General assembly thirty-eighth regular session




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INTER-AMERICAN PROGRAM FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)



THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
Having seen the Annual Report of the Permanent Council to the General Assembly (AG/doc.4820/08), in particular as it pertains to the implementation of resolution AG/RES. 2264 (XXXVII-O/07), “Inter-American Program for the Development of International Law”;
CONSIDERING that in 1996 the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Panama on the Inter-American Contribution to the Development and Codification of International Law [AG/DEC. 12 (XXVI-O/96)], and that in 1997, by resolution AG/RES. 1471 (XXVII-O/97), it adopted the Inter-American Program for the Development of International Law;
CONSIDERING ALSO that the General Assembly has reaffirmed its support for said Program through resolutions AG/RES. 1557 (XXVIII-O/98), AG/RES. 1617 (XXIX-O/99), AG/RES. 1705 (XXX-O/00), AG/RES. 1766 (XXXI-O/01), AG/RES. 1845 (XXXII-O/02), AG/RES. 1921 (XXXIII-O/03), AG/RES. 2032 (XXXIV-O/04), AG/RES. 2070 (XXXV-O/05), AG/RES. 2174 (XXXVI-O/06), and AG/RES. 2264 (XXXVII-O/07);
UNDERSCORING the importance and ongoing validity of the principles of international law set forth in the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), as a standard to govern the conduct of states in their relations with one another; and
TAKING NOTE:
Of the Report on the Inter-American Program for the Development of International Law (Activities carried out by the Office of International Law of the Department of International Legal Affairs) (2007) (CP/CAJP-2578/07);
Of the XXXIV Course on International Law, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 30 to August 24, 2007, and of the Workshops on International Law, held in Managua, Nicaragua, from November 19 to 23, 2007; and
Of the First and the Second Course on International Humanitarian Law and the Introductory Course on the Human Rights of Migrants, Including Migrant Workers and Their Families, for staff of the permanent missions of the member states and of the General Secretariat, organized by the Department of International Law and held at OAS headquarters,
RESOLVES:


  1. To reaffirm the importance of, and its support for, the Inter-American Program for the Development of International Law; and to request the Department of International Law to continue carrying out the activities enumerated in the Program.

  2. To urge the General Secretariat to continue, through the Department of International Law, conducting the Workshops on International Law and the Course on International Law in Rio de Janeiro as well as other activities designed to increase awareness of international law, with special emphasis on the inter-American system, and to continue disseminating legal information on the system and the status of signatures and ratifications of inter-American treaties deposited with the General Secretariat, through publications, electronic media, and the Internet, in all the official languages of the Organization of American States (OAS).




  1. To urge the General Secretariat to continue holding workshops, through the Department of International Law and in the framework of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, on topics of interest in the field of international law and the study and development of inter-American law, directed at the staff of the permanent missions of the member states, General Secretariat personnel, academic sectors, and the general public.




  1. To request the General Secretariat to continue, through the Department of International Law, doing its utmost to disseminate information on the instruments of the inter-American system in diplomatic academies, other training centers for civil servants, and other law schools in the Hemisphere, in the context of the mandates of the Inter-American Program for the Development of International Law.

5. To request the Permanent Council 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.

AG/RES. 2406 (XXXVIII-O/08)
RIGHT TO THE TRUTH
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


HAVING SEEN resolutions AG/RES. 2175 (XXXVI-O/06) and AG/RES. 2267 (XXXVII-O/07), “Right to the Truth”;
CONSIDERING the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights, or “Pact of San José, Costa Rica,” the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, and the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons;
CONSIDERING IN PARTICULAR Articles 25, 8, 13, and 1.1 of the American Convention on Human Rights, related, respectively, to the right to judicial protection, the right to due process and judicial guarantees, the right to freedom of expression, and the duty of states to respect and guarantee human rights;
CONSIDERING ALSO the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the 1977 Additional Protocols thereto, the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and other relevant instruments of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as well as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action;
NOTING the universality, interdependence, indivisibility, and interrelatedness of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights;
TAKING NOTE of Articles 32 and 33 of Additional Protocol I, adopted on June 8, 1977, to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, which recognize the right of families, as soon as circumstances permit, to know the fate of persons who have disappeared in armed conflicts;
STRESSING that adequate steps to identify victims should also be taken in situations not amounting to armed conflict, especially in cases of severe or systematic violations of human rights;
RECALLING resolution 2005/66 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, on the right to the truth, and decision 2/105 of the United Nations Human Rights Council;
RECALLING ALSO resolution AG/RES. 445 (IX-O/79), on the promotion of human rights, and resolutions AG/RES. 510 (X-O/80), AG/RES. 618 (XII-O/82), AG/RES. 666 (XIII-O/83), and AG/RES. 742 (XIV-O/84), on forced disappearance;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolution AG/RES. 2134 (XXXV-O/05), on persons who have disappeared, and resolutions AG/RES. 2231 (XXXVI-O/06) and AG/RES. 2295 (XXXVII-O/07), on persons who have disappeared and assistance to members of their families;
NOTING that the General Assembly has received reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the human rights situation in certain countries of the region, which refer to the right to the truth and recognize that the disappearance of persons causes suffering and hardship, especially to relatives and any other person having a legitimate interest, who are uncertain about their fate and unable to provide them with legal, moral, and material assistance;
NOTING ALSO that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have recognized the right to the truth in their respective recommendations and judgments in various individual cases of human rights violations;
TAKING NOTE of the oral progress report presented by the IACHR in April 2008 on the preparation of the report requested in resolution AG/RES. 2267 (XXXVII-O/07);
ACKNOWLEDGING that the right to the truth may be characterized differently in some legal systems as the right to know or to be informed or as freedom of information;
ACKNOWLEDGING ALSO the study on the right to the truth prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (E/CN.4/2006/91) in fulfillment of Human Rights Commission resolution 2005/66;
RECALLING the conclusions of the regional seminar “Memory, Truth, and Justice: Our Recent Past,” held in the context of the Meeting of Competent High Authorities on Human Rights and Foreign Ministries of MERCOSUR and Associated States, in November 2005, which recognize the collective dimension of the right to the truth;
STRESSING that the regional community should make a commitment to recognize the right of victims of gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, and of their families and society as a whole, to know the truth regarding such violations to the fullest extent practicable, in particular the identity of the perpetrators, the causes and facts of such violations, and the circumstances under which they occurred;
STRESSING ALSO that it is important for states to provide effective mechanisms for society as a whole and, in particular, for relatives of the victims, to learn the truth regarding gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law; and
CONVINCED that states, within the framework of their own internal legal systems, should preserve records and other evidence concerning gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, in order to facilitate knowledge of such violations, investigate allegations, and provide victims with access to an effective remedy in accordance with international law, in order to prevent these violations from occurring again in the future, among other reasons,
RESOLVES:


  1. To recognize the importance of respecting and ensuring the right to the truth so as to contribute to ending impunity and to promoting and protecting human rights.




  1. To welcome the establishment in several states of specific judicial mechanisms, as well as other non-judicial or ad hoc mechanisms, such as truth and reconciliation commissions, that complement the justice system, to contribute to the investigation of violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law; and to express appreciation for the preparation and publication of the reports and decisions of these bodies.




  1. To encourage the states concerned to disseminate and implement the recommendations of national non-judicial or ad hoc mechanisms, such as truth and reconciliation commissions, to monitor the implementation of said recommendations at the domestic level, and to report on compliance with the decisions of judicial mechanisms.




  1. To encourage other states to consider the possibility of establishing specific judicial mechanisms and, where appropriate, truth commissions or other similar bodies to complement the justice system in order to contribute to the investigation and punishment of gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law.




  1. To encourage states and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), within its sphere of competence, to provide the states that so request with necessary and appropriate assistance concerning the right to the truth, through, inter alia, technical cooperation and information exchange on national administrative, legislative, and judicial measures applied, as well as experiences and best practices geared toward the protection, promotion, and implementation of this right.




  1. Once again to request the IACHR to continue working on the preparation of a report, for presentation to the Permanent Council in the second half of 2008, on the evolution of the right to the truth in the Hemisphere, which report shall include national mechanisms and experiences in this regard. This will be done with a view to the Permanent Council’s holding, in the first half of 2009, a special meeting on the right to the truth to discuss the IACHR report and exchange national experiences.




  1. To encourage all states to take appropriate measures to establish mechanisms or institutions for reporting information on human rights violations and ensuring that citizens have appropriate access to said information, in order to further the exercise of the right to the truth, prevent future human rights violations, and establish accountability in this area.




  1. To request the Permanent Council 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.

AG/RES. 2407 (XXXVIII-O/08)
STRENGTHENING OF HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEMS PURSUANT TO THE MANDATES
ARISING FROM THE SUMMITS OF THE AMERICAS
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


HAVING SEEN the Annual Report of the Permament Council to the General Assembly (AG/doc.4820/08) as it pertains to this topic, as well as resolutions AG/RES. 1828 (XXXI-O/01), AG/RES. 1890 (XXXII-O/02), AG/RES. 1925 (XXXIII-O/03), AG/RES. 2030 (XXXIV-O/04), AG/RES. 2075 (XXXV-O/05), AG/RES. 2220 (XXXVI-O/06), and AG/RES. 2291 (XXXVII-O/07);
REAFFIRMING that universal promotion and protection of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, based on the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence, as well as respect for international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international refugee law, are essential to the functioning of democratic societies; and stressing the importance of respect for the rule of law, effective and equal access to justice, and participation by all elements of society in public decision-making processes;
REAFFIRMING ALSO the importance of the inter-American human rights system, whose organs have competence to promote the observance of human rights in all member states of the Organization of American States (OAS), in accordance with the commitments undertaken by each state, and which operate in a manner subsidiary to national jurisdictional systems;
EXPRESSING that strengthening the autonomy of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in the context of the Charter of the Organization of American States, the American Convention on Human Rights, and the Statute and Rules of Procedure of said Commission, will lead to improvements in the inter-American human rights system;
CONSIDERING that the Organization can serve as a forum for contributing to the efforts of member states to develop and strengthen national systems for the promotion and protection of human rights; and
BEARING IN MIND the Declaration and Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City in 2001, and of the Fourth Summit of the Americas, held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2005, in particular, paragraphs 45 and 62 of the Plan of Action of the Fourth Summit, on the development of comprehensive economic and social policies and on strengthening of the inter-American human rights system, respectively,
RESOLVES:


  1. To reaffirm the commitment of member states to continue strengthening and improving the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights and, in that connection, to continue to take the following concrete measures aimed at implementing the respective mandates of the Heads of State and Government arising from the Summits of the Americas, in particular, the Third Summit, held in Quebec City, and the Fourth Summit, held in Mar del Plata, Argentina:




    1. Universalization of the inter-American human rights system by considering the signature and ratification or ratification of, or accession to, as soon as possible and as the case may be, all universal and inter-American human rights instruments;




    1. Compliance with the judgments of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and follow-up of the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR);




    1. Improvement of access by victims to the mechanisms of the inter-American human rights system;




    1. Adequate financing of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, including the fostering of voluntary contributions, so that they may continue to address their activities and responsibilities; and




    1. Examination of the possibility that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights may come to operate on a permanent basis, taking into account, among other things, the views of those organs.




  1. To recognize the following progress made in the specific areas of the inter-American human rights system, namely:




  1. The broad process of reflection on the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights, within the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) of the Permanent Council, and the importance of the informal meetings held in the framework of the CAJP and of the exchange of proposals and comments between the member states and the organs of the inter-American human rights system, regarding ways to strengthen and improve it;




  1. Also, the contribution by those meetings to the “dialogue on the workings of the inter-American human rights system between member states and the members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the judges of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” on April 4, 2007, at which inputs were also received from civil society organizations in accordance with the Guidelines for Participation by Civil Society Organizations in OAS activities, as recorded in the report of the meeting (CP/CAJP-2644/08);




  1. The deposit by Mexico, on August 20, 2007, of its instrument of accession to the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty;

  2. The voluntary contributions to facilitate the work of the organs of the inter-American human rights system made by Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States; by Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and Sweden; and also by the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Save the Children Foundation, and the University of Notre Dame; and




  1. To recognize the effort made by the IACHR in beginning the process of consultation on the proposed amendments to its Rules of Procedure in 2007, and the receipt of inputs from member states and civil society, all of which contributes to improved performance and protection of the inter-American human rights system.




  1. To instruct the Permanent Council to meet the objectives mentioned in operative paragraph 1 and to complement and consolidate the progress referred to in operative paragraph 2, by:




  1. Continuing the broad process of reflection on the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights, as a matter of special importance in the work program of the CAJP adopted each year, and, to that end, that meetings be scheduled taking into account the proposals put forward in the discussions that took place in said Committee. Said process of reflection will continue in consultation with the member states, specialized agencies of the inter-American human rights system, nongovernmental organizations, national human rights institutes, academic institutions, and experts in the field, regarding:




  1. The major challenges facing the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Hemisphere;




  1. Possible actions to strengthen and improve the system; and




  1. The advisability of convening an inter-American human rights conference;




  1. Continuing to examine, principally through the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP) of the Permanent Council, ways to bring about adequate financing of the organs of the inter-American human rights system in the program-budget of the Organization;




  1. Supporting any initiatives taken by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to request funding from international and regional agencies to further the activities of the organs of the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights;




  1. Encouraging, in addition, member states to contribute to the Specific Fund for Strengthening the Inter-American System for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, as well as to the Oliver Jackman Fund established by resolution AG/RES. 2329 (XXXVII-O/07);




  1. Continuing to consider ways to promote compliance with the judgments of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and follow-up of the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by member states;




  1. Continuing to analyze the priorities for improvement of the inter-American human rights system, including consideration of the possibility that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights may come to operate on a permanent basis, taking into account related information provided by the presidents of both organs;




  1. Holding each year, within the CAJP, the dialogue between the member states and the members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and judges on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on how the inter-American human rights system operates. The CAJP will establish the agenda for said meeting at least two months in advance; and




  1. Requesting the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue to report on the impact and the meaning in practice of their regulatory reforms for the work of both organs and for the strengthening of the system.




  1. To continue to promote the strengthening of national systems for the promotion and protection of human rights in member states; and, to that end, to urge the pertinent organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization to provide, in accordance with their capabilities and resources, cooperation and technical support to the member states that so request, in order to help enhance compliance with their international human rights obligations, and to develop cooperative relations and information exchange with, inter alia, the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsmen, the Caribbean Ombudsmen’s Association, the Network of National Human Rights Institutions of the Americas, the Andean Council of Ombudsmen, and the Central American Ombudsman Council.




  1. To urge member states to consider signing and ratifying, ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be, the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Protocol of San Salvador.”




  1. To request the Permanent Council 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.

AG/RES. 2408 (XXXVIII-O/08)



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