The successor to the Pan American Conference and the Pan American Union (1910), the Organization of American States (OAS) is the oldest organization operating in the region.
It aims to build an order of peace and justice in the Americas, to promote solidarity and mutual cooperation among the States of the region and to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its members.
The structure, principles, objectives of the Organization and the duties of its bodies 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 will be 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 consider issues of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States, and to serve as the Organ of Consultation. The OAS also performs a secretarial role in several ministerial meetings, particularly those of the Justice Ministers, Labor 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 of sovereignty, citizenship and human dignity, the social values of work and free enterprise, and political pluralism 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 the American nations, with particular emphasis on the protection of human rights and democracy and the eradication of hunger and poverty.
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, the American Convention on Human Rights (and Additional Protocols), the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the Social Charter of the Americas, the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement, the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance, the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, and the Inter-American Convention on the Protection of Human Rights of Older Persons.
It is worth noting that Brazil and the OAS have a joint cooperation project to support the electoral process and institutional strengthening of Haiti. Brazil is a member of the Group of Friends of Haiti, the Organization's forum for the discussion of issues concerning that country. Another partnership is that between the Coimbra Group of Brazilian Universities (GCUB) and the OAS. The Group is made up of 50 Brazilian universities, and in coordination with the OAS offers students of the Organization's member states scholarships for master's and doctoral programs in Brazilian universities.