Media Center

Press Release


  October 25, 2007

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) established last night a Special Committee on Migration and designated by acclamation the Permanent Representative of Uruguay, Ambassador María del Lujan Flores, as its Chair and the Alternate Representative of Belize, Néstor Méndez, as Vice Chair.

According to OAS General Assembly resolution number 2326, the Special Committee on Migration should “analyze migration issues and flows from an integral perspective, taking into account the relevant provisions of international law, especially international human rights law, and maintaining for that purpose close contact with the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs and the Special Rapporteurship on Migrant Workers and Their Families of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).”

Prior to the establishment of the Committee, the delegations of Belize, Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador, Barbados, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, United States, Costa Rica, Argentina and Paraguay, highlighted the particularly relevant place that the migration issue holds in the Inter-American agenda, noting the importance of broadening the debate and the analysis on human migration, regular and irregular, and the migration flows in the Americas, as well as their causes and impact on the Member States of the Organization.

Several delegations noted that both the countries of origin and of destination share responsibility in dealing with the migration issue, and urged the Special Committee on the matter to approach the problem with an integral focus that considers the individual as a person and not an object of migration management.

In welcoming her designation as Chair of the Special Committee on Migration, the Uruguayan Ambassador said that “migrations constitute a critical issue in the current agenda of international relations,” recalling that according to United Nations statistics, 176 million migrants existed in the world in the year 2000, and by 2005 that figure had reached 191 millions.

At another moment of the regular session of the Permanent Council, the Minister of the Special Secretariat for Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality of Brazil, Matilde Ribeiro, made a presentation on the Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.

In this regard, she reported her country’s wish to host next year’s Regional Preparatory Conference of the Revision Process of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, known as the Durban Conference.

Also during the session, the President of Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), Brazilian lawmaker Luiz Carlos Hauly, transmitted a request to establish official and direct communication channels between the FIPA and the OAS.

Finally, the session welcomed the new Permanent Observer of France, Ambassador Marie-France Pagnier, and also bid farewell after concluding his mission to the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, Ambassador Javier Sancho Bonilla.

The Central American diplomat presented his credentials as Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the OAS on February 25, 2005. Before assuming those duties, Ambassador Javier Sancho Bonilla, a career diplomat, held other posts as Director General of External Politics of his country’s Foreign Relations Ministry; Ambassador in Brazil, Korea and Thailand; and delegate in several international conferences including Chief of delegation of Costa Rica in the Conference of National Coordinators of the Rio Group, held in Santiago, Chile, in 2001.

Reference: E-266/07