Media Center



  June 3, 2009

San Pedro Sula, Honduras – Representatives of ten Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) closed today the dialogue among Heads of Delegation at the General Assembly of the hemispheric institution with various interventions focused on the theme of the meeting, “Toward a Culture of Non-Violence.”

Representatives from Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Canada, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Honduras and Barbados supported the theme of the General Assembly and presented different proposals at the meeting held in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The Minister of Foreign Relations of Honduras, Patricia Rodas, thanked all delegations for visiting the country and particularly San Pedro Sula, a city that “gave its heart for this Assembly.”

Minister Rodas also thanked delegations for their support for the Declaration of San Pedro Sula, adopted at the General Assembly, and explained that her Government chose the topic of “Non-Violence” “as militant, powerful act” that refers to “any kind of aggression or any kind of violence, particularly the one that takes place inside homes.”

“The active principle of Non-Violence should be adopted by all countries in the Continent”, said the Honduran Minister, who focused its intervention especially in two types of violence particularly dangerous, according to her: “Violence in communications and violence in double standards.” Furthermore, she offered the OAS Permanent Council a “Charter of Non-Violence” that includes some principles for the hemispheric organization to follow.

In the 40th Anniversary of Jamaica joining the OAS, the Minister of Foreign Relations and Foreign Trade of the Caribbean nation, Kenneth Baugh, reminded the Assembly that “many factors related to crime, including poverty and the economic and ecological crises that we are facing, are transnational in nature.”

Therefore, said Minister Baugh, “recent developments call unmistakably for hemispheric and regional solutions.” The Caribbean Minister said that “the OAS provides an excellent forum for hemispheric cooperation and decision making. Let us take it to its fullest potential.”

The Vice Minister for the Americas of Canada, Alexandra Bugailiskis, said that violence “is a major challenge and a growing one” throughout the Continent. The Canadian diplomat also added that “security is a common concern, and one that we should face together.” “Common problems can benefit from common solutions,” she added.

Vice Minister Bugailiskis stressed the efforts made by Canada to combat violence inside and outside its territory, and emphasized especially a recent contribution by her Canada to eliminate anti personal mines, a project that once finalized, will allow Central America to be declared a mine-free region.

The Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the institution in Washington, José Enrique Castillo Barrantes, reminded the meeting of the culture of peace promoted by Costa Rica, particularly the “disproportionate military spending in Latin America” compared to spending in education and public health.

“We spend in military resources twice as much as what we receive in foreign investment,” said Ambassador Castillo Barrantes, “despite the fact that we have 182 million people under the poverty line.”

The Ambassador of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the OAS, Izben C. Williams asked the continental institution to adopt the theme of “Non-Violence” to use it in its activities, particularly those that might contribute to reducing violence in the region. “The responsibility of this organization is to take on this challenge and demonstrate its wisdom and leadership. History will not absolve us if we fail to find solutions to these problems.”

Reference: GA-15-09