Organization of American States – Definition

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Organization of American States (OAS) – Definition

The Organization of American States, OAS is a continental organization established on 30 April 1948 to foster regional cooperation and solidarity among member countries. The OAS comprises the 35 independent states of the Americas with headquarters in Washington DC, capital of the United States.

A Little More on What is the Organization of American States

According to Article 1 of the OAS Charter, the aim of creating the organization was ‚Äúto achieve an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.‚ÄĚ In Article 2, the Charter outlines the following goals.

  1. Make the continent peaceful and secure.
  2. Promote and entrench democratic values while upholding the principle of non-intervention.
  3. Maintain peaceful coexistence and disputes resolution among member states.
  4. Take a common stand against aggression.
  5. Resolve political, judicial, and economic problems among member states.
  6. Cooperate on the development of their economies, society and culture.
  7. Eradication of extreme poverty, a major impediment to the adoption of democracy in the hemisphere.
  8. To restrict the stockpiling of conventional weapons so that member states can devote most of their resources to economic and social development.

Since the end of the Cold War and the return of democracy to Latin America states, the OAS has witnessed a reorganization to position itself as a firm believer in globalization. The organization now prioritizes:

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Strengthening Democratic Institutions: The OAS has sent multinational election observation missions to monitor the conduct of elections in the member states for over 40 years, starting from 1962.

It is also helping members strengthen their national and local governments, improving the performance of electoral bodies, and enhancing democratic value and practices. Also, the OAS provides fraud detection and prevention capabilities of member countries.

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†Peaceful Coexistence: The OAS has deployed special missions to Nicaragua, Haiti, Suriname, and Guatemala to support the peace process in those countries. It has engaged in large-scale landmine clearing operations in member states and served as a mediator in border dispute reconciliation efforts such as the Peru/Ecuador and Belize/Guatemala border conflicts. The organization is establishing an inter-American counter-terrorism agency to combat terror on continental America.
  • ¬†¬†Defense of Human Rights: The OAS has agencies that uphold, advocate and fight for human rights across member states. It also resolves and condemns individual cases of human rights violations. Also, the agencies monitor and report each member state‚Äôs human rights records.
  • Promotion of Free Trade: The OAS and two other agencies are working to develop a framework for an inter-continental free trade zone stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
  • ¬†¬†Anti-Drug Trafficking Campaigns: In 1986, the OAS established the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission as a coordinated effort to combat cross border drug trade.
  • ¬†Sustainable Development Goals: The OAS created the Inter-American Council for Integral Development to stimulate economic development and poverty alleviation. Member states cooperate on river basin management, biodiversity conservation, and planning for the effects of global climate change. The OAS countries also collaborate on the preservation of cultural diversity and the control of natural disaster.

References for Organization of American States

Academic Research on  Organization of American States

Presidential mandates and ministerial institutions: Summitry of the Americas, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank …, Feinberg, R. E. (2006). The Review of International Organizations, 1(1), 69-94. This article looks at OAS summits and implementing the resolutions of the meetings. The study aims to improve the accomplishment of directives from the OAS summits.

Conflict prevention in the Americas: the Organization of American States (OAS), Kreimer, O. (2003). In Conflict prevention: path to peace or grand illusion?. UNU Press, New York, US. Thisi paper talks about the role of the OAS in conflict prevention in the Americas.

Organization of American States (OAS), Mace, G. (2012). The Wiley‚ÄźBlackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization, 1-2. This book looks at the OAS and how it promotes globalization among member states.

Analysis for the Organization of American States (OAS), Nooruddin, I. (2017). This article analyzes the OAS and its role in fostering economic growth in the Americas.

Organization of American States (OAS), MACE, G. (2017). This article provides an overview of the OAS, its functions and importance for development and peace on the American continent.

Organization of American States (OAS), Turner, B. (2010). In The Statesman’s Yearbook (pp. 64-64). Palgrave Macmillan, London. This article provides an overview of the OAS and its role in the development and peace on the American continent.

Organization of American States (OAS), Palgrave Macmillan. (2016). The Statesman’s Yearbook: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World 2017, 67-68. This article looks at the politics, economy and cultures of the OAS member states.


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