On the 23rd February, 2005, in the City of Antigua, Guatemala, during the twenty ninth conference of the Central American Ombudsman Association, we, Jose Manuel Echandi, President of the Central American Ombudsman Association and Hayden Thomas, Ombudsman of Antigua and Barbuda, President of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association agreed to subscribe to the following Memorandum of Understanding.
The Central American Ombudsman Association (CCPDH) comprising Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama has as its mandate the commitment to spread and strengthen the culture of human rights in their respective countries. To this end they undertake joint measures to influence public opinion regarding violations of human rights throughout the region as the occasion arises. At the same time it seeks to find common ground among the regional offices to develop, strengthen and harmonize the initiatives of all of its member countries. Likewise, the Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA) comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, the Associated State of Bermuda, the Associate State of Puerto Rico and the Associated State of Curacao have a similar mandate to promote and strengthen the culture of human rights in its respective members.
Moreover, both the CCPDH and CAROA have demonstrated a desire to develop a closer working relationship by the exchange of experiences and by the implementation of joint programs to enhance their impact by mutual support.
Furthermore, for some time now the members of the two associations have been attending each others Conferences, for example when the President of the CCPDH attended the CAROA Conference in 2004 in Jamaica to achieve a greater understanding of each other and a closer working relationship.
In like manner at its Twenty Eighth Conference held in September, 2004, in Managua, Nicaragua, the Ombudsman of Belize was re-incorporated into the CCPDH and assigned to be a liason between the two regional bodies.
At the same time the Inter American Institute of Human Rights (IIDH) at the request of the CCPDH began a program of communication with the members of CAROA supplying weekly information on human rights in a way that is similar to its exchange with the members of the Iberoamerican Ombudsman Association (FIO). As a consequence of the above, the heads of the two associations subscribe to the following:
- Assert that in the past, now and in the future there are common grounds of encounter between the Caribbean and Central America.
- State that in the majority of Central American countries there are Caribbean regions which have a similar culture and languages to the peoples of the Caribbean region.
- Reiterate its interest in formalizing and strengthening the mechanisms of cooperation between CAROA and the CCPDH.
- Request the Inter American Institute of Human Rights to render technical support by drafting a document that wi ll identify areas of common concern to both regions.
- Agree to establish ourselves as a permanent, joint forum that will work to achieve greater coordination in sharing experiences and in promoting initiatives of mutual interest that will contribute to the greater development of the activities of the two regional bodies.
- To ratify their commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding, all the members of the CCPDH gathered at its Twenty Ninth Conference subscribe to this agreement.
- The President of CAROA, Hayden Thomas and its Secretary-Treasurer Lawrence Laurent hereby agree to present this Memorandum to the members of CAROA for their ratification.
- The President of CAROA, Hayden Thomas and its Secretary-Treasurer Lawrence Laurent thank the CCPDH and the IIDH as well for the opportunity of participating at the XXIX Meeting of the Central American Association. This agreement was signed on Wednesday, 2Yd February at the Porta Antigua Hotel in the City of Antigua, Guatemala, Central America.
Jose Manuel Echandi
Ombudsman of Costa Rica
President of the CCPDH
Dr. Paul Rodriguez
Ombudsman of Bel ice
Dra Beatrice Alamanni de Carrillo
Ombudsman of El Salvador
Dr. Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado
Ombudsman of Guatemala
Dr. Ramon Custodio Lopez
Ombudsman of Honduras
Dr. Omar Cabezas
Ombudsman of Nicaragua.
Dr. Juan Antonio Tejada Espino
Ombudsman of Panama
Ombudsman of Antigua and Barbuda
President of CAROA