The successor to the Pan American Conferences and the Pan American Union (1910)
the Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, it is the oldest active regional organization. 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, the functions of its bodies, its common principles and purposes 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 72 Permanent Observers.
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 Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Between sessions of the General Assembly, work is 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. As provided for by the Charter of the OAS, Consultation Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs are held to address issues of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States (for example, the Venezuelan crisis). The OAS also serves as secretariat 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 having signed 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 fundamental pillars of the Organization: democracy, integral development, human rights, multidimensional security. To this end, 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 Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) (1947); 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); the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and 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 three 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 peaceful solutions to the Venezuelan crisis; ii) the “Permanent Council Working Group on Nicaragua”, comprised of 12 member States; and iii) the treatment of the crisis in Venezuela under the scope of the 1947 Rio Treaty (currently comprised of 19 member States)
It should be noted that 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 more than 50 Brazilian institutions of higher education and, in coordination with the OAS, grants master’s and doctoral degree scholarships in Brazilian universities to students from all over the continent.