CP/acta 1809/11 29 junio 2011



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En guise de conclusion, tout en reconnaissant le bien-fondé de la Charte démocratique, nous pensons qu’il est tout aussi nécessaire que l’on commence à réfléchir sur les ajustements que nous devons y apporter. Et enfin, nous voulons vivement, encourager le Secrétariat de l’Organisation de continuer à offrir une tribune aux parlements de la région dans le cadre de la préparation du prochain sommet des Amériques, car nous pensons que les parlements de la région peuvent pleinement nous aider à enrichir notre travail en faveur de la démocratie.
Merci.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you very much, Ambassador. I now recognize the Ambassador of Canada.
El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DEL CANADÁ: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
We’re certainly very pleased to participate in this dialogue on the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We certainly welcome any ongoing dialogue on this important subject because we believe it provides a great opportunity to share views on how to strengthen the Democratic Charter.
Today’s discussion on Chapter I is particularly important as this, in effect, is the foundational chapter of the Charter, and it outlines the core elements of representative democracy, as was agreed upon in 2001. We believe that the principles that were outlined in Chapter I in 2001 are as relevant today as they were a decade ago.
As we are all aware, Chapter I outlines what are considered to be the core elements of democratic practice. We believe that these core elements provide a broad guidance to all of our countries in the Hemisphere on what constitutes democratic governance. We firmly believe that democracy is built from within. It can only take root if it is home grown, nurtured by local actors, and has a deep understanding of the local needs, traditions, and aspirations.
Of course, the most direct way that citizens can influence decisions is through free and fair elections. Free and fair elections are necessary but they are certainly not sufficient. Beyond these elections, there are many other important ways to ensure citizen participation in the electoral process. For example, Canada believes that the development of a vibrant civil society that can work and evolve in an environment free of restrictions is of key importance. This is a main facilitator of citizen participation in decision making.
In addition, we believe that information is the lifeblood of democracy. This is not just the existence of a free media, but the access of citizens to information of the Government and its deliberations.
Also, political parties play an absolutely essential role in connecting citizens with the decision-making processes and aggregating these citizen preferences into real choices at election time. Therefore, the presence of political parties and the plurality that they represent are essential to any healthy democracy.
While we recognize that there is broad acceptance amongst member states on the need for democracy as an expression of political will, we would like to focus the discussions going forward on the practice of these core democratic elements, and by practice, I’m referring to the day-to-day functions of our governments, as well as the way our institutions interact with our citizens.
In Canada, the practice of democracy includes many of the elements that are outlined in Chapter I of the Charter, and these include the balance of power between public institutions, freedom of expression, a vibrant civil society, respect for minority rights and minority views, the existence of a free media, and respect for a loyal, political opposition.
As I noted in our previous dialogue on May 4, Canada proposes the creation of a compendium of best practices through which members could review and exchange information on what each member state considers positive national contributions to democratic practice. This compendium could serve as a starting point for implementing the proposals put forward by the Secretary General to strengthen the Charter, such as the creation of a peer review mechanism or a special rapporteur on democratic governance.
It is our hope that the creation of such a compendium of best practices would permit all of our countries to share lessons that we have learned, in the hopes that it would provide an opportunity to learn from good practices in all our countries. We believe that this would lead to a fruitful discussion that would help to strengthen democratic governance across the Hemisphere.

In conclusion, Madam Chair, democratic governance is an ideal that we all strive towards, and we believe that there is always room to improve. We believe that the Charter should be viewed as a “living document” that promotes democratic governance and shapes policy through dialogue. We believe that all countries of the Hemisphere, including my own, stand to benefit from a formal exchange and dialogue on best practices related to democratic governance.


In this spirit, we would like to offer the following practical suggestions on how to go forward.


  • The compendium of best practices, we feel, could make a contribution to our common understanding.




  • Further consideration of a special rapporteur on democracy would add value to the work of the Secretariat.




  • You mentioned in your opening remarks the possibility of a peer review mechanism. This was also included in the Secretary General’s report. We believe that there is merit in considering some form of peer review mechanism.




  • We believe that it would be very useful to have an early warning mechanism, whether it be the result of the work of a special rapporteur or a peer review mechanism.

We look forward to engaging our partners on these and other ideas that may emerge from this dialogue. I would like to emphasize that the Charter is most valuable as a “living document” that promotes democratic governance, and we hope that over time we can adopt such initiatives in order to strengthen what we believe is a fundamental document of the Organization of American States.


Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you very much, Ambassador.
If I may just make reference to your most recent comment, when, at the beginning of my remarks on this topic this morning, I mentioned an early warning mechanism to avoid conflicts in member states, I was referring to one of the suggestions that came out of the first discussions on the Inter-American Democratic Charter. It’s not the Chair’s proposal. I just wanted to make that clarification for the record. Thank you.
I’m now pleased to give the floor to the Ambassador of Guatemala.
El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DE GUATEMALA: Gracias, señora Presidenta.
Volvemos a saludar la conveniencia de un diálogo sobre la Carta Democrática Interamericana.
El día de hoy, conforme a la agenda discutimos apenas el capítulo I, seis escasos artículos con un sentido enorme sobre nuestros pueblos. Este primer capítulo es una parte dogmática, dijéramos, de la Carta, porque define el derecho y la obligación de la democracia. También habla sobre la naturaleza de la democracia representativa cuyo elemento tipificante, y aquí me valgo de la intervención del distinguido Embajador de Costa Rica, es el Estado de Derecho, entendido este como el principio de legalidad en el cual todos los ciudadanos, todas las instituciones, están sujetas a la ley, nunca superiores a ella, sino igualmente tratadas respecto de ella. Y esto tal vez es el elemento esencial del Estado de Derecho.
Luego, en sus artículos 3, 4, 5 y 6, la Carta contempla los elementos esenciales, los componentes de lo que concibe como aquel esquema político llamado democracia. Quiero referirme, entonces, a la intervención del distinguido Representante Permanente de Dominica, nuestro buen amigo el Embajador Charles, porque ciertamente la democracia no es un concepto pétreo, sino está en estado de flujo, de evolución. Y él hablaba que en la Comunidad del Caribe (CARICOM) practican la democracia deliberativa.
Ciertamente, nuestra Carta habla de democracia representativa y la tipifica categórica y taxativamente, dice cuáles son sus elementos. Traigo a cuenta esta disquisición porque también hemos oído de la democracia electrónica o virtual –e-democracy– que ciertamente facilita la participación ciudadana, pero también hemos oído planteamientos sobre democracias monárquicas, parlamentarias, populares, plebiscitarias algunas, deliberativas o participatorias otras. Aún así, nuestra Carta y la Carta fundamental de la Organización en su artículo 9 habla de democracia representativa. Y aquí tenemos nada menos que el catálogo mínimo que tipifica ese concepto. Para nosotros es un concepto que puede admitir diferentes interpretaciones, diferentes usos o modismos, mas no sus cualidades. Estas son únicas, son inmanentes al concepto de democracia representativa. Por eso quiero traer a colación apenas dos situaciones que merecen ser debidamente analizadas.
La primera la trajo el distinguido Representante de Chile a la mesa cuando se hace nugatoria la subordinación de poderes, porque una cosa es legislar legalmente y otra es hacerla legítimamente. Esa pregunta la quiero dejar como tarea pendiente porque en ese análisis que hablaba también el Embajador del Canadá, el examen entre pares, sin caer en la injerencia, podríamos tener que calificar, como ya ha pasado aquí en otros debates, cuándo un acto de poder público no es necesariamente democrático. Dejo eso como la primera interrogante.
La segunda, al hablar de los partidos políticos, que también son inherentes al ejercicio democrático, tenemos presente no solo –como lo señalaba el Embajador de México– que una democracia requiere seguridad, también requiere desarrollo. En ese desarrollo las campañas electorales han sido desfiguradas ya sea por un mercantilismo abusivo, porque se ha comercializado la política y el dinero parece que ha desbordado nuestras capacidades de ser buenos ciudadanos.
¿Por qué lo digo? Porque lo veo en mi país y en otros donde la financiación de las actividades proselitistas de los partidos no tienen una debida transparencia ni una corresponsabilidad con la ciudadanía. Es un insulto a las democracias que se gaste tanto en publicidad y no se haga nada por los pueblos.
Aquí también me quiero referir al dinero proveniente de fuentes ilícitas. La Carta Democrática lo prevé, pero aquí nos falta un mecanismo para saber de un régimen equilibrado y transparente de financiación de los partidos. Esa es la segunda interrogante que quería dejar sobre la mesa.
Finalmente, quiero decir que, en efecto, este es un debate enriquecedor. Promueve, como bien lo ha señalaba el Embajador del Perú, un diálogo pedagógico, una contribución para ese proceso de convergencia, y un proceso de convergencia que debe estar encaminado a afinar nuestras percepciones, a tener criterios compartidos a fin de encontrar ideas y acciones comunes que adelanten los postulados de la Carta Democrática, puesto que ya hemos dicho y se ha dicho antes, que es un instrumento valiosísimo, es vivo, es único, es trascendente en nuestra función aquí que es temporal.
Los pueblos van a seguir reclamando la democracia y en la medida que podamos mejorarla, en esa medida prestaremos un mejor servicio a nuestra propia función.
Gracias, señora Presidenta.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you very much, Ambassador. I now recognize the Delegation of Argentina.
El REPREENTANTE INTERINO DE LA ARGENTINA: Gracias, señora Presidenta.
Mi intervención va a ser de carácter general sobre la Carta. Era el entendido de mi Delegación que se había acordado un diálogo general en estas dos primeras sesiones.
Señora Presidenta, si bien la Carta provee una sólida y valiosa herramienta para el resguardo de la democracia en el Continente, debemos continuar buscando las formas para reforzar la capacidad de la OEA a través del fortalecimiento de los mecanismos existentes para responder a los requerimientos de un Estado Miembro que solicita asistencia para consolidar su institucionalidad democrática.
Para la Argentina, la democracia, derechos humanos y desarrollo económico y social constituyen tres ejes de su acción en el ámbito internacional que considera vinculados y que se refuerzan mutuamente, los cuales deben ser considerados de manera relacionada a fin de ver realizados el Estado de Derecho, las libertades fundamentales y la justicia social. En este sentido, la Carta conforma un verdadero instrumento de nuestra política exterior y una referencia permanente de su acción en el ámbito interamericano.
Nuestro país no solo reconoció los aportes de la Carta, sino que señaló la necesidad de continuar reforzando y mejorando los instrumentos de la Organización a fin de fortalecer la calidad de la democracia y consolidar su institucionalidad democrática.
En relación con la propuesta para reforzar los mecanismos existentes en la Organización y la Carta Democrática Interamericana, nuestro país propuso a los Estados Miembros invitar a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos a celebrar períodos de sesiones extraordinarias fuera de su sede en Washington, apoyar un aumento del presupuesto de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, a través del Fondo Regular de la OEA, cuyo aumento permitirá al sistema interamericano de derechos humanos cumplir no solo con su mandato de promoción y protección de los derechos humanos, sino con su rol de promoción de la democracia y de los objetivos de la Carta.
Gracias, señora Presidenta.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you very much. I now recognize the Delegation of Brazil.
La REPRESENTANTE INTERINA DEL BRASIL: Senhora Presidenta, conforme já observado na primeira sessão dedicada ao Diálogo, a Carta Democrática Interamericana foi adotada por unanimidade e não contém notas de rodapé ou reservas. Nesse sentido, é de grande significado que o Capítulo I contenha caracterizações importantes sobre o regime democrático, a despeito das diferenças de matizes que encontramos entre os nossos países sobre o tema.
O Artigo 3 da Carta estabelece os elementos essenciais da democracia, como o respeito aos Direitos Humanos, a realização de eleições regulares, livres e justas, e o pluralismo. Hoje, essas exigências parecem óbvias. Infelizmente a maior parte dos países da região conheceu, em algum momento, privação desses direitos fundamentais, e um dos objetivos centrais da Carta Democrática Interamericana é promovê-los e defendê-los. Conforme resolução da CALC, citada na Resolução 2555 e novamente evocada por ocasião da reintegração de Honduras, a prevalência do Estado de Direito e da normalidade constitucional é uma conquista que não admite retrocesso. É preciso ressaltar, no entanto, o caráter não exaustivo dos componentes fundamentais enumerados no Artigo 3, tendo em conta a diversidade de experiências e realidades na região. Assim, eventuais mecanismos de revisão deveriam ter caráter voluntário, proporcionando o intercâmbio de experiências entre os Estados membros na busca do fortalecimento da democracia.
Em linha com o já expressado pelo distinto RP da Guatemala, é preciso enfatizar, ademais, a relevância do Artigo 5 no atual contexto hemisférico. Certamente, a ênfase no fortalecimento dos partidos e de outras organizações políticas é aspecto prioritário para a democracia, sendo necessário dispensar atenção à questão dos altos custos das campanhas eleitorais e à necessidade do estabelecimento de um regime equilibrado e transparente de financiamento de suas atividades. Sem essas precauções, a pluralidade de idéias, tão cara ao processo democrático, pode ser negativamente afetada. Qualquer que seja a modalidade de financiamento partidário adotado - público, privado ou misto -, a regulamentação, a transparência e a fiscalização garantem a legitimidade do sistema e acreditamos que a maior troca de experiências entre os países do continente, sempre respeitando suas realidades específicas, em muito contribuiria para o fortalecimento da democracia.
En définitif, nous voulons croire que le principe de l’autodétermination des peuples est en train de trouver sa vraie résonance au niveau de la région grâce aux conséquences positives du respect des normes démocratiques. Issus d’élections démocratiques, les leaders des grands ou petits pays tirent leur légitimité du vote de leur peuple et n’ont plus besoin, comme par le passé, de la complicité de puissances externes. La mise en œuvre des normes démocratiques basées sur le principe du respect du vote populaire n’est-elle pas finalement la meilleure voie pour garantir la souveraineté des états de la région, quelle que soit leur dimension géographique?
En guise de conclusion, tout en reconnaissant le bien-fondé de la Charte démocratique, nous pensons qu’il est tout aussi nécessaire que l’on commence à réfléchir sur les ajustements que nous devons y apporter. Et enfin, nous voulons vivement, encourager le Secrétariat de l’Organisation de continuer à offrir une tribune aux parlements de la région dans le cadre de la préparation du prochain sommet des Amériques, car nous pensons que les parlements de la région peuvent pleinement nous aider à enrichir notre travail en faveur de la démocratie.
Merci.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you very much, Ambassador. I now recognize the Ambassador of Canada.

El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DEL CANADÁ: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.


We’re certainly very pleased to participate in this dialogue on the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We certainly welcome any ongoing dialogue on this important subject because we believe it provides a great opportunity to share views on how to strengthen the Democratic Charter.
Today’s discussion on Chapter I is particularly important as this, in effect, is the foundational chapter of the Charter, and it outlines the core elements of representative democracy, as was agreed upon in 2001. We believe that the principles that were outlined in Chapter I in 2001 are as relevant today as they were a decade ago.
As we are all aware, Chapter I outlines what are considered to be the core elements of democratic practice. We believe that these core elements provide a broad guidance to all of our countries in the Hemisphere on what constitutes democratic governance. We firmly believe that democracy is built from within. It can only take root if it is home grown, nurtured by local actors, and has a deep understanding of the local needs, traditions, and aspirations.
Of course, the most direct way that citizens can influence decisions is through free and fair elections. Free and fair elections are necessary but they are certainly not sufficient. Beyond these elections, there are many other important ways to ensure citizen participation in the electoral process. For example, Canada believes that the development of a vibrant civil society that can work and evolve in an environment free of restrictions is of key importance. This is a main facilitator of citizen participation in decision making.
In addition, we believe that information is the lifeblood of democracy. This is not just the existence of a free media, but the access of citizens to information of the Government and its deliberations.
Also, political parties play an absolutely essential role in connecting citizens with the decision-making processes and aggregating these citizen preferences into real choices at election time. Therefore, the presence of political parties and the plurality that they represent are essential to any healthy democracy.
While we recognize that there is broad acceptance amongst member states on the need for democracy as an expression of political will, we would like to focus the discussions going forward on the practice of these core democratic elements, and by practice, I’m referring to the day-to-day functions of our governments, as well as the way our institutions interact with our citizens.
In Canada, the practice of democracy includes many of the elements that are outlined in Chapter I of the Charter, and these include the balance of power between public institutions, freedom of expression, a vibrant civil society, respect for minority rights and minority views, the existence of a free media, and respect for a loyal, political opposition.
As I noted in our previous dialogue on May 4, Canada proposes the creation of a compendium of best practices through which members could review and exchange information on what each member state considers positive national contributions to democratic practice. This compendium could serve as a starting point for implementing the proposals put forward by the Secretary General to strengthen the Charter, such as the creation of a peer review mechanism or a special rapporteur on democratic governance.
It is our hope that the creation of such a compendium of best practices would permit all of our countries to share lessons that we have learned, in the hopes that it would provide an opportunity to learn from good practices in all our countries. We believe that this would lead to a fruitful discussion that would help to strengthen democratic governance across the Hemisphere.
In conclusion, Madam Chair, democratic governance is an ideal that we all strive towards, and we believe that there is always room to improve. We believe that the Charter should be viewed as a “living document” that promotes democratic governance and shapes policy through dialogue. We believe that all countries of the Hemisphere, including my own, stand to benefit from a formal exchange and dialogue on best practices related to democratic governance.
In this spirit, we would like to offer the following practical suggestions on how to go forward.


  • The compendium of best practices, we feel, could make a contribution to our common understanding.




  • Further consideration of a special rapporteur on democracy would add value to the work of the Secretariat.




  • You mentioned in your opening remarks the possibility of a peer review mechanism. This was also included in the Secretary General’s report. We believe that there is merit in considering some form of peer review mechanism.




  • We believe that it would be very useful to have an early warning mechanism, whether it be the result of the work of a special rapporteur or a peer review mechanism.

We look forward to engaging our partners on these and other ideas that may emerge from this dialogue. I would like to emphasize that the Charter is most valuable as a “living document” that promotes democratic governance, and we hope that over time we can adopt such initiatives in order to strengthen what we believe is a fundamental document of the Organization of American States.


Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
La PRESIDENTA: Thank you very much, Ambassador.
If I may just make reference to your most recent comment, when, at the beginning of my remarks on this topic this morning, I mentioned an early warning mechanism to avoid conflicts in member states, I was referring to one of the suggestions that came out of the first discussions on the Inter-American Democratic Charter. It’s not the Chair’s proposal. I just wanted to make that clarification for the record. Thank you.
I’m now pleased to give the floor to the Ambassador of Guatemala.
El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DE GUATEMALA: Gracias, señora Presidenta.

Volvemos a saludar la conveniencia de un diálogo sobre la Carta Democrática Interamericana.


El día de hoy, conforme a la agenda discutimos apenas el capítulo I, seis escasos artículos con un sentido enorme sobre nuestros pueblos. Este primer capítulo es una parte dogmática, dijéramos, de la Carta, porque define el derecho y la obligación de la democracia. También habla sobre la naturaleza de la democracia representativa cuyo elemento tipificante, y aquí me valgo de la intervención del distinguido Embajador de Costa Rica, es el Estado de Derecho, entendido este como el principio de legalidad en el cual todos los ciudadanos, todas las instituciones, están sujetas a la ley, nunca superiores a ella, sino igualmente tratadas respecto de ella. Y esto tal vez es el elemento esencial del Estado de Derecho.
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