The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) participated today in the inauguration of the First National Meeting of Judicial Facilitators of Honduras, where he highlighted the role played by the program of the hemispheric institution in the region in increasing the trust in judicial systems and improving democratic governance.
Secretary General Insulza said the Inter-American Program of Judicial Facilitators is one of the most successful of the OAS, because it addresses the problem of the lack of access to justice that is suffered by many citizens in the region, particularly in rural areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, which affects the credibility of the institutions of the state, limits the exercise of human rights, and affects the conditions of citizen security. “The OAS has once again shown itself to be a strong and effective mechanism for cooperation between its member countries,” he said and highlighted that through “cooperation on issues of justice the trust of the citizens in the institutions of the judicial system grows and democratic governance is improved.”
The OAS leader mentioned as one of the main benefits of this program that “facilitators reduce and ‘de-legalize’ natural social conflict, and establish strategies for citizen security based on prevention.”
The meeting, held at the Hotel Plaza Juan Carlos de Tegucigalpa, included the testimony of several facilitators, who talked about their experiences in the most distant communities.In their majority women, the facilitators discussed how the program has become a fundamental contribution to the administration of justice in rural areas, many times those with the least access to judicial institutions. The even also included the participation of authorities from the judicial, executive and legislative branches of Honduras, among them Magistrate Tomas Arita, current acting President of the Judiciary, Deputy Foreign Minister Roberto Ochoa, and Magistrate Edith Lopez.
In his address, the OAS Secretary General said that sharing experiences and strengthening horizontal cooperation is ever more important to meeting the challenges facing the region. “Behind many challenges of security, human rights, stability and democratic governance, lies the strengthening of the rule of law. It can be considered a precondition for development,” he said.
Secretary General Insulza recalled that the services of the judicial facilitators of the OAS are currently present in eight countries in the region. “Currently there are more than eight thousand facilitators offering a social humanitarian service to their own communities, neighborhoods, and villages,” he added. Moreover, he highlighted that they bring access to justice for those who most need it, above all women. As an example, he said that in 2013 alone, four million people had access to a facilitator, 500,000 people received a direct benefit from the facilitators, and 200,000 heard talks about the program.
In addition to Honduras, the OAS Program of Judicial Facilitators is operating in the Argentina province of Corrientes and several regions of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.