44th General Assembly of the Organization of American States

 

Meeting with civil society organizations in Asunción (Paraguay)

 

Representatives of Dianova and over 500 other civil society organizations participated in a dialogue with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, in the framework of the 44th Regular Session of the organization’s General Assembly.

During the meeting, a number of topics related to human rights were discussed, particularly problems of exclusion of minorities, among other issues.

Secretary General Insulza stressed that for the OAS, civil society organizations are valuable partners which ensure the success of the policies and programs adopted by Member States. Mr. Insulza listened attentively to the many claims about ongoing violations of human rights, including the persecution of human rights advocates, the lack of independent judiciary system, allegations of torture, forced displacements and discriminatory practices based on race, political opinion, sexual identity, religious beliefs, etc.

José Miguel Insulza promised to take up these issues, and stated: “If our region is to progress in its democratic development, with an overall, healthy growth, it must face four major political challenges: social inclusion, public safety, the defense of human rights and the expansion of democracy and the rule of law.”

Jordi Alos

In another meeting held with the heads of delegations, civil society representatives have reported on issues raised in previous working groups. They stressed that despite the commitment by Member States to pursue economic development based on equality, much remains to be done. Economic development has resulted in lower levels of poverty in certain countries, however much remains to this done in this region, which is the world’s most unequal and violent.

Private sector representatives also participated in the conference; they emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships, workers’ organizations and youth representatives as a potential force for the present and the future. Despite the differences that exist between the region’s 34 countries (population, per capita income, etc.), it is clear that the states themselves must be the ultimate guarantors of countries’ social and economic health, because without equal opportunities the words democracy and human rights are meaningless.

Jordi Alos
Director General, Dianova Uruguay