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Tenth Anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter was Commemorated in Chile with a Renewed Commitment of the Americas with Democracy

  September 4, 2011

The commemorative hemispheric event of the tenth anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter closed today in Valparaíso, Chile, after two days of debate in which the foreign ministers, ambassadors and special guests of the region presented their perspectives on the future of democracy in the Americas, with special emphasis on its protection and development.

The introduction to the dialogue was in charge of the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Director General of the Andean Commission of Jurists, Diego García Sayán, who proposed to conduct periodical analyses in the Member States of the OAS and to create an early alert system that would help to identify situations of risk. He also recalled that the Charter must not be conceived as "a punitive tool, but above all as an instrument for the defense and development of democracy."

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, recalled that the Charter already contains all of the necessary elements and that great progress has already been achieved with its adoption a decade ago. He also explained the possibility of adopting follow-up mechanisms already used in other issues such as corruption and in which there exists an inter-pares evaluation consisting of the generation of periodic reports that would contribute to the initiative of prevention that is of great relevance to the countries. In this sense, he asserted that the OAS "has been able to act adequately when we have been able to prevent, since it is very difficult to respond to things once they have been broken."

In his remarks, the head of the hemispheric organization noted that "if we could achieve three things--to define clearly what are the fundamental ruptures, identify a non-invasive follow-up mechanism, and seek more adequate prevention ways--then we would be making a very significant contribution to the Charter."

The dialogue between foreign ministers from all the regions of the hemisphere concluded with a declaration by the Foreign Minister of Chile and event host, Alfredo Moreno, that gathers the principal concerns and agreements expressed. Among them the profile assigned to the Democratic Charter as the principal regional instrument for democratic governance and as a central element of regional identity.

Other issues included in the debate were the importance of facing the challenges to democracy while addressing scourges such as violence, organized crime, drug trafficking and other threats to security, as well as the need to fight discrimination through greater citizens participation.

Regarding the role of the OAS, the delegates of the member countries present at the meeting advocated for giving it operative tools to allow it to promote, root and defend democracy among the Member States, as well as to strengthen the preventive capacity of the organization. Some advocated for a broader interpretation of the faculties it currently has and many commented on the usefulness of establishing a compendium of better practices that would have as their objective prevention and cooperation among the countries and that would take into account the particularities of each nation.

The document presented by Minister Moreno reflected the commitment of the countries of the hemisphere "with democracy, and with the will for it to extend to all the sectors of our society." Furthermore, it establishes that "democracy, despite all the limitations it may have, is the best and most just system of government. That is why, the States of the Americas renew their inalterable commitment with democracy and its development."

The Inter-American Democratic Charter was signed in Lima, Peru, in September 2011, and it has been recognized as the most complete inter-American instrument created to date to promote democratic practices in the States of the continent and develop the cooperation activities necessary to strengthen democratic governance in the region.

Additional information on the event is available here.

The full text of the Inter-American Democratic Charter is available here.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-816/11