Categorized | National News

Mitchell Encourages OAS to Focus on the Needs of Small Member States

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell yesterday while giving remarks at the 2015 OAS Regular Session of the General Assembly called for an OAS that equitably meets the needs of all member states, while paying attention to the peculiar needs of small and vulnerable members.

“One of the fundamental assets of the Organization of American States is its design, which facilitates equitable political access for all member states, large or small, developed or developing,” he said.

“We have to work to ensure that this organization’s legitimacy as a political forum is maintained and that it continues to function as a place where each member state’s issues can be brought to the table and every country’s vote and voice carry equal weight. Ensuring equitable access is also necessary in terms of the composition of the general secretariat. We know that there is a significant imbalance in the organization with respect to regional representation, particularly for the CARICOM region. The status quo with regard to that should not continue.”

After extending his appreciation to the OAS for their role as a vanguard for protection and enhancement of human rights within the hemisphere, Mr. Mitchell said, he will continue to press for human rights approaches.

“We continue to press for human rights approaches which are positive as opposed to punitive and which are grounded in an equitable and fair-minded understanding of rights and responsibilities within societies and between sovereign member states,” he said.

“Our national offices, though small in cost are large in impact for our respective economies, and provide a cost effective and visible presence for the OAS in respective member states. The OAS human development initiatives through the grant of scholarships are an important hallmark of the organization and also represent a tangible deliverable by the OAS for citizenry, which has the further impact of strengthening institutions and enhancing the human capital and capacities of our respective countries and the expansion of cultural and social linkages across the hemisphere.”

Mr. Mitchell said the OAS works best when it focuses on helping member state governments create the enabling environment for delivering the equitable, prosperous and safe societies that citizen’s demand.
He said the foundation of the enabling environment is the four pillars of the OAS – democracy, security, human rights and integral development.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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