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Compilation of documents or texts adopted and used by various intergovernmental, international, regional and subregional organizations aimed at promoting and consolidating democracy


Andean Charter for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (July 2002) (Excerpts)

The Presidents of Bolivia , Colombia , Ecuador , Peru and Venezuela , meeting as the Andean Presidential Council and on behalf of the peoples of the Andean Community,

Drawing inspiration from the thought of The Liberator Simón Bolívar, who in his Address to the Constituent Congress of Bolivia proclaimed that it is the prime desire of all peoples to attain possession of their rights, exercise political virtues and facilitate to each person the acquisition of the luminous talents and enjoyment that belonging to the human race essentially entails;

Convinced that human rights are inherent to all human beings, who are all free and equal in dignity and rights;

Considering that the internal legal order of the States and International Law on Human Rights must protect human rights permanently and complementarily;

Committed to the respect and application of the Charter of the United Nations, the Charter of the Organization of American States, the American Convention on Human Rights - Pact of San José -, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Protocol of San Salvador -, the Inter-American Democratic Charter and other international instruments on human rights to which the Andean nations are State Parties;

Engaged in the defense of the objectives and principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and the United Nations Declaration on the Right to the Development;

Recognizing the contribution of the Andean Parliament and, in particular, the principles set forth in the Andean Social Charter adopted on September 30, 1994;

Committed to the development of the increasingly dynamic role played in today's world by the Andean Community, a conglomerate of peoples united by the conscience of a common past and geography and as a brotherhood in search of historical targets that affirm and project the roots and traditions characteristic of their identity;

Decided to consolidate and promote Andean unity based on the recognition of the diversity of their territories, peoples, ethnic groups and cultures, and with the firm belief that democracy, development and the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing;

Bearing in mind the recommendations of the Andean Subregional Seminar «Democracy and Human Rights», held in Quito in August 2000, related to the drafting of an Andean Charter for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and cooperation to strengthen the observance of human rights in the Andean region;

Taking note of the valuable contributions derived from the consultation process carried out to prepare this Charter with Andean Community bodies - in particular those received from the Court of Justice of the Andean Community and the Andean Labor Council - and representatives of civil society in the five Andean countries;

Determined to contribute towards advancing world solidarity and respect for human diversity based on the promotion and protection of human rights, and to promote the political, economic and social development of their countries, having as a focus and ultimate goal the welfare of the human being;

In compliance with the mandates of the Act of Carabobo, of June 24, 2001 and of the Declaration of Machu Picchu on democracy, the rights of indigenous peoples and the fight against poverty, of July 29, 2001, through which the Presidents of the Andean countries entrusted the Andean Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs the preparation of a draft Andean Charter for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights containing the principles and substantive issues of community policy on the subject;

Decided to jointly proclaim the principles, objectives and commitments of the Andean Community regarding the promotion and protection of human rights;

Sign this

ANDEAN CHARTER FOR THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

SECTION I

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Article 1. The Member States of the Andean Community recognize that human rights are inherent to the nature and dignity of everyone.

Article 2. They recognize that all human rights must be enforceable and reaffirm their commitment to respect and command respect for human rights and the fundamental freedoms set forth in international instruments and in national legislations, and to adopt the necessary legal and administrative measures to prevent and investigate actions that may constitute violations of human rights, to ensure the effectiveness of constitutional and legal remedies, to try and punish those responsible for the violations and to grant full relief to the victims, according to law.

Article 3. They affirm the principle that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interconnected and that, consequently, the application, promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development must receive equal and decisive attention.

Article 4. Within the framework of respect for Human Rights, they reiterate the obligation and commitment of subregional states towards the preservation, protection and defense of democracy, as established among other instruments in the Riobamba Charter of Conduct, the Additional Protocol to the Cartagena Agreement "Commitment of the Andean Community to Democracy" and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Article 5. They reiterate the will of the Andean Community Member States to accept the decisions of the Inter-American Human Rights Court. Furthermore, to take a constructive attitude to favorably accept the decisions and recommendations of regional and global non-jurisdictional mechanisms, when applicable, pursuant to relevant human rights treaties and constitutional provisions.

Article 6. They ratify their commitment to promote conditions favorable to universal observance and strengthening of systems for the protection of human rights, through signature, ratification and/or accession to international human rights instruments, and harmonization between national legislations and international rules on the subject of human rights.

Article 7. They emphasize the need to promote the participation of civil society in the preparation and execution of Member States' national action plans and programs in favor of the observance of human rights.

Article 8. They declare that every person, whether a national or a foreigner, found within the territory of the Andean Community Member States is entitled to all human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in International Law on Human Rights and in pertinent national legislation.

Article 9. They recognize the right of everyone to file accusations, complaints or petitions concerning violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms before judicial organs, Ombudsmen and/or pertinent administrative echelons, and to be heard under the terms provided for in national legislations; furthermore, they reaffirm their commitment to support judicial organs and Ombudsmen within the sphere of their jurisdiction.

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SECTION III

DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Article 13. The Andean peoples have a right to democracy and their governments have the obligation to promote and defend it, in order to achieve full exercise of all civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to development.

Article 14. They reiterate their commitment to the contents of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and of Resolution 2002/46 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on "New measures to promote and consolidate democracy", especially regarding the essential elements of democracy: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, freedom of association, freedom of expression, of opinion, of access to and the exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law; the holding of periodic free, fair and impartial elections based on universal suffrage and secret balloting as an expression of the will of the population; a pluralistic system of political organizations and parties; the permanent, ethical and responsible participation of citizens in the political life of their countries; the separation and independence of powers; the transparency and accountability of public administration, and a free, independent and pluralistic press.

Article 15. They confirm their accession to the Commitment of the Andean Community to Democracy, signed in Porto in 1998, which is meant to become the Andean democratic clause.

Article 16. They commit themselves to uphold democratic order in the Andean region, convinced that the observance of democratic values ensures the interdependency and mutual reinforcement between democracy, development and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Article 17. They reiterate their commitment to the Inter-American Democratic Charter (2001), affirm that the observance of democratic order is an indispensable guarantee for the effective exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms and, consequently, undertake to adopt all possible measures to strengthen it.

Article 18. They recognize the right of every citizen, man or woman, of the Andean Community Member States to elect and participate in the elections of the Andean Parliament, which shall be held through free, direct and secret universal suffrage.

 

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