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OAS and Inter-American Human Rights Institute to Cooperate on Promoting Equality, Fighting Poverty and Protecting Vulnerable Groups

  October 20, 2010

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR) today signed an agreement of cooperation for the promotion of human rights fields such as the fight against poverty and social exclusion; strengthening capacity in more vulnerable groups (indigenous communities, Afro-descendants, among others); and support for the full respect of human rights, through education, counseling, training and promotion activities.

During the signing ceremony, which took place at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said the two institutions seek to "take advantage of their knowledge and expertise to work together and strengthen full respect for human rights in our region."

The leader of the hemispheric institution pointed out that the Inter-American Democratic Charter adopted in September 2001 highlights democracy as the right of the citizens of the Americas. "Therefore the exercise and respect for human rights is at the heart of our democracy," stated Secretary General Insulza, who also explained that this principle should not only be proclaimed when rights are violated, but at all times. "The Rule of Law and respect for human rights are without a doubt the same; each and every violation of rights is a deterioration of democracy and the construction of a democratic process means the development of a State in which all of these rights are respected."

For his part, the Executive Director of the IIHR, Roberto Cuellar, acknowledged the support the OAS has offered to the educational work of the Institute. "Recently we have signed many agreements with governments, NGOs, universities, and consortia, but this one we are signing today has special significance because it confirms the teaching role and the educational dimension of the Institute for over 30 years in the region," he said.

The IIHR representative also highlighted the role the OAS has played in the defense of democracy. "With this agreement we reiterate IIHR's support for the task being undertaken by the OAS, of trying to remove all forms of violence, and unreservedly support the human rights protection system of the Americas, of promoting more democracy of citizenship in the region, and, thirdly, of denouncing inequality in the hemisphere."

Established in 1980, the IIHR's mission is to promote and strengthen respect for human rights contained in the American Convention on Human Rights and other treaties of the inter-American system. Since its inception it has been dedicated to the development of technical processes, research, training and production of teaching materials on human rights aimed at diverse audiences throughout the Americas.

A photo gallery of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-392/10