Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

By Patrick Thornberry | Go to book overview

11

The Inter-American system and
indigenous peoples

The OAS

The importance of the Americas in historical discourses on indigenous peoples 1 and for the contemporary growth of indigenous consciousness in international law has been commented upon above. 2 Many of the world's indigenous peoples are found within the jurisdictions of the member States of the Organisation of American States (OAS). 3 The OAS is the latest of a succession of American organisations, 4 and was established at the Ninth International Conference of American States, held in Bogota in 1948. 5 The OAS accomplishes its purposes through: the GA which meets annually and in special sessions; the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign

____________________
1
R. A. Williams Jr, The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest (New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990).
2
See ch. 1 of this volume.
3
The thirty-five States members include Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, United States of America and Venezuela. In relation to Uruguay, `The indigenous inhabitants of Uruguay were deliberately exterminated after having played a valuable part in the Army of Independence. As a result Uruguay has not had an indigenous population, but since the beginning of the 1980s several nuclear families of Guarani Mbya hunter gatherers, whose ancestral lands extend from the Paraguayan jungle to the Atlantic Coast, have begun to settle in . . . Uruguay' (Minority Rights Group (ed.), World Directory, p. 118).
4
Dating back to the International Union of American Republics, established by the First International Conference of American States held in Washington, DC, from October 1889 to April 1890.
5
The Charter entered into force in December 1951. For the text, as amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires in 1967, by the protocol of Cartagena de Indias in 1985, by the Protocol of Washington 1992 and by the Protocol of Managua in 1993, see D. Harris and S. Livingstone (eds.), The Inter-American System of Human Rights (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1998), appendix I.

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