B’nai B’rith and the Organization of American States
With a membership that includes 20 countries in Latin America, B’nai B’rith represents these constituents at the Organization of American States (OAS), which consists of governments and civil society organizations from 34 countries and is the most influential political body in the Americas. The OAS deals with economic, social and political matters affecting the region and the world.
BBI members in Latin America have attended OAS events regularly since the 1980s, when international leadership began to focus on the joint work and issues of Washington and the burgeoning Jewish Latin American Communities. With many established lodges and districts B’nai B’rith gained prominence at the OAS as a civil society organization — similar to a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations.
BBI’s agenda at the OAS, has always addressed issues such as discrimination; terrorism; developing and fostering democracy in Latin America; combating poverty and social unrest; and freedom of speech. In 2008, B’nai B’rith urged the Organization of American States to highlight the fight against anti-Semitism during an address at the OAS headquarters. B’nai B’rith at the OAS General Assembly in 2007, BBI focused on the passage of the Inter American Convention against Discrimination, Racism, and Xenophobia. As a member of the working group on the measure, B’nai B’rith successfully advocated for the inclusion of antisemitism as a form of racism.
Because B’nai B’rith stresses humanitarian work and community action, it provides OAS with examples of how to improve the lives of all citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish, in Latin America.
For more information please contact Dr. Eduardo Kohn at email@example.com.