Signatories and Ratifications]






As amended by the Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the Organization of American States "Protocol of Buenos Aires", signed on February 27, 1967, at the Third Special Inter-American Conference,


by the Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the Organization of American States "Protocol of Cartagena de Indias", approved on December 5, 1985, at the Fourteenth Special Session of the General Assembly,


by the Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the Organization of American States "Protocol of Washington", approved on December 14, 1992, at the Sixteenth Special Session of the General Assembly,


and by the Protocol of Amendment to the Charter of the Organization of American States "Protocol of Managua", adopted on June 10, 1993, at the Nineteenth Special Session of the General Assembly.      







      Convinced that the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations;


      Conscious that that mission has already inspired numerous agreements, whose essential value lies in the desire of the American peoples to live together in peace and, through their mutual understanding and respect for the sovereignty of each one, to provide for the betterment of all, in independence, in equality and under law;


      Convinced that representative democracy is an indispensable condition for the stability, peace and development of the region;


      Confident that the true significance of American solidarity and good neighborliness can only mean the consolidation on this continent, within the framework of democratic institutions, of a system of individual liberty and social justice based on respect for the essential rights of man;


      Persuaded that their welfare and their contribution to the progress and the civilization of the world will increasingly require intensive continental cooperation;


      Resolved to persevere in the noble undertaking that humanity has conferred upon the United Nations, whose principles and purposes they solemnly reaffirm;


      Convinced that juridical organization is a necessary condition for security and peace founded on moral order and on justice; and


      In accordance with Resolution IX of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, held in Mexico City,  



upon the following







Chapter I




Article 1


      The American States establish by this Charter the international organization that they have developed to achieve an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.  Within the United Nations, the Organization of American States is a regional agency.


      The Organization of American States has no powers other than those expressly conferred upon it by this Charter, none of whose provisions authorizes it to intervene in matters that are within the internal jurisdiction of the Member States.


Article 2


      The Organization of American States, in order to put into practice the principles on which it is founded and to fulfill its regional obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, proclaims the following essential purposes:


a)   To strengthen the peace and security of the continent;


b)   To promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention;


c)   To prevent possible causes of difficulties and to ensure the pacific settlement of disputes that may arise among the Member States;


d)   To provide for common action on the part of those States in the event of aggression;


e)   To seek the solution of political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise among them;


f)    To promote, by cooperative action, their economic, social, and cultural development;


g)   To eradicate extreme poverty, which constitutes an obstacle to the full democratic development of the peoples of the hemisphere; and


h)   To achieve an effective limitation of conventional weapons that will make it possible to devote the largest amount of resources to the economic and social development of the Member States.


Chapter II




Article 3


      The American States reaffirm the following principles:


a)   International law is the standard of conduct of States in their reciprocal relations;


b)   International order consists essentially of respect for the personality, sovereignty, and independence of States, and the faithful fulfillment of obligations derived from treaties and other sources of international law;


c)   Good faith shall govern the relations between States;


d)   The solidarity of the American States and the high aims which are sought through it require the political organization of those States on the basis of the effective exercise of representative democracy;


e)   Every State has the right to choose, without external interference, its political, economic, and social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to it, and has the duty to abstain from intervening in the affairs of another State.  Subject to the foregoing, the American States shall cooperate fully among themselves, independently of the nature of their political, economic, and social systems;


f)    The elimination of extreme poverty is an essential part of the promotion and consolidation of representative democracy and is the common and shared responsibility of the American States;


g)   The American States condemn war of aggression:  victory does not give rights;


h)   An act of aggression against one American State is an act of aggression against all the other American States;   


i)    Controversies of an international character arising between two or more American States shall be settled by peaceful procedures;


j)    Social justice and social security are bases of lasting peace;


k)   Economic cooperation is essential to the common welfare and prosperity of the peoples of the continent;


l)    The American States proclaim the fundamental rights of the individual without distinction as to race, nationality, creed, or sex;


m)  The spiritual unity of the continent is based on respect for the cultural values of the American countries and requires their close cooperation for the high purposes of civilization;


n)   The education of peoples should be directed toward justice, freedom, and peace.



Chapter III




Article 4


      All American States that ratify the present Charter are Members of the Organization.


Article 5


      Any new political entity that arises from the union of several Member States and that, as such, ratifies the present Charter, shall become a Member of the Organization.  The entry of the new political entity into the Organization shall result in the loss of membership of each one of the States which constitute it.


Article 6


      Any other independent American State that desires to become a Member of the Organization should so indicate by means of a note addressed to the Secretary General, in which it declares that it is willing to sign and ratify the Charter of the Organization and to accept all the obligations inherent in membership, especially those relating to collective security expressly set forth in Articles 28 and 29 of the Charter.    



Article 7


      The General Assembly, upon the recommendation of the Permanent Council of the Organization, shall determine whether it is appropriate that the Secretary General be authorized to permit the applicant State to sign the Charter and to accept the deposit of the corresponding instrument of ratification.  Both the recommendation of the Permanent Council and the decision of the General Assembly shall require the affirmative vote of two thirds of the Member States.


Article 8


      Membership in the Organization shall be confined to independent States of the Hemisphere that were Members of the United Nations as of December 10, 1985, and the nonautonomous territories mentioned in document OEA/Ser. P, AG/doc.1939/85, of November 5, 1985, when they become independent.


Article 9


      A Member of the Organization whose democratically constituted government has been overthrown by force may be suspended from the exercise of the right to participate in the sessions of the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation, the Councils of the Organization and the Specialized Conferences as well as in the commissions, working groups and any other bodies established.


a)   The power to suspend shall be exercised only when such diplomatic initiatives undertaken by the Organization for the purpose of promoting the restoration of representative democracy in the affected Member State have been unsuccessful;


b)   The decision to suspend shall be adopted at a special session of the General Assembly by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Member States;


c)   The suspension shall take effect immediately following its approval by the General Assembly;


d)   The suspension notwithstanding, the Organization shall endeavor to undertake additional diplomatic initiatives to contribute to the re-establishment of representative democracy in the affected Member State;


e)   The Member which has been subject to suspension shall continue to fulfill its obligations to the Organization;  


f)    The General Assembly may lift the suspension by a decision adopted with the approval of two-thirds of the Member States;


g)   The powers referred to in this article shall be exercised in accordance with this Charter.  


Chapter IV




Article 10


      States are juridically equal, enjoy equal rights and equal capacity to exercise these rights, and have equal duties.  The rights of each State depend not upon its power to ensure the exercise thereof, but upon the mere fact of its existence as a person under international law.


Article 11


      Every American State has the duty to respect the rights enjoyed by every other State in accordance with international law.


Article 12


      The fundamental rights of States may not be impaired in any manner whatsoever.


Article 13


      The political existence of the State is independent of recognition by other States.  Even before being recognized, the State has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to provide for its preservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit, to legislate concerning its interests, to administer its services, and to determine the jurisdiction and competence of its courts.  The exercise of these rights is limited only by the exercise of the rights of other States in accordance with international law.


Article 14


      Recognition implies that the State granting it accepts the personality of the new State, with all the rights and duties that international law prescribes for the two States.


Article 15


      The right of each State to protect itself and to live its own life does not authorize it to commit unjust acts against another State.


Article 16


      The jurisdiction of States within the limits of their national territory is exercised equally over all the inhabitants, whether nationals or aliens.


Article 17


      Each State has the right to develop its cultural, political, and economic life freely and naturally.  In this free development, the State shall respect the rights of the individual and the principles of universal morality.


Article 18


      Respect for and the faithful observance of treaties constitute standards for the development of peaceful relations among States.  International treaties and agreements should be public.


Article 19


      No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.  The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.


Article 20


      No State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State and obtain from it advantages of any kind.


Article 21


      The territory of a State is inviolable; it may not be the object, even temporarily, of military occupation or of other measures of force taken by another State, directly or indirectly, on any grounds whatever.  No territorial acquisitions or special advantages obtained either by force or by other means of coercion shall be recognized.


Article 22


      The American States bind themselves in their international relations not to have recourse to the use of force, except in the case of self‑defense in accordance with existing treaties or in fulfillment thereof.  



Article 23


      Measures adopted for the maintenance of peace and security in accordance with existing treaties do not constitute a violation of the principles set forth in Articles 19 and 21.



Chapter V




Article 24


      International disputes between Member States shall be submitted to the peaceful procedures set forth in this Charter.


      This provision shall not be interpreted as an impairment of the rights and obligations of the Member States under Articles 34 and 35 of the Charter of the United Nations.


Article 25


      The following are peaceful procedures:  direct negotiation, good offices, mediation, investigation and conciliation, judicial settlement, arbitration, and those which the parties to the dispute may especially agree upon at any time.


Article 26


      In the event that a dispute arises between two or more American States which, in the opinion of one of them, cannot be settled through the usual diplomatic channels, the parties shall agree on some other peaceful procedure that will enable them to reach a solution.


Article 27


      A special treaty will establish adequate means for the settlement of disputes and will determine pertinent procedures for each peaceful means such that no dispute between American States may remain without definitive settlement within a reasonable period of time.



Chapter VI




Article 28


      Every act of aggression by a State against the territorial integrity or the inviolability of the territory or against the sovereignty or political independence of an American State shall be considered an act of aggression against the other American States.


Article 29


      If the inviolability or the integrity of the territory or the sovereignty or political independence of any American State should be affected by an armed attack or by an act of aggression that is not an armed attack, or by an extracontinental conflict, or by a conflict between two or more American States, or by any other fact or situation that might endanger the peace of America, the American States, in furtherance of the principles of continental solidarity or collective self‑defense, shall apply the measures and procedures established in the special treaties on the subject.



Chapter VII




Article 30


      The Member States, inspired by the principles of inter-American solidarity and cooperation, pledge themselves to a united effort to ensure international social justice in their relations and integral development for their peoples, as conditions essential to peace and security.  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 achieved.


Article 31


      Inter-American cooperation for integral development is the common and joint responsibility of the Member States, within the framework of the democratic principles and the institutions of the inter-American system.  It should include the economic, social, educational, cultural, scientific, and technological fields, support the achievement of national objectives of the Member States, and respect the priorities established by each country in its development plans, without political ties or conditions.


Article 32


      Inter-American cooperation for integral development should be continuous and preferably channeled through multilateral organizations, without prejudice to bilateral cooperation between Member States.


      The Member States shall contribute to inter-American cooperation for integral development in accordance with their resources and capabilities and in conformity with their laws.


Article 33


      Development is a primary responsibility of each country and should constitute an integral and continuous process for the establishment of a more just economic and social order that will make possible and contribute to the fulfillment of the individual.


Article 34


      The Member States agree that equality of opportunity, the elimination of extreme poverty, equitable distribution of wealth and income and the full participation of their peoples in decisions relating to their own development are, among others, basic objectives of integral development.  To achieve them, they likewise agree to devote their utmost efforts to accomplishing the following basic goals:


a)   Substantial and self-sustained increase of per capita national product;


b)   Equitable distribution of national income;


c)   Adequate and equitable systems of taxation;


d)   Modernization of rural life and reforms leading to equitable and efficient land-tenure systems, increased agricultural productivity, expanded use of land, diversification of production and improved processing and marketing systems for agricultural products; and the strengthening and expansion of the means to attain these ends;


e)   Accelerated and diversified industrialization, especially of capital and intermediate goods;


f)    Stability of domestic price levels, compatible with sustained economic development and the attainment of social justice;


g)   Fair wages, employment opportunities, and acceptable working conditions for all;


h)   Rapid eradication of illiteracy and expansion of educational opportunities for all;


i)    Protection of man's potential through the extension and application of modern medical science;


j)    Proper nutrition, especially through the acceleration of national efforts to increase the production and availability of food;


k)    Adequate housing for all sectors of the population;  



l)    Urban conditions that offer the opportunity for a healthful, productive, and full life;


m)   Promotion of private initiative and investment in harmony with action in the public sector; and


n)    Expansion and diversification of exports.


Article 35


      The Member States should refrain from practicing policies and adopting actions or measures that have serious adverse effects on the development of other Member States.


Article 36


      Transnational enterprises and foreign private investment shall be subject to the legislation of the host countries and to the jurisdiction of their competent courts and to the international treaties and agreements to which said countries are parties, and should conform to the development policies of the recipient countries.


Article 37


      The Member States agree to join together in seeking a solution to urgent or critical problems that may arise whenever the economic development or stability of any Member State is seriously affected by conditions that cannot be remedied through the efforts of that State.


Article 38


      The Member States shall extend among themselves the benefits of science and technology by encouraging the exchange and utilization of scientific and technical knowledge in accordance with existing treaties and national laws.


Article 39


      The Member States, recognizing the close interdependence between foreign trade and economic and social development, should make individual and united efforts to bring about the following:


a)        Favorable conditions of access to world markets for the products of the developing countries of the region, particularly through the reduction or elimination, by  importing countries, of tariff and nontariff barriers that affect the exports of the Member States of the Organization, except when such barriers are applied in order to diversify the economic structure, to speed up the development of the less‑developed Member States, and intensify their process of economic integration, or when they are related to national security or to the needs of economic balance;


b)        Continuity in their economic and social development by means of:


i.   Improved conditions for trade in basic commodities through international agreements, where appropriate; orderly marketing procedures that avoid the disruption of markets, and other measures designed to promote the expansion of markets and to obtain dependable incomes for producers, adequate and dependable supplies for consumers, and stable prices that are both remunerative to producers and fair to consumers;


ii.   Improved international financial cooperation and the adoption of other means for lessening the adverse impact of sharp fluctuations in export earnings experienced by the countries exporting basic commodities;


iii.   Diversification of exports and expansion of export opportunities for manufactured and semimanufactured products from the developing countries; and


iv.   Conditions conducive to increasing the real export earnings of the Member States, particularly the developing countries of the region, and to increasing their participation in international trade.


Article 40


      The Member States reaffirm the principle that when the more developed countries grant concessions in international trade agreements that lower or eliminate tariffs or other barriers to foreign trade so that they benefit the less-developed countries, they should not expect reciprocal concessions from those countries that are incompatible with their economic development, financial, and trade needs.


Article 41


      The Member States, in order to accelerate their economic development, regional integration, and the expansion and improvement of the conditions of their commerce, shall promote improvement and coordination of transportation and communication in the developing countries and among the Member States.


Article 42


      The Member States recognize that integration of the developing countries of the Hemisphere is one of the objectives of the inter-American system and, therefore, shall orient their efforts and take the necessary measures to accelerate the integration process, with a view to establishing a Latin American common market in the shortest possible time.


Article 43


      In order to strengthen and accelerate integration in all its aspects, the Member States agree to give adequate priority to the preparation and carrying out of multinational projects and to their financing, as well as to encourage economic and financial institutions of the inter-American system to continue giving their broadest support to regional integration institutions and programs.


Article 44


      The Member States agree that technical and financial cooperation that seeks to promote regional economic integration should be based on the principle of harmonious, balanced, and efficient development, with particular attention to the relatively less-developed countries, so that it may be a decisive factor that will enable them to promote, with their own efforts, the improved development of their infrastructure programs, new lines of production, and export diversification.


Article 45


      The Member States, convinced that man can only achieve the full realization of his aspirations within a just social order, along with economic development and true peace, agree to dedicate every effort to the application of the following principles and mechanisms:


a)   All human beings, without distinction as to race, sex, nationality, creed, or social condition, have a right to material well‑being and to their spiritual development, under circumstances of liberty, dignity, equality of opportunity, and economic security;


b)   Work is a right and a social duty, it gives dignity to the one who performs it, and it should be performed under conditions, including a system of fair wages, that ensure life, health, and a decent standard of living for the worker and his family, both during his working years and in his old age, or when any circumstance deprives him of the possibility of working;


c)        Employers and workers, both rural and urban, have the right to associate themselves freely for the defense and promotion of their interests, including the right to collective bargaining and the workers' right to strike, and recognition of the juridical personality of associations and the protection of their freedom and independence, all in accordance with applicable laws;


d)   Fair and efficient systems and procedures for consultation and collaboration among the sectors of production, with due regard for safeguarding the interests of the entire society;


e)   The operation of systems of public administration, banking and credit, enterprise, and distribution and sales, in such a way, in harmony with the private sector, as to meet the requirements and interests of the community;


f)    The incorporation and increasing participation of the marginal sectors of the population, in both rural and urban areas, in the economic, social, civic, cultural, and political life of the nation, in order to achieve the full integration of the national community, acceleration of the process of social mobility, and the consolidation of the democratic system.  The encouragement of all efforts of popular promotion and cooperation that have as their purpose the development and progress of the community;


g)   Recognition of the importance of the contribution of organizations such as labor unions, cooperatives, and cultural, professional, business, neighborhood, and community associations to the life of the society and to the development process;


h)    Development of an efficient social security policy; and


i)     Adequate provision for all persons to have due legal aid in order to secure their rights.


Article 46


      The Member States recognize that, in order to facilitate the process of Latin American regional integration, it is necessary to harmonize the social legislation of the developing countries, especially in the labor and social security fields, so that the rights of the workers shall be equally protected, and they agree to make the greatest efforts possible to achieve this goal.


Article 47


      The Member States will give primary importance within their development plans to the encouragement of education, science, technology, and culture, oriented toward the overall improvement of the individual, and as a foundation for democracy, social justice, and progress.


Article 48


      The Member States will cooperate with one another to meet their educational needs, to promote scientific research, and to encourage technological progress for their integral development.  They will consider themselves individually and jointly bound to preserve and enrich the cultural heritage of the American peoples.


Article 49


      The Member States will exert the greatest efforts, in accordance with their constitutional processes, to ensure the effective exercise of the right to education, on the following bases:


a)   Elementary education, compulsory for children of school age, shall also be offered to all others who can benefit from it.  When provided by the State it shall be without charge;


b)   Middle-level education shall be extended progressively to as much of the population as possible, with a view to social improvement.  It shall be diversified in such a way that it meets the development needs of each country without prejudice to providing a general education; and


c)   Higher education shall be available to all, provided that, in order to maintain its high level, the corresponding regulatory or academic standards are met.


Article 50


      The Member States will give special attention to the eradication of illiteracy, will strengthen adult and vocational education systems, and will ensure that the benefits of culture will be available to the entire population.  They will promote the use of all information media to fulfill these aims.


Article 51


      The Member States will develop science and technology through educational, research, and technological development activities and information and dissemination programs.  They will stimulate activities in the field of technology for the purpose of adapting it to the needs of their integral development.  They will organize their cooperation in these fields efficiently and will substantially increase exchange of knowledge, in accordance with national objectives and laws and with treaties in force.


Article 52


      The Member States, with due respect for the individuality of each of them, agree to promote cultural exchange as an effective means of consolidating inter-American understanding; and they recognize that regional integration programs should be strengthened by close ties in the fields of education, science, and culture.  



* Signed in Bogotá in 1948 and amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires in 1967, by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias in 1985, by the Protocol of Washington in 1992, and by the Protocol of Managua in 1993.  In force as of September 25, 1997.