Subject: [Report] OAS (part 1)
U.S. Department of State Background Notes: Organization of American States, May 1997 Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs
OFFICIAL NAME: Organization of American States
Headquarters: Washington, DC.
Established: April 14, 1890, as the International Union of American Republics. Became the Pan American Union in 1910, then the Organization of American States in 1948 with the adoption of the OAS Charter in Bogota, Colombia.
Purposes: To strengthen peace and security in the hemisphere; promote representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; and promote economic, social, and cultural development.
Members: 35--Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba*, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
*Cuba is a member, although its present government has been excluded from participation since 1962 for incompatibility with the principles of the OAS Charter.
Permanent Observers: 41--Algeria, Angola, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Official Languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Principal Organs: General Assembly; Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers; Permanent Council; Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI); Inter-American Juridical Committee; Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); and the General Secretariat.
Specialized Organizations: Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM); Inter-American Children's Institute (IACI); Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII); Pan American Institute for Geography and History (PAIGH); Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA); and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Other Entities: Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD); Inter-American Defense Board (IADB); Inter-American Defense College (IADC); Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL); Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).
Budget (1997): Regular fund (operations): $84 million, financed mainly by assessed contributions from all members. The U.S. share is 59%. Voluntary funds: $13 million, financed by contributions from all member states (the U.S. provided $7 million), some permanent observers, international financial institutions, and development agencies.
The Organization of American States, the oldest regional international organization in the world, traces its origins to the Congress of Panama, convoked by Simon Bolivar in 1826 and attended by representatives from Central and South America. That congress drafted the Treaty of Perpetual Union, League and Confederation, signed by the delegates but ratified only by Gran Colombia (today's Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela).
Hemispheric countries continued the discussion of an inter-American system during the rest of that century. The first concrete step was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington, DC. On April 14, 1890, delegates created the International Union of American Republics "for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information." They also established the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics in Washington as the union's secretariat, with the participation of 18 Western Hemisphere nations, including the United States. In 1910, the Commercial Bureau became the Pan American Union, and American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $5 million to construct a permanent headquarters in Washington, DC, which is today the OAS building.
The experience of World War II convinced hemispheric governments that unilateral action could not ensure the territorial integrity of the American nations in the event of extra-continental aggression. To meet the challenges of global conflict in the post-war world and to contain conflicts within the hemisphere, they adopted a system of collective security, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro.
The OAS Charter was adopted at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogota, Colombia, in 1948. It reaffirmed the fundamental rights and duties of states, proclaimed the goals of the new organization, and established its organs and agencies. That conference also approved the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (Pact of Bogota) and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The OAS Charter proclaims it to be a regional agency within the UN system.
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Met dank aan Albert Buys
Met dank aan Albert Buys