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AG/RES. 2444 (XXXIX-O/09) Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas


Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
June 4, 2009

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Organization of American States
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 4, 2009)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

EXPRESSING ITS SATISFACTION with the success of the First Meeting of Ministers Reponsible for Public Security in the Americas, held on October 7 and 8, 2008, in Mexico City, Mexico;

RECOGNIZING the importance of the outcomes of the First Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas, especially the adoption of the Commitment to Public Security in the Americas (MISPA/doc.7/08 rev. 4), a document that expresses the political will of the countries of the region to confront crime and insecurity in a joint, preventive, comprehensive, coherent, effective, and continuous manner, and the priority they attach to doing so;

TAKING NOTE of the report of the Secretary General entitled “Public Security in the Americas: Challenges and Opportunities”;

WELCOMING WITH SATISFACTION the important work in the framework of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), the Hemispheric Plan of Action against Transnational Organized Crime, the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA), the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in the area of multidimensional security;

TAKING NOTE of the Inter-American Police Training Program of the Organization of American States (OAS), the purpose of which is to leverage the different police training experiences which exist in the countries of the Hemisphere, and of the efforts of the countries to strengthen it by promoting specific activities that will benefit the region;

WELCOMING the offer of the Government of the Dominican Republic to host the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas in 2009 and the offer of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to host the Third Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas in 2010; and

WELCOMING ALSO the offer of the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay to hold a Meeting of Experts on Public Security in 2009 in preparation for the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas,

RESOLVES:

1. To endorse the Commitment to Public Security in the Americas (MISPA/doc.7/08 rev. 4), adopted at the First Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas, which is an integral part of this resolution; and to encourage member states to effectively implement or continue implementing the commitments contained therein.

2. To request the General Secretariat to provide ongoing technical support to the states that request it in order to achieve the purposes, objectives, and actions set forth in the Commitment with respect to public security, crime prevention, policing, citizen and community participation, and international cooperation.

3. To request the General Secretariat to implement or continue implementing the mandates assigned to the General Secretariat in order to achieve the purposes, objectives, and actions set forth in the Commitment.

4. To instruct the Permanent Council to follow up on the Commitment, through the Committee on Hemispheric Security (CSH), ensuring that its efforts in relation to public security are complementary to those of other organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization working in this field.

5. To convene:
a. The Meeting of Experts in Public Security, to be held in the Eastern Republic of Uruguay in August 2009, in preparation for the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas;

b. The Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas, to be held in the Dominican Republic in the last quarter of 2009; and

c. The Third Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas, to be held in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 2010.
6. To recommend that the Ministers Responsible for Public Security study the possibility of evaluating, at the next meeting, the advisability of holding the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas every two years.

7. To request the Permanent Council to convene, through the CSH, any meetings it deems necessary for the member states to be able to coordinate preparations for the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas, to be held in the Dominican Republic in the last quarter of 2009.

8. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its fortieth 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.

APPENDIX

“COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SECURITY IN THE AMERICAS”

(Adopted at the seventh plenary session, held on October 8, 2008, and reviewed by the Style Committee on October 28, 2008)

We, the Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas, gathered together in Mexico City, Mexico, on October 7 and 8, 2008, bearing in mind the purposes of the Charter of the Organization of American States and recalling the Declaration on Security in the Americas adopted on October 28, 2003, have, within our specific spheres of competence, adopted the following Commitment.

RECOGNIZING:

That public security is the duty and exclusive obligation of the State, strengthens the rule of law, and is intended to safeguard the well-being and security of persons and protect the enjoyment of all their rights;

That conditions for public security are improved through full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as through the promotion of education, health, and economic and social development;
The importance of international cooperation for improving economic and social conditions and thereby strengthening public security;

That law enforcement forms part of any public security strategy that includes crime prevention, rehabilitation, and reintegration, and that all those factors are required to effectively combat crime, violence, and insecurity;

The importance of the cross-cutting integration of the provisions of international law in the institutional culture, doctrine, education, training, and actions of the security forces;

The important work on multidimensional security on a subregional basis in the inter-American system and the United Nations system;

The contributions of international organizations and agencies, distinguished scholars, and civil society during the preparations for this ministerial meeting;[1]/

AWARE:

That the effective exercise of the rule of law depends on enforcement of the laws that govern it;

That violence and crime negatively affect the social, economic, and political development of our societies;

That the actions of public security institutions should be governed by respect for human rights, and the principles of legality, objectivity, efficiency, professionalism, and honesty;

Of the priority of confronting crime and insecurity in a joint, preventive, comprehensive, coherent, effective, and continuous manner;

Of the growing presence of private security services in many of our countries, which governments are responsible for regulating, monitoring, and supervising;

Of the need to ensure linkages with the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) on public security issues related to criminal justice in the Americas in the context of its mandates;

CONCERNED:

That in addition to interpersonal violence and common crimes, many countries in the region are confronted with some of the following criminal activities: transnational organized crime, illegal trafficking of drugs, arms, and persons, money laundering, corruption, terrorism, kidnapping, criminal gangs, and crimes associated with the use of technology, including cybercrime;

That transnational organized crime activities may be used to finance and facilitate terrorism;[2]/

About the increase in many countries of the region in victims belonging to at-risk populations, especially youth, and about the increase in the participation of youth in crimes and acts of violence;

That violence can also manifest itself in different areas, affecting in particular and in different ways the community, families, women, children, and men;

About the need to improve prison conditions in the Hemisphere and the challenges to public security stemming from the increase in the prison population, including the administrative costs, the need to ensure the safety of inmates and prison staff, and the impact on rehabilitation of the inmates;

TAKING NOTE of the Inter-American Police Training Program of the Organization of American States (OAS), the purpose of which is to leverage the different police training experiences of the countries of the Hemisphere;

BEARING IN MIND the progress achieved in the study on citizen security and human rights being prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) under an agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and

RECOGNIZING that additional efforts are needed at the hemispheric, subregional, and national levels, including at the local level, to reduce crime, violence, and insecurity in the region,

WE SHOULD THEREFORE:

PUBLIC SECURITY MANAGEMENT:

1. Foster and strengthen comprehensive long-term governmental public security policies, with full respect for human rights;

2. Strengthen, within the context of those policies, the capacity of our states to promote citizen security and to respond effectively to insecurity, crime, and violence, by adapting their legal framework, structures, operational procedures, and management mechanisms, as necessary;

3. Analyze public security problems from a comprehensive point of view, taking into account emerging threats, and to promote management instruments that enable national authorities to evaluate, and, where necessary, improve the effectiveness of public security policies;

4. Strengthen border security, wherever appropriate, in accordance with the legal and administrative systems applicable in the member states, with a view to preventing and counteracting crime and violence, all the while facilitating the legitimate flow of persons and goods;

5. Enhance our understanding of private security services and develop and/or strengthen, as necessary, legal norms to regulate their functioning;

6. Strengthen and, as appropriate, establish policies and programs for the modernization of the prison systems of the member states and for the design of sustainable social reintegration models, especially for youth;

PREVENTION OF CRIME, VIOLENCE, AND INSECURITY:

7. Foster, in coordination with the pertinent institutions, public policies designed to prevent crime, violence, and insecurity;

8. Promote educational programs, in particular in schools, and raise awareness among the different players in society regarding the prevention of crime, violence, and insecurity;

POLICE MANAGEMENT:

9. Promote the modernization of police management by incorporating transparency and accountability; enhance the professionalization of security forces; and improve the living and working conditions of their members;

10. Continue training human resources in public security issues, including the Inter-American Police Training Program of the Organization of American States (OAS);

11. Request the OAS General Secretariat to conduct a feasibility study, with inputs from member states, on the best ways to strengthen, in the region, the training and education of personnel with responsibility in public security matters, and to submit that study, as soon as possible, for consideration by the member states;

12. Consider creating and maintaining as necessary governmental observatories on crime and violence with the purpose of contributing to the design of strategic and operational plans for public security and citizen security, to strengthen the fight against and prevention of crime, violence, and insecurity;

CITIZEN AND COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION:

13. Encourage and strengthen citizen and community participation in theimplementation ofpublic security plans and programs;

14. Encourage and strengthen social responsibility as well as a culture of comprehensive prevention of crime, violence, and insecurity, with the participation of citizens, the community, the media, and the private sector;

15. Promote, in this context, public policies that strengthen citizen trust in public security institutions;

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION:

16. Strengthen, within a multidimensional approach and in accordance with domestic law, channels of communication and the exchange of information, practices, and experiences among the member states in combating and preventing crimes affecting public security;

17. Promote the adoption of measures that encourage the sharing of relevant information by the police for the purpose of the prevention or investigation of transnational crime affecting public security in an efficient and reliable way, in accordance with national legislation;

18. Consider cooperation initiatives to increase knowledge of the different facets and impact of crime in the member states, in order to strengthen public security policy structures;

19. Encourage member states to consider developing comparable public security parameters in order to strengthen our cooperative efforts;

20. Take note of the contribution of subregional police cooperation mechanisms and of the establishment of the American Police Community (AMERIPOL);

21. Urge member states to consider acceding to and/or ratifying the treaties, agreements, and conventions that contribute to compliance with this Commitment;

22. Call upon the member states to recognize the role of mutual legal assistance and extradition in response to the commission, execution, planning, preparation, or financing of terrorist acts and organized crime, in accordance with their domestic law and established international conventions;

23. Promote the exchange of experiences coming from civil society that contribute to strengthening public security;

FOLLOW-UP:

24. Request the OAS General Assembly to convene future Meetings of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas;

25. Request the OAS General Secretariat to provide to the states that so request, ongoing technical support in matters of public security management, crime prevention, police management, citizen and community participation, and international cooperation, in order to achieve the purposes, objectives, and actions of this Commitment;

26. Invite OAS member states, permanent observers to the OAS, and the institutions of the inter-American system to make voluntary financial and/or human resource contributions to achieve the full implementation of this Commitment;

27. Invite the entities and agencies of the inter-American system, such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the Pan American Health Organization, as well as other United Nations and international agencies, to contribute, within their respective spheres of competence, to the achievement of the objectives of this Commitment;

28. Request the OAS Permanent Council, through the Committee on Hemispheric Security, to follow up on this Commitment;

29. Welcome with satisfaction the offer of the Government of the Republic of Uruguay to host a Meeting of Experts in Public Security during 2009 in preparation for the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas;

30. Welcome with satisfaction the offer of the Dominican Republic to host the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas in 2009, and the offer of Trinidad and Tobago to host the Third Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas in 2010; and

31. Thank and commend the Government of Mexico for having hosted the First Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas, which constitutes a milestone in the Hemisphere’s commitment to prevent and fight crime, violence, and insecurity.

Mexico City, Mexico
October 8, 2008


[1]. Forum of academics and experts in Santiago, Chile (CSH/GT/MISPA-2/08) (November 26-27, 2007); Forum of academics and experts in Montego Bay, Jamaica (CSH/GT/MISPA-4/08) (March 6-7, 2008); Meeting with civil society representatives, held in Guatemala City, Guatemala (CSH/GT/MISPA-14/08 corr. 1) (August 6-7, 2008); Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); International Center for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC); Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence (IACPV); International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Andean Community; United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Latin American and Caribbean Regional Office of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT); Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); Pro tempore Chair of MERCOSUR; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); Caribbean Community (CARICOM); and the Inter-American Integration System (SICA).
[2]. The Government of Ecuador reserves its position on this paragraph.



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