The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) began to move forward on a central project to provide a South American citizenship - meaning that hundreds of millions living in the region could move and work freely anywhere in the region.
"Today, UNASUR’s South American citizenship project gives its first steps, that will link 400 million South Americans, making South America a great country," said Ernesto Samper, the bloc’s secretary general on Twitter Tuesday.
Samper said the initiative on regional citizenship will include a South American passport and the elimination of restrictions preventing the free mobility of people to live or work in any country in the region for up to six months.
It will also provide more rights for workers, as is currently being done with the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) visa, which one million people hold.
The former Colombian president said the visa is destined to become the “Schengen visa for South Americans,” and would protect the 26 million South Americans living abroad.
Samper also referred to a strategy taken by the bloc to request that the 5,000 current South American prisoners in Asia serving either life imprisonment or death sentences, could be judged under South American laws.
The final project will be presented for approval to the heads of state of the 12 member countries, at the next summit of the bloc in Montevideo, Uruguay this year.
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The members of the regional bloc are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
UNASUR promotes regional integration, and rejects any form of colonialism and intimidation from other countries.