Asunción, Paraguay - “The United States believes that a vibrant and active OAS is central to our common vision of creating a peaceful, prosperous and socially inclusive hemisphere.”  ~ Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom, June 4, 2014, Asuncion, Paraguay      Advances on OAS Reform and Strategic Vision:

The United States and its partners in the Americas forged a resolution on a new strategic vision statement declaring the OAS “the hemispheric political forum inclusive of all the countries of the Americas, committed to the strengthening of democracy, the promotion and protection of human rights, the advancement of integral development, and the fostering of multidimensional security, all equal and interdependent, with justice and social inclusion, for the benefit of the peoples of the Americas.”

As part of our shared efforts to advance the implementation of this vision, the United States welcomes the decision of the General Assembly to develop supporting guidelines, strategic objectives, and work plans. The United States also looks forward to the presentation of a Management Modernization Plan by the Secretary General for consideration by a Special General Assembly later this year.

Support for Financing of the 2015 OAS Program Budget: As a concrete manifestation of our continued support for the OAS and its important work in the Americas, the United States endorsed the General Assembly’s approval of a 1.5% increase to the Organization's 2015 program budget.

As the largest financial contributor to the OAS, the United States is firmly committed to supporting an Organization that values accountability to its member states and transparency in its operating procedures. We look forward to working with other member states to consolidate this process, adjust the current OAS scale of assessments, and transform the OAS into a more vibrant and efficient institution that supports the core values of its founding Charter, representative democracy, the exercise of human rights, security for those most vulnerable and sustainable development for all.

Strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System: The United States, working with key partners, also supported a resolution that reaffirms the importance of working together to further strengthen the independent Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission), through continued dialogue among member states, within the Commission, and with civil society. Consistent with the OAS Charter, the United States remains committed to strengthening the Commission’s work and its critical role in advancing the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the Americas. We are proud of our record of support for the work of the Commission and its Rapporteurs, including the important efforts of the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression.

Support for Civil Society and Freedom of Association and Assembly: The United States welcomed the adoption of the Strategy for Strengthening Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities, which details specific steps for ensuring greater participation of civil society organizations in the work of the OAS.

The General Assembly, with strong backing from the United States, also decided to enhance OAS efforts to exchange regional experiences, viewpoints, and good practices on the protection of human rights defenders in the Americas. This mandate serves to complement the resolution previously introduced by the United States and adopted by the 2011 OAS General Assembly, "Promotion of the Rights to Freedom of Assembly and of Association in the Americas" (AG/RES. 2680).

U.S. Support for Social Inclusion: The United States actively supported OAS efforts to promote respect for the human rights of people of African descent, including recognition of the International Decade for People of African descent in the Americas and the exchange of best practices to promote inclusion. The U.S. co-sponsored a resolution focused on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, emphasizing access to education, training and employment opportunities. The United States was also in the forefront of a renewed OAS effort to promote respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and reaffirmed support for the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons.

Support for the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (OAS/MAPP): Reflecting strong support for the important and ongoing work of the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process (OAS/MAPP) in Colombia, the United States announced a new contribution in support of the OAS/MAPP Mission in the amount of $420,000. This will enable the OAS/MAPP Mission to advance its efforts in the areas of land restitution; reparation, truth and reconciliation; justice, peace, and transitional justice; and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration. The OAS/MAPP Mission was established in 2004, with the strong support of the United States.