B’nai B’rith International was pleased to attend Colombia’s signing of the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, and the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance today at the Organization of American States’ (OAS) headquarters in Washington, D.C., two conventions in which B’nai B’rith worked diligently over a decade to get the conventions passed and ratified.
The signing of the conventions in the Galería de los Héroes today establishes a clear obligation for the Colombian government to create policies that enforce the protocols within the conventions. The conventions—passed by the OAS General Assembly in June 2013—puts the onus on member states to ratify legislation that prevents, prohibits and punishes all acts of discrimination, including anti-Semitism.
In 2004, B’nai B’rith actively worked with the group in charge of drafting these documents and successfully advocated for the inclusion of anti-Semitism—a rising problem in Latin America—as a form of discrimination. Since the conventions’ initial drafting, B’nai B’rith has attended every OAS general assembly to push for passage.
B’nai B’rith was a guest of the Colombian Permanent Mission to the OAS at the signing ceremony. The conventions were signed by Colombian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OAS Andres Gonzalez Diaz. He signed the documents in the presence of Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and Chair of the Permanent Council and the General Committee Sonia Merlyn Johnny.
It was an important act by Colombia, as the conventions provide a valuable tool in fighting bigotry and hatred.
B’nai B’rith, an accredited non-governmental organization at the OAS, will continue to stress the importance of these conventions as it advocates for the widespread adoption of these conventions and subsequent policies by member states who have yet to do so.