PRESS RELEASE: Organization of American States Trips Up on Corruption


During the fifth committee session of the Harvard Model United Nations Conference, the Wall Street Journal held a press conference with the Organization of American States to clarify questions on the two merged draft resolutions presented by the committee. The Organization of American States had worked tirelessly all weekend to address the issues of corruption at multiple levels of government, and collaborated with non-governmental organizations such as Transparency International and Global Integrity to ensure a comprehensive, multifaceted approach to the issue.

The “ONE ATAAC” draft resolution emphasized collaboration between all member nations and strengthening already-existing mechanisms. A major point of the paper was to sponsor the Special Summit on Transparency in Governments, which would demonstrate the body’s commitment to eschewing corruption as well as developing an Inter-American Protocol for Transparency. The paper also called for the strengthening of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Article 31 of its founding statute, which concerns corruption.

Canada, a signatory of the ONE ATAAC draft resolution, noted that strengthening such bodies would not take away power from individual nations, and that the move would instead create a careful, multi-step judicial process. Additionally, Grenada noted that the empowerment and increased cooperation with already existing non-government organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Transparency International, would allow the Organization of American States to compile data for an all-inclusive protection index.

Colombia, one of the major leaders of the ONE ATAAC draft resolution, gave a very detailed answer to a question posed on respecting the sovereignty of nations when dealing with the extradition of whistleblowers who expose corruption in government. The delegate from Colombia clarified Clause 9 of the paper, noting that the extradition agreement between all member states would not infringe upon the sovereignty or judicial processes of individual governments.

“There are two different levels in the extradition agreement,” the delegate from Colombia said. “Because there are multilateral extradition agreements between two member nations of the OAS, if they wish not to extradite someone, that is certainly within their purview.”

The second draft resolution, titled “Sovereignty Coalition,” established itself in the Organization of American States as a bloc wanting to uphold the sovereignty of individual nations and governments. The signatories of the paper noted that countries did not want the OAS to mandate what they could or could not do in terms of corruption. However, many of the paper’s clauses seemed to contradict its title, defining how countries should handle their bidding processes and their own indigenous people.

Venezuela, a major signatory of the Sovereignty Coalition draft resolution, defended the paper, stating that the clauses were merely suggestions rather than mandates by the Organization of American States.

“We believe in sovereignty,” the delegate from Venezuela said. “We don’t want to take anyone’s powers away and we don’t believe that the OAS should have the power to tell a state what to do.”


The delegate from Colombia discusses the “ONE ATAAC” draft resolution, which strengthens multilateral agreements and encourages cooperation among states and organizations.


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