives on Food Security, Human Rights, and Discrimination to the Secretary General

  June 2, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the civil society representatives present in Cochabamba for the forty-second regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization today held a conversation in which they exchanged views on the issues of greatest concern and relevance to the participating groups.

The dialogue took place at the Hotel Regina Tiquipaya in Cochabamba, where the annual OAS summit will be held from tomorrow through Tuesday, June 5. It was attended by spokespersons of over 100 civil society organizations from 25 countries.

In opening the dialogue, the Secretary General said this encounter was important in that it allowed the OAS to hear the concerns and ideas of civil society. “Often what you have to say appears after the deliberations of the Organization,” he explained. “For our part, we are always quite willing not only to listen but also to consider the proposals you make here,” said the head of the hemispheric Organization.

The comments of the civil society representatives had to do with human rights; children’s health; the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals; violence against women; the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Americas; the commitment to young people; impunity regarding crimes committed during the military dictatorships; the rights of elder persons; and the central theme of the Assembly session, “Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas.”

The dialogue also touched on matters such as education, persecution of human rights defenders, and discrimination against persons of African descent. On the topic of discrimination, Secretary General Insulza affirmed that "we need a convention against all forms of discrimination. We have some conventions against discrimination in specific areas, but no umbrella convention. We will continue to press for it,” he said.

The informal conversation between the Secretary General of the OAS and the representatives of civil society organizations has been held in the context of the General Assembly since its thirty-sixth regular session, in 2006 in the Dominican Republic. This is an additional forum for discussion with the social sectors that have been participating in OAS activities for over a decade.

Slated for tomorrow, Sunday, June 3, prior to the official inauguration of the forty-second regular session of the General Assembly, is the dialogue of heads of delegation and the OAS Secretary General with representatives of civil society, workers, and the private sector on the theme of this Assembly session, “Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas.”

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-200/12