EL PASO, Texas - The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States on Wednesday unanimously condemned the August 3 attack that left nearly 50 people dead or injured in El Paso. The Permanent Council is comprised of all 35 member countries in the OAS.
The attack happened at a Walmart in central El Paso five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Several of the victims were Mexican citizens. The declaration issued by the OAS said there is evidence that the attack could have been motivated by racial discrimination. The alleged shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, Texas, reportedly drove 10 hours to El Paso to target the predominantly Hispanic city.
In the document, the OAS rejected and condemned "racial discrimination and crimes motivated by hate, racism, xenophobia and intolerance, including the discourse of racial superiority, wherever they may occur."
The resolution was taken up at the urging of Mexico. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's Foreign Relations secretary, thanked all of the countries in the organization. In a news release, Mexico said the declaration sought to express solidarity with the victims, but also to highlight violence and terrorism borne out of racial supremacy so tragedies like the one that happened in El Paso do not happen again.
A representative of the U.S, Alternate United States Representative Andrew Stevenson addressed the group saying the tragedy underscores that the United States and Mexico are united by bonds of family.
"Our shared safety depends on shared security measures. At the same time, we also know that combating racism and discrimination is a challenge every nation faces — and a challenge we can all work together to overcome," Stevenson said adding, "While we are proud of the progress we have made in the United States toward reducing discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity for all, we know that we are not yet where we need to be."
The OAS has its roots in the 1898 Conference of American States. Its goal is to promote "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," according to its website.