These conventions will be extremely important tools in the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, as they establish clear obligations for member states to establishing policies that enforce the protocols within the conventions. The conventions now put the onus on member states to ratify legislation that prevents, prohibits and punishes all acts of discrimination.
“This is a great day for those who hope to live in a world where discrimination and intolerance are pushed to the fringes of society and no longer tolerated,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “B’nai B’rith has diligently worked for many years for the passage of these conventions. It’s a proud day for us and the Organization of American States.”
For nearly a decade, B’nai B’rith has been involved in the development of these conventions, from inception to passage. Our staff members in Washington, D.C., and across Latin America have worked from the outset within the OAS and in bilateral discussions with a number of governments to get them adopted.
In 2004, B’nai B’rith actively worked with the group in charge of drafting these documents and successfully lobbied 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 their passage.
B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, who has testified before the OAS advocating for its adoption, said: “It is important that we have these kinds of conventions in place so we can present a united, uniform front against discrimination and bigotry. It presents member states with clear guidelines on how they should crack down on hate speech and racial discrimination and leaves no room for excuses for not purging intolerance from our society.”