The successor to the Pan American Conferences and the Pan
American Union (1910), the Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948. It is the world’s oldest operating regional organization and has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States.
The aim of the OAS is to build an order of peace and justice on the American continent, promote solidarity, development and cooperation among the States of the region, support democracy and protect human rights.
The structure of the Organization and the functions, principles and common purposes of its organs are set out in the Charter of the OAS, approved at the Ninth International Pan American Conference, held in Bogota in 1948. Today, the OAS has 35 member States, in addition to 69 countries and the European Union with permanent observer status.
The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the OAS. As a plenary body, it convenes in regular annual sessions and, under special circumstances, in special sessions at the level of Foreign Ministers. Between sessions of the General Assembly, works are carried out by the Permanent Council, the Inter-American Council for Integral Development and the different commissions that are part of the Organization's structure. The Charter also sets out the conduction of a Consultation Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs to address issues of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States (for example, the Venezuelan crisis). The OAS also performs a secretarial role in several ministerial meetings, particularly those of the Justice Ministers, Ministers of Science and Technology, and Education Ministers of the Americas.
Brazil was one of the 21 founders of the OAS by signing the Charter of 1948. The country's role in the inter-American system is based on the principles enshrined in its Federal Constitution, which guide the actions to effectively promote the main pillars of the Organization: democracy, integral development, human rights, multidimensional security. In this sense, Brazil has sought to foster good relations among the American countries and to improve the quality of life of its citizens, with emphasis on the protection of democracy, rule of law, human rights and free enterprise.
Brazil is signatory to a wide range of treaties, conventions and inter-American statements, including the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (1948), the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (1948), the American Convention on Human Rights (1969) and Additional Protocols, the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (1999); the Inter-American Democratic Charter (2001), the Social Charter of the Americas (2012); the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance (2013); and the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons (2015).
The Brazilian Delegation to the OAS, based in Washington D.C., has currently been involved, among other initiatives, in two joint exercises within the scope of the Brazilian efforts in support of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the Hemisphere: i) the “G14+”, an informal group with the aim of discussing solutions to the Venezuelan crisis, and ii) the “Permanent Council Working Group on Nicaragua”, comprised of 12 member states.
Brazil is also a member of the “Group of Friends of Haiti” and has a cooperation project with the OAS to support the electoral processes and institutional strengthening of that country. Another successful partnership is that between the Coimbra Group of Brazilian Universities (GCUB) and the OAS. The GCUB consists of 50 Brazilian universities and, in coordination with the OAS, awards students from the Americas scholarships to master's and doctoral degree programs in Brazilian universities.