OAS: Organization of American States

Topic A: Instability in the Northern Triangle

The countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador form the Northern Triangle, one of the most dangerous areas in Central America. The region suffers from gang violence, government corruption, and an ongoing refugee crisis. These issues are worsened by cyclical poverty in the region, which drives citizens to flee the area or participate in illicit activities to support themselves. Transnational crime groups and gangs, known as maras, operate in the open with limited efforts by government officials to curtail the narcotics trafficking, extortion, and violence. Economic instability in the region fuels social instability and violence, which disproportionately affects women and youth. Violence against women continues to drive migration, and forced gang recruitment often leads to the early deaths of many young men in the region. This vicious cycle of poverty, violence, illegal activity, and corruption creates an unstable web that continues to plague the Northern Triangle and upset security in Central and South America as a whole.

Topic B: Reducing Gender Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean

In 1994, governments across Latin America convened in Brazil to adopt the landmark Belém do Pará Convention. Under this new treaty, regional governments promised to reinforce legislative frameworks regarding instances of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, as well as other types of gender-based violence. In the last two decades, Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced great advancements in the area of gender equality; however, certain problems continue to persist. Despite improvements made to regional legislative frameworks aimed at raising the status of women across the region, much is left to be done regarding women’s security. Many countries still lack the enforcement mechanisms necessary to protect women from gender-based violence, and issues such as sexual harassment remain difficult to address within the region. Small Arms Survey figures show that among the 25 countries with the highest rates of gender-based killings, fourteen are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Clearly, the OAS must build on the 1994 Convention to address the issue of gender violence in the modern world.

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