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OAS Permanent Council Receives Reports on MAPP in Colombia and Youth Conference

  December 3, 2014

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today received reports on the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP) and the OAS Youth Conference 2014, in a regular meeting during which it formally set the date for the election of the next Secretary General, chose the members of the Working Group on the Strategic Vision, and bid farewell to the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Deborah-Mae Lovell.

The presentation of the periodic report on the MAPP was delivered by Hugo de Zela, Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, who noted on his behalf that the Mission has observed progress in the implementation of the general peace policy of the state, but that it has also observed threats and attacks against victims and state officials. The Chief of Staff recognized the efforts of the Colombian state to implement the Law on Victims and Restitution of Land in order to guarantee the rights of victims to justice and reparations, and highlighted that the legal framework for peace has been declared applicable, as it is a tool of transitional justice that aims to legally facilitate the end of the internal armed conflict and the achievement of peace.

On the recent releases covered by the Law of Justice and Peace, Ambassador De Zela said the report calls on Colombian institutions to strengthen measures of re-socialization inside prisons, according to current policies on re-integration in force; evaluate the impact in the regions of the releases; carry out preliminary diagnostic actions; and provide adequate information on the receiving communities about the return of those released with sensitivity training.

Ambassador De Zela said the OAS General Secretariat is pleased to see the positive development of the dialogues established between the Colombian government and the guerillas of the FARC-EP and the ELN. He underlined that with the release last Sunday of General Rubén Alzate and another two people who had been recently kidnapped by the FARC, he hoped to see as expressed by Secretary General Insulza that negotiations be restarted as soon as possible to arrive at a final agreement that sets forth the conditions for the peace so desired by the Colombian people.

In his conclusion, the Chief of Staff reiterated his gratitude to the donor countries and friends of the MAPP/OAS, especially the governments of Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, who have formally announced new contributions to the Mission for 2015.

Third Youth Conference of the Americas

The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin, presented a report on the Third Youth Conference of the Americas of the OAS 2014, which was held last Tuesday at the headquarters of the hemispheric Organization in Washington, DC with the participation of various experts from governmental and multilateral organizations. The forum focused on "Migration and Education" was attended by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and the First Lady of Honduras, Ana García de Hernández, who focused her presentation on the problem of the migration of unaccompanied minors.

Ambassador Ramdin said that during the event three panels were held, titled "Youth Migration: Transforming the Americas;” "Creating opportunities in countries of origin and destination;" and "The role of government and the private sector." In this context, the senior OAS official issued a call to member states to take action to improve the lives of young people in the region. "I hope this Council not only takes note of this, but also acts in terms of what to do in the short term, as this is the political platform to further discuss these issues," said Ambassador Ramdin.

In support of the submission of the Assistant Secretary General, young Edgar Maestre and Isabella Troconis, from the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), and Betty Choi, on behalf of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the OAS, presented reports on the Virtual Forum; the Conference and the consultation of the Youth Forum of the Americas: "Youth participation in the process of the Seventh Summit of the Americas activities conducted within the framework of the Third Youth Conference of the Americas, and which will serve as a basis for the youth forum to be held in Panama in April 2015 as part of the acts of the Seventh Summit of the Americas.

General Assembly for the Election of the Next Secretary General

The Permanent Council also formally convened the special meeting of the General Assembly on March 18, 2015, at the headquarters of the Organization for the purpose of electing the next Secretary General. The date had been agreed at a special meeting of Council held on November 19. Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, who took office in May 2005, ends his term officially on 25 May 2015. According to the OAS Charter, the Secretary General “shall be elected by the General Assembly for a five-year term and may not be reelected more than once."

In addition, the Council established once again the working group on the Strategic Vision of the OAS, and elected by acclamation the representatives of Mexico as Chair and Ecuador as Vice Chair.

At the end of the meeting, the Council bid farewell to the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the OAS, Deborah-Mae Lovell. The Chair of the Council and Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, La Celia Prince, highlighted that “. In addition to representing the interests of her country, Ambassador Lovell has dedicated her energy to speaking on behalf of youth, women and Afro-descendants in the hemisphere. Apart from her grace and poise as a diplomat, I hope I would be forgiven for mentioning that Dame has reminded us that diplomacy is not only about the serious postures we assume around the negotiating table, but also the ability to assimilate each other´s cultures.”

The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin, expressed on behalf of Secretary General Insulza and the entire General Secretariat his thanks to Ambassador Lovell for her years of work. “Your long track record within this Organization has not only been beneficial to your country that you represent so well, but to the Organization as well,” he said.

Ambassador Lovell thanked the participants for the sentiments expressed during the meeting, and her own government as well, “for trusting me for the past 31 years to carry the message for them in the theaters of Washington, the United Nations, Canada and London. I thank them for giving me the opportunity to work with all of you,” she concluded.

In the part of the Council dealing with “other business,” the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS, Emilio Rabasa, offered an update on the process of investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico. In addition, he said a group of experts designated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) would be formed, in response to a joint request from the families of the missing students, their representatives and the government of Mexico, in order to give technical assistance.

During the meeting, the representatives of Haiti, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, the United States, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay, Dominica, Mexico, The Bahamas, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Uruguay, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Barbados, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Guyana and the Observers from Italy and France took the floor.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event will be available here.

The audio of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-524/14