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Diplomacy in Action

AG/DEC. 66 (XLI-O/11) Declaration of San Salvador on Citizen Security in the Americas


Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
June 7, 2011

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(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 7, 2011)

THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND HEADS OF DELEGATION OF THE MEMBER STATES OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS) gathered in San Salvador, El Salvador, at the forty-first regular session of the OAS General Assembly,

RECOGNIZING that peace, security, democracy, human rights, development, and cooperation are the pillars of the inter-American system and that they are interlinked and mutually reinforcing;

CONVINCED that all multilateral efforts and cooperation in the area of security must respect in full the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence of states, and of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Charter of the Organization of American States, and international law, as well as take into account different perspectives with regard to threats to states’ security and their priorities;

RECOGNIZING that the Declaration on Security in the Americas reiterates that the concept of security in the Hemisphere is multidimensional in scope, includes traditional and new threats, concerns, and other challenges to the security of the states of the Hemisphere, incorporates the priorities of each state, contributes to the consolidation of peace, integral development, and social justice, and is based on democratic values, respect for and promotion and defense of human rights, solidarity, cooperation, and respect for national sovereignty;

RECOGNIZING that with the adoption of the Commitment to Public Security in the Americas at the First Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA I), held in Mexico from October 7 to 8, 2008, the member states expressed their political will for and the priority of confronting crime, violence, and insecurity in a joint, mutually supportive, preventive, comprehensive, coherent, effective, and continuous manner;

RECOGNIZING ALSO the Consensus of Santo Domingo on Public Security adopted at the Second Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA II), held in the Dominican Republic on November 4 and 5, 2009;

REAFFIRMING that the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) and other meetings of criminal justice authorities are important and effective forums for promoting and strengthening mutual understanding, confidence, dialogue, and cooperation in developing criminal justice policies and responses to address threats to security;

RECALLING the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, in the American Convention on Human Rights, and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

TAKING NOTE of the Report on Citizen Security and Human Rights prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and presented by it in December 2009;

RECOGNIZING that public security is the duty and exclusive obligation of the state, strengthens the rule of law, and has as its purpose to safeguard the integrity and safety of persons and to protect the enjoyment of all their rights;

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that citizen and community participation is essential in the promotion and sustainability of public security policies;

RECOGNIZING that public security conditions are improved through full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as by means of the promotion of education, culture, health, and economic and social development;

RECOGNIZING furthermore the need to promote and strengthen long-term and comprehensive state policies for public security that guarantee the protection and promotion of human rights, with an emphasis on addressing the causes of crime and violence;

UNDERLINING the need to continue coordinating international measures in the area of natural disaster prevention, mitigation, and assistance, while encouraging community participation and strengthening domestic capabilities as well as those of competent risk management agencies;

REITERATING the commitment to promote, within the framework of the rule of law, a culture of peace and nonviolence, which is understood as a set of values, attitudes, and modes of behavior based on respect for life, human beings, and their dignity, and which gives priority to human rights, ending of violence, and adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, solidarity, tolerance, and respect for diversity;

RECOGNIZING that crime and violence impair the social, economic, and political development of their societies;

CONSIDERING ALSO that, in the OAS Charter, the member states agreed that equality of opportunity, the elimination of extreme poverty, equitable distribution of wealth and income, and the full participation of their peoples in decisions relating to their own development are, among others, basic objectives of integral development;

RECOGNIZING the need to take action to bring about conditions for social, economic, political, and cultural development so as to promote social inclusion, reduce inequity and create opportunities for their people thereby contributing to the prevention of crime, violence, and insecurity;

REITERATING the commitment to address the challenges related to pandemics and natural and man-made disasters;

REAFFIRMING that states have a duty and responsibility to provide the humanitarian assistance necessary to protect the life, integrity, and dignity of their inhabitants in natural or man-made disasters;

CONSIDERING the importance of adopting policies, programs, and actions to prevent and confront crime, violence, and insecurity, including measures for the protection of vulnerable groups;

CONVINCED that elimination of violence against women in all its dimensions is an indispensable condition for their individual and social advancement and for their full and equal participation in society; as well as of the importance of including a gender perspective in security policies;

RECOGNIZING the importance of providing youth, particularly at-risk youth, with opportunities for and access to education, training, employment, culture, sports, and recreation, in order to prevent violence;

REAFFIRMING that prevention, punishment, and eradication of migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons and exploitation in all its forms, including sexual exploitation of women and minors, are obligations of the member states that should be addressed in accordance with the national and international legal instruments on such matters, and when appropriate, in partnership with civil society;

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that transnational organized criminal activities can be used to finance and facilitate terrorism;

RECOGNIZING the importance of continuing to strengthen law enforcement and criminal justice capabilities;

RECOGNIZING ALSO the importance of mutual assistance in criminal matters and extradition in response to the preparation, planning, commission, execution, or financing of acts of terrorism, as well as corruption and organized crime, in accordance with domestic law and international agreements;

CONSIDERING the importance of international cooperation for improving economic and social conditions and thereby strengthening public security; and

REAFFIRMING the importance of maintaining and strengthening bilateral, subregional, regional, and international cooperation on security-related matters,

DECLARE:

1. That it is their priority to continue directing their political will, efforts and actions to strengthen citizen security, as a component of public security, in their countries.

2. The obligation of states to develop and implement public policies in the area of public security within the framework of a democratic order, the rule of law, and observance of human rights, geared towards providing security and strengthening peaceful coexistence in their communities.

3. That public security policies must encourage measures for dealing with the causes of crime, violence, and insecurity.

4. That the individual is at the center of citizen security, understood as a component of public security, and should therefore be a key factor in the definition and implementation of ways to build more secure and sustainable communities and societies that conform to their aspirations for democracy and for socioeconomic and cultural development.

5. That public security policies require the participation and cooperation of multiple actors, such as individuals, government at all levels, civil society, communities, the mass media, the private sector, and academia in order to reinforce promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence and respond effectively and in a participatory manner to the needs of society as a whole.

6. The importance of strengthening the capacity of the state to develop comprehensive, long-term public security policies with a gender-based perspective, bearing in mind the needs of vulnerable groups, including the promotion and protection of human rights, and adapting, as necessary, the appropriate legal frameworks, structures, programs, operating procedures, and management mechanisms.

7. The need to continue implementing policies and measures in the area of prevention, law enforcement, rehabilitation, and reintegration into society, in order to ensure a comprehensive approach in combating crime, violence, and insecurity, for the purpose of enhancing public security.

8. The determination to design public policies and educational programs with a view to achieving a cultural transformation aimed at eradicating domestic violence.

9. The importance of continuing to foster measures to ensure that their populations have access to justice and to the protection afforded by an effective, transparent, and reliable criminal justice system.

10. The need to continue promoting prison systems based on respect for human dignity and human rights, including policies and practices geared towards rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

11. Their commitment to strengthen the links between development and security and, in this regard, foster increasing interaction between the areas of integral development and multidimensional security of the OAS.

12. The importance of maintaining and strengthening bilateral, subregional, regional, and international cooperation on security-related matters.

13. The commitment to reinforce inter-American partnership for integral development and to strengthen cooperation mechanisms and actions to urgently address extreme poverty, inequity, and social exclusion.

14. The need to continue coordinating international measures in the area of disaster prevention, mitigation, and assistance, while encouraging community participation and strengthening domestic capabilities as well as those of competent risk management agencies.

15. The need to continue strengthening bilateral, subregional, regional, and international cooperation mechanisms, in keeping with the principles established in the OAS Charter, to address, prevent, and combat, in a comprehensive and effective manner, transnational organized crime, illicit arms trafficking, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, the global drug problem, money laundering, corruption, terrorism, kidnapping, criminal gangs, and technology-related crime, including cybercrime, as they may affect, in certain cases, social, economic, and political development and the legal and institutional order.

16. To instruct the Permanent Council to prepare, in consultation and coordination with the national authorities of the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA) and of the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA), with the assistance of the General Secretariat, a draft hemispheric plan of action, to follow up on this Declaration of San Salvador, to be considered by the forty-second regular session of the General Assembly.

17. That they request the General Secretariat to seek adequate funding for the preparation of the draft hemispheric plan of action and to report to the General Assembly at its next regular session on steps taken to this end.



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