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Social Charter of the Americas

This Charter is another supporting document of OAS that details the social principles that member states should adhere to in the course of their development. Find the full version here:


(Adopted at the second plenary session, held on June 4, 2012,

and reviewed by the Style Committee)


CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) provides

that integral development encompasses the economic, social, educational, cultural, scientific, and

technological fields through which the goals that each country sets for accomplishing it should be


TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that the Inter-American Democratic Charter recognizes that

democracy and social and economic development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and

that promotion and observance of economic, social, and cultural rights are inherently linked to

integral development, equitable economic growth, and the consolidation of democracy and the rule of

law in the states of the Hemisphere;

RECOGNIZING that social justice and equity are essential for democracy;

CONSIDERING that the Charter of the OAS establishes among its essential purposes to

eradicate extreme poverty;

CONSIDERING AS WELL that extreme poverty constitutes an obstacle to development and,

in particular, to the full democratic development of the peoples of the Hemisphere; and that its

elimination is essential and constitutes a common and shared responsibility of the American states;

REAFFIRMING the determination and commitment of member states to urgently combat the

serious problems of poverty, social exclusion, and inequity that affect, in varying degrees, the

countries of the Hemisphere; to confront their causes and consequences; and to create more favorable

conditions for economic and social development with equity to promote more just societies;

AWARE that member states, inspired by the principles of solidarity and inter-American

cooperation, have committed to: adopt and implement actions towards the eradication of hunger and

illiteracy; provide quality education; broaden access to health care and public services; strengthen

social cohesion and inclusion; eliminate discrimination; generate decent and dignified job

opportunities; encourage equitable income distribution; foster full participation by the people in

decisions having to do with their development; and promote and protect human rights;

CONVINCED that these efforts will help provide effective social protection for the

population, especially those living in poverty and extreme poverty, address situations of risk, and

prevent the intergenerational transmission of poverty and a deepening of vulnerabilities caused by


CONVINCED ALSO of the importance for social development of adopting policies to

promote good governance, transparency, citizen participation, accountability, just treatment of

citizens before the law, and the fight against corruption;

REAFFIRMING the universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of all human rights and

their essential role in the promotion of social development and the realization of human potential; and

recognizing the legitimacy and importance of international human rights law for their promotion and


TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that the full exercise of economic, social, and cultural rights

requires that a series of measures be progressively adopted by member states in conjunction with

regional and international cooperation;

UNDERSCORING that these essential rights are not derived from one’s being a national of a

certain state, but are based upon attributes of the human person, and that these rights must be

reaffirmed, developed, improved, and protected in order to consolidate in the Americas a culture

characterized by democratic institutions, personal liberty, social justice, and the entitlement of its

peoples to self-determination;

REITERATING the commitment of member states to the promotion and protection of human

rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, nationality, creed, or sex;

RECOGNIZING further that the political participation of women, their full autonomy and

independence, appreciation of their role in society and in the economy, and education that promotes

gender equality are essential for development and democracy in all countries,

RECOGNIZING ALSO the ethnic, racial, cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity of the

peoples of the Americas region and their contribution to the development of its countries, as well as

the need to combat discrimination and social exclusion and to foster inclusion, tolerance, respect for

diversity, and equal opportunities;

CONVINCED that cultural development is a key component in reducing poverty and

achieving the goal of development;

RECOGNIZING that a safe environment is essential to integral development;

CONVINCED that integral development helps to create conditions of security;

REAFFIRMING the value of inter-American solidarity and cooperation for promoting the

economic, social, and cultural development of the peoples of the Americas; and

RECOGNIZING the need to strengthen the inter-American system with an instrument to

guide action and partnership-for-development activities designed to promote integral development

and observance of economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as the elimination of poverty and


RESOLVES to adopt the following:





The peoples of the Americas legitimately aspire to social justice and their governments have

a responsibility to promote it.

Development with equity strengthens and consolidates democracy, since the two are

interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

The peoples of the Americas have the right to development in the framework of solidarity,

equity, peace, and freedom, and member states have the responsibility to promote it with a view to

eliminating poverty, especially extreme poverty, and achieving a decent standard of living for all.

Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Member states reaffirm their

commitment to universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms as

essential elements to achieve social justice and strengthen democracy.


The promotion and observance of economic, social, and cultural rights are inherently linked

to integral development, equitable economic growth, and the consolidation of democracy in the states

of the Hemisphere.

Member states commit to promoting and to progressively realizing the full achievement of

economic, social, and cultural rights and principles, through policies and programs that they consider

are the most effective and appropriate for their needs, in accordance with their democratic processes

and available resources.


Member states, determined and committed to combating the serious problems of poverty,

social exclusion, and inequity and to address their underlying causes and their consequences, have the

responsibility to create favorable conditions for achieving development with social justice for their

peoples, thus contributing to strengthening democratic governance."

Comment on the objectives of this Charter here:

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