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AG/RES. 2399 (XXXVIII-O/08) The Americas as an Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone


June 3, 2008

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(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008) The Americas As An Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone[1]/

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

REITERATING its profound concern over the presence in the Americas of thousands of antipersonnel land mines and other undetonated explosive devices;

DEEPLY CONCERNED that Colombia is one of the countries with the highest number of antipersonnel-land-mine victims in the world;

BEARING IN MIND:

The serious threat that mines and other unexploded ordnance pose to the safety, health, and lives of local civilian populations, as well as of personnel participating in humanitarian, peacekeeping, and rehabilitation programs and operations;

That the presence of mines is a factor that impedes economic and social development in rural and urban areas;

That mines have a humanitarian impact with very serious consequences, which are long-lasting and require sustained socioeconomic assistance to victims; and

That their elimination constitutes an obligation and prerequisite for the development and integration of peoples, especially in border areas, and helps to consolidate a common strategy for combating poverty;

ALARMED by the continued and increasing use of antipersonnel land mines and other improvised explosive devices by non-state actors, especially illegal armed groups in Colombia;

RECOGNIZING WITH SATISFACTION:

The efforts being made by member states to implement comprehensive mine-action programs, including mine clearance, stockpile destruction, the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims and their reintegration, activities aimed at mine-risk education, and the socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas;

The mine-free-territory declarations made by the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, andSuriname, and the efforts madein fulfillment of those declarations;

The efforts made by Colombia in the area of mine action;

The joint, combined efforts by Ecuador and Peru in demining, the destruction of stockpiles, and transparency measures; and

The sustained effort by Nicaragua to conclude its destruction of antipersonnel mines, which will soon enable it to declare itself a mine-free country in the Hemisphere; its extensive prevention education program aimed at sensitizing children, adolescents, and the general public to mine dangers; and the resolute support it provides for the physical and professional rehabilitation program for mine victims;

RECOGNIZING WITH GRATIFICATION:

The valuable contributions by member states such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, the United States, and Venezuela; and by permanent observers such as Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Union;

The success of the Program for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (AICMA), which for over 15 years has supported humanitarian demining activities and the destruction of explosive devices;

The important and efficient coordination work of the General Secretariat, through AICMA, together with the technical assistance of the Inter-American Defense Board;

The installation in Santiago, Chile, in September 2007, of the headquarters of the representative for Latin America of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD); and

The work of nongovernmental organizations in furthering the aim of a Hemisphere and a world free of antipersonnel land mines, which is often performed in cooperation and association with the states;

HAVING SEEN:

The Annual Report of the Permanent Council to the General Assembly (AG/doc.4820/08), in particular the section on matters assigned to the Committee on Hemispheric Security; and
The report of the General Secretariat on the implementation of resolutions AG/RES. 2261 (XXXVII-O/07), “Support for Action against Antipersonnel Mines in Ecuador and Peru,” and AG/RES. 2269 (XXXVII-O/07), “The Americas as an Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone” (CP/CSH-1014/08);

RECALLING the 18 General Assembly resolutions from 1997 to 2005 directly relating to antipersonnel landmines, which were referenced individually in resolution AG/RES. 2180 (XXXVI-O/06) and adopted by consensus by all member states;

RECALLING ALSO that, in the Declaration on Security in the Americas, adopted at the Special Conference on Security, held in Mexico City on October 28, 2003, the states of the Hemisphere reaffirmed their support for establishing the Hemisphere as an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone;

NOTING WITH SATISFACTION the global celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the negotiation and signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) in 2007, its many successes over the past decade, and the continued effort to meet the challenges that remain to rid the world of antipersonnel mines; and

NOTING ALSO:

The successful outcome of the Eighth Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention, held from November 18 to 22, 2007, in Jordan, and the hemispheric commitment to the Convention with the naming of Peru and Canada as the Ottawa Convention co-chairs of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, and of Argentina as co-rapporteur for that Committee, as well as the naming of Chile as co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention; and

The Regional Seminar on the Application of Article 5 of the Ottawa Convention (“Destruction of anti-personnel mines in mined areas”), held in Santiago, Chile, on August 16 and 17, 2007, with the participation of representatives of Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. That meeting considered national experiences in fulfilling the obligations under this article with a view to identifying the best means and practices to that end and to coming to a better understanding of the rules of the Convention in this regard in order to apply them fully,

RESOLVES:

1. To renew its support for the commitment of member states to strive jointly to rid their territories of antipersonnelland mines and destroy their stockpiles, and to convert the Americas into the world’s first antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone.

2. To support comprehensive action against antipersonnel mines efforts in the Republic of Nicaragua, which will make it possible in the near future to declare Central America a mine-free zone.

3. To stress the responsibility of all member states to continue their vital cooperation in mine action as a national, subregional, and regional priority, as well as a means to promote confidence and security, and to develop statements of remaining goals, contribute resources, and collaborate with the Mine Action Team of the Organization of American States (OAS).

4. To urge the international donor community to continue its support for the comprehensive hemispheric humanitarian task which is still being waged in victim rehabilitation in Guatemala, El Salvador, and other countries, and in ongoing demining activities in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Peru.

5. To firmly condemn, in accordance with the principles and norms of international humanitarian law, the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of antipersonnel mines by non-state actors, acts which put at grave risk the population of the affected countries; and to reaffirm that progress toward a mine-free world will be facilitated if non-state actors observe the international norm established by the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention).

6. To condemn also the use of antipersonnel land mines and improvised explosive devices by non-state actors, especially illegal armed groups in Colombia.

7. To celebrate the support demonstrated by 33 member states of the Hemisphere through their ratification of the Ottawa Convention; and to encourage the governments to continue working in the area of mine action in accordance with said Convention and with their mine action plans in order to meet mine-clearance deadlines pursuant to Article 5 of the Convention.

8. To urge member states which have not yet done so to ratify or consider acceding to the Ottawa Convention as soon as possible to ensure its full and effective implementation.

9. To call upon all states parties and non-states parties that share the objectives of the Ottawa Convention to take all necessary action, at the national, subregional, regional, and international levels, to implement the Nairobi Action Plan 2005-2009.

10. To reiterate the importance of participation by all member states in the OAS Register of Antipersonnel Land Mines by April 15 of each year, in keeping with resolution AG/RES. 1496 (XXVII-O/97); and to commend member states which have regularly submitted their reports to that end, instructing them to provide to the OAS Secretary General a copy of the Ottawa Convention Article 7 transparency reports presented to the United Nations Secretary-General. In this connection, in keeping with the spirit of the Ottawa Convention, to invite member states which are not yet party thereto to consider voluntarily providing this information.

11. Once again to urge member states which have not yet done so to become parties as soon as possible to the 1980 United Nations Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and to the five protocols thereto; and to request member states to inform the Secretary General when they have done so.

12. To request the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) to continue providing technical advice to the Program for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (AICMA).

13. To instruct the General Secretariat to continue to provide member states, within the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources, with the support necessary to continue the mine-clearing programs, prevention education programs for the civilian population, and programs for the rehabilitation of victims and their families and for the socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas.

14. To request the Secretary General to transmit this resolution to the United Nations Secretary-General and to other international organizations as he deems appropriate.

15. To request the Permanent Council and the General Secretariat to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth regular session on the implementation of this resolution, the execution of which shall be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.



[1]. The “conversion of the Americas into an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone” is incompatible with current United States landmine policy, which clearly states that we will not become a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention). The United States remains committed to humanitarian mine action and to cooperating in practical steps to end the harmful legacy of landmines. The United States will continue to support OAS efforts to eliminate the humanitarian threat of all persistent landmines and declare countries “mine-impact-free.”
The United States also regrets that this resolution does not by name condemn the use of landmines in Colombia by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in a manner similar to the OAS Permanent Council resolution 837 “Condemnation of Terrorist Acts in Colombia” adopted on February 12, 2003. The United States on August 14, 2007 condemned the continued and growing use of landmines and other explosive devices by the FARC after the UN, credible nongovernmental organizations, and the press highlighted the FARC as the “largest non-state armed group and most prolific user of mines.”



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