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Haiti Signs Conventions against Racism and Discrimination at the OAS

  June 25, 2014

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Haiti, Duly Brutus, today signed the Inter-American Agreement against Racism, Racial Discrimination and related forms of Intolerance and the Inter-American Convention against all forms of discrimination, in the presence of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the President of Haiti, Michel Martelly.

Foreign Minister Brutus expressed the great satisfaction of his country at signing both conventions. “Haiti was the pioneering country in fighting against the colonial slavery system,” recalled the chief of Haitian diplomacy.

The Haitian Foreign Minister said that by signing both agreements his country puts itself at the forefront of the fight against racism and racial discrimination in the region and he also remembered that Haiti went through a long history of fights against segregation and domination. As an example he mentioned the historical role Haitians played at the beginning of the 19th century in fighting against slavery and in favor of the independence of the peoples of the America, when Haiti “began to demonstrate its solidarity towards other peoples and to fight the colonial system of slavery.”

For his part, Secretary General Insulza recalled that both conventions established a binding definition of indirect discrimination, multiple or aggravated discrimination, and intolerance. “They also protect all human beings against any form of racism, racial discrimination, and acts of intolerance in every aspect of their public or private life,” he added.

The Secretary General highlighted that in total, the conventions contained more than 30 causes of discrimination aimed at groups mentioned, therefore establishing legal regimes that can be applied separately or independently.

Finally, the OAS leader urged member states that have not yet done so to sign and adopt both agreements. The General Assembly of the OAS in Antigua, Guatemala adopted the two binding instruments in June 2013.

The adoption of the two agreements was the culmination of a task undertaken in 2000 by OAS member states when the General Assembly instructed the Permanent Council to prepare a draft Inter-American agreement to prevent, punish, and eradicate racism and all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

The signing ceremony was held at the headquarters of the OAS in Washington DC and included the presence of the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin, and representatives of several OAS member states, among others.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-271/14