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AG/RES. 2453 (XXXIX-O/09) The Americas as an Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone*


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,

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

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;

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

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, and Suriname, and the efforts made in fulfillment of those declarations; and

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

NOTING WITH SATISFACTION the initiation of demining work in Chile in the Quebrada de Escritos pass (Region I); Cancosa, Paso Tecar (Llullaillaco National Park), and Aguas Calientes (Region II); and Bahía Azul and Isla Hornos (Region XII);

NOTING:

The valuable contribution by the United States Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program in providing a Sifting Excavator to carry out demining operations in the Quebrada de Escritos pass (Commune of Arica, Chile);

The work accomplished by the Governments of Ecuador and Peru on their common border, which has permitted the exchange of information and levels of cooperation that constitute an effective confidence- and security-building measure and a path toward greater integration among their peoples; 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 to 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, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of); and by permanent observers such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom;

The success of the Program for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (AICMA) of the Organization of American States (OAS), which for more than 16 years has supported humanitarian demining activities and the destruction of explosive devices and carried out campaigns to educate people living in mine-affected communities about the risks posed by landmines and to address the physical, psychological, and socioeconomic rehabilitation of landmine survivors and their families;

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, AICMA, and other international entities;

HAVING SEEN:

The Annual Report of the Permanent Council to the General Assembly, in particular the section on matters assigned to the Committee on Hemispheric Security (AG/doc.4992/09 add. 1); and

The Report of the General Secretariat on the Implementation of Resolutions AG/RES. 2355 (XXXVIII-O/08), “Support for Action against Antipersonnel Mines in Ecuador and Peru,” and AG/RES. 2399 (XXXVIII-O/08), “The Americas as an Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone” (CP/CSH-1107/09);

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, 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 entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) in 2009, 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:

The successful outcome of the Ninth Meeting of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention, held from November 24 to 28, 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland, and the hemispheric commitment to the Convention with the naming of Argentina as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies; of Chile as co-chair of the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention; of Ecuador as co-rapporteur of that committee; and of Peru as co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration;

The consideration of granting of extensions under Article 5 of the Convention at the Ninth Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention to the four OAS countries which requested them;

The selection of Colombia as the venue for the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention, to take place from November 30 to December 4, 2009, in Cartagena de Indias; and

The Regional Workshop on Progress and Challenges in Achieving a Mine-Free Americas, held in Managua, Nicaragua, from February 24 to 26, 2009, in preparation for the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention,

RESOLVES:

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

2. To support comprehensive humanitarian mine action efforts in the Republic of Nicaragua, which will make it possible in the coming year to declare Central America a mine-free zone.

3. To urge those states parties that requested and were granted extensions under Article 5 of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) to make every effort necessary to comply with their Article 5 obligations within the periods established.

4. 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 Program for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (AICMA) of the Organization of American States (OAS).

5. To urge the international donor community to continue its humanitarian support for victim rehabilitation in Guatemala, El Salvador, and other countries, and in ongoing demining activities in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Peru.

6. To urge the member states, permanent observers, international organizations, and the international community in general to continue their technical and financial support for continuation of the combined Ecuador-Peru humanitarian demining program on their common border, which constitutes a successful example of international cooperation and an effective confidence- and security-building measure.

7. 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 strongly call upon non-state actors to observe the international norm established by the Ottawa Convention to facilitate progress toward a mine-free world.

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

9. To invite all states parties to participate at the highest possible level in the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention, to take place from November 30 to December 4, 2009, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, as a means of demonstrating their continued commitment to the objectives of that convention.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. To request the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) to continue providing technical advice to the AICMA Program.

16. To instruct the General Secretariat to continue providing 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.

17. To reiterate the mandate assigned to the General Secretariat to continue, through the AICMA Program, its efforts with the member states, permanent observers, other states, and donor organizations to identify and obtain voluntary funding for the demining programs and comprehensive action against antipersonnel mines carried out by the member states in their respective territories, and to continue cooperating in projects to assist comprehensive action against antipersonnel mines, including humanitarian demining, the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims and their families, prevention education, and socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas.

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

19. To request the Permanent Council and the General Secretariat 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.



*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 “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 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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