General assembly thirty-eighth regular session




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OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON
THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN JURIDICAL COMMITTEE

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



THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
HAVING SEEN the observations and recommendations of the member states on the Annual Report of the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CP/CAJP-2616/08);
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolution AG/RES. 2265 (XXXVII-O/07), “Observations and Recommendations on the Annual Report of the Inter-American Juridical Committee”; and
CONSIDERING:
That Article 53 of the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) establishes the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI) as one of the organs of the Organization;
That Article 54.f of the OAS Charter provides that it is a function of the General Assembly to consider, inter alia, the observations and recommendations presented by the Permanent Council on the reports of the organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization, in accordance with Article 91.f of the Charter; and
That on March 27, 2008, the CJI presented its annual report to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) of the Permanent Council, and that the Permanent Council has forwarded its observations and recommendations thereon to the General Assembly,
RESOLVES:


  1. To endorse the observations and recommendations of the member states on the Annual Report of the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI) and to forward them to the Juridical Committee.




  1. To thank the CJI for including in its annual report resolution CJI/RES. 137 (LXXI-O/07), “The Scope of the Right to Identity,” and the opinion adopted on the subject, contained in document CJI/doc.276/07 rev. 1, pursuant to the Permanent Council mandate of March 15, 2007; resolution CJI/RES. 125 (LXX-O/07), “Promotion of the International Criminal Court,” and the report on the subject contained in document CJI/doc.256/07 rev. 1, pursuant to the General Assembly mandate contained in resolution AG/RES. 2176 (XXXVI-O/06); the updated, rev. 2 version, of document CJI/doc.25/00, “Right to Information: Access to and Protection of Information and Personal Data in Electronic Form,” pursuant to resolution AG/RES. 2252 (XXXVI-O/06); and document CJI/doc.258/07, “Inter-American Juridical Committee Report on the ‘Preliminary Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance,’” as a contribution to the work of the Working Group looking into this topic.




  1. To thank the CJI for forwarding to the Permanent Council resolution CJI/RES. 139 (LXXII-O/08), “The Legal Status of Migrant Workers and Their Families in International Law,” together with the document entitled “Primer or Manual on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families” (CJI/doc.292/08); resolution CJI/RES. 140 (LXXII-O/08), “Promotion of the International Criminal Court,” together with the “Report on Perspectives for a Model Law on State Cooperation with the International Criminal Court,” (CJI/doc.290/08 rev. 1), and the “Guide to the General Principles and Agendas for the Cooperation of States with the International Criminal Court” (CJI/doc.293/08 rev. 1); and the document entitled “Status of the Consumer Protection Negotiations at the Seventh Inter-American Specialized Conference on Private International Law” (CJI/doc.288/08 rev. 1).




  1. To request the CJI to include in its next annual report a proposal regarding principles and basic indicators on access to public information, whose preparation will include member state participation and contributions.




  1. To request the CJI to continue preparing and to propose model legislation to support the efforts made to fulfill obligations under international humanitarian law treaties, based on priority issues worked out with the member states and the International Committee of the Red Cross. To that end, member states are urged to forward to the CJI, as soon as possible, a list of said priority issues, so that the CJI may comply with that mandate.




  1. To underscore once again the importance of holding the Course on International Law, organized each year in Rio de Janeiro by the CJI and the Department of International Law of the Organization of American States (OAS); to highlight the importance of increasing the amount of OAS scholarship awards for that course; to urge member states to consider the possibility of paying directly for the participation of students and professors from their own countries; and to recognize the work of the Department of International Law in publishing the lectures given during that course.




  1. To reaffirm the importance of the close ties maintained by the CJI with the political organs of the OAS, particularly the Permanent Council and its Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs; and to recommend to the CJI that it continue to focus its efforts on the matters which the competent organs identify as being of priority interest to the Organization.




  1. To emphasize the need to provide increased administrative and budgetary support to the CJI, so that it may adequately address the current inter-American legal agenda and issue the corresponding recommendations, within the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.




  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. 2415 (XXXVIII-O/08)


PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS
WHILE COUNTERING TERRORISM
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


RECALLING resolutions AG/RES. 1840 (XXXII-O/02), AG/RES. 1906 (XXXII-O/02), AG/RES. 1931 (XXXIII-O/03), AG/RES. 2035 (XXXIV-O/04), AG/RES. 2143 (XXXV-O/05), AG/RES. 2238 (XXXVI-O/06), and AG/RES. 2271 (XXXVII-O/07), and the Report on Terrorism and Human Rights, prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.116 – Doc.5 rev. 1);
REAFFIRMING the principles and purposes of the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Charter of the United Nations;
EMPHASIZING that all persons are born free and are entitled to the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth, or other status, and that this applies in all circumstances, in accordance with international law;
REITERATING that all persons are equal before the law and have the rights and duties established in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, without distinction as to race, sex, language, creed, or any other factor;
REAFFIRMING that states are under the obligation to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons;
RECOGNIZING that respect for all human rights, respect for democracy, and respect for the rule of law are interrelated and mutually reinforcing;
CONSIDERING that terrorism poses a serious threat to the security, the institutions, and the democratic values of states and to the well-being of our peoples, and that it impairs the full enjoyment and exercise of human rights;
RECOGNIZING that the adoption of measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law is one of the pillars of the Plan of Action of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted by consensus in 2006;
REAFFIRMING that acts, methods, and practices of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations are activities aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democracy, threatening the territorial integrity and security of states and destabilizing legitimately constituted governments, and that the international community should take the necessary steps to enhance cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism;

Reaffirming ALSO its unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomsoever committed, regardless of their motivation, as criminal and unjustifiable; and renewing its commitment to strengthen international cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT:
That, in the “Declaration: Reaffirmation of the Hemispheric Commitment to Fighting Terrorism,” adopted in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2008, the member states reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its origin or motivation, has no justification whatsoever, affects the full enjoyment and exercise of human rights, and constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security, democratic institutions and values, and the stability and prosperity of the countries of the region;
That, in the Declaration on Security in the Americas, the states of the Hemisphere renewed their commitment, reiterated in the Declaration of San Carlos and the Declaration of Panama, to fight terrorism and its financing, with full respect for the rule of law and international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international refugee law, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, and United Nations Security Council resolution 1373 (2001); and
That, in the Declaration of Mar del Plata of the Fourth Summit of the Americas and the Declaration of Nuevo León of the Special Summit of the Americas, the Heads of State and Government agreed to take all necessary steps to prevent and counter terrorism and its financing, in full compliance with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law;
WELCOMING the fact that the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism entered into force on July 10, 2003, and that to date 23 countries have ratified it;
CONSIDERING the report of the Meeting of Government Experts to Exchange, from a Human Rights Perspective, Best Practices and National Experiences in Adopting Antiterrorism Measures, held on February 12 and 13, 2004 (CP/CAJP-2140/04);
HAVING RECEIVED the document entitled “Recommendations for the Protection of Human Rights by OAS Member States in the Fight against Terrorism” (CP/doc.4117/06), prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which supplements the IACHR Report on Terrorism and Human Rights, of October 22, 2002 (OEA.Ser.L/V/II.116, Doc. 5 rev. 1);
REAFFIRMING:
That, in the fight against terrorism, any detained person presumed to be involved in a terrorist act will enjoy the rights and guarantees provided by applicable international law, in particular international human rights law and international humanitarian law;
That the means the state can use to protect its security or that of its citizens in the fight against terrorism should, under all circumstances, be consistent with applicable international law, in particular international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law; and
That terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group;
RECALLING that, under Article 27 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is recognized that some rights are non-derogable under any circumstances, and that, with respect to rights that may be subject to derogation, states may take measures derogating from their obligations under these conventions to the extent and, with respect to the American Convention, for the period of time strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with the other rights and obligations prescribed under international law; and emphasizing that, in the inter-American system, the protection of non-derogable rights includes essential judicial guarantees for their protection; and
DEEPLY DEPLORING the occurrence of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of the fight against terrorism, as well as violations of international refugee law and international humanitarian law,
RESOLVES:


  1. To reaffirm that the fight against terrorism must be waged with full respect for the law, including compliance with due process, and for human rights, comprising civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as for democratic institutions, so as to preserve the rule of law and democratic freedoms and values in the Hemisphere.




  1. To reaffirm that all member states have a duty to ensure that all measures adopted to combat terrorism are in compliance with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.




  1. To urge states, while countering terrorism, to fully comply with their obligations against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, in particular the absolute prohibition of torture.




  1. To call upon states to ensure that their laws criminalizing terrorist conduct and/or activities are accessible, formulated with precision, nondiscriminatory, non-retroactive, and in accordance with applicable international law, including human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law.




  1. To urge states to fully respect non-refoulement obligations under international refugee and human rights law and, at the same time, to review, with full respect for these obligations and other legal safeguards, the validity of a refugee status decision in an individual case if credible and relevant evidence comes to light that indicates that the person in question has committed any criminal acts, including terrorist acts, falling under the exclusion clauses under international refugee law.




  1. To urge states to respect the safeguards concerning the liberty, security, and dignity of the person and to treat prisoners in all places of detention in accordance with applicable international law, including human rights law and international humanitarian law.




  1. To call upon all member states, with a view to fulfilling the commitments undertaken in this resolution, to consider signing and ratifying, ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be and as soon as possible, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism and the American Convention on Human Rights; and to urge the states parties to take appropriate steps to implement the provisions of those treaties.




  1. To call upon member states to promote and apply at every level the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its Plan of Action in order to move toward the common goal of eradicating the scourge of international terrorism, taking into account that one of its mainstays is ensuring respect for human rights while countering terrorism.




  1. To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to continue promoting respect for and the defense of human rights and facilitating efforts by member states to comply appropriately with their international human rights commitments when developing and executing counterterrorist measures, including the rights of persons who might be at a disadvantage, subject to discrimination, or at risk as a result of terrorist violence or counterterrorist initiatives, and to report to the Permanent Council on the advisability of conducting a follow-up study.




  1. That, on the basis of the “Recommendations for the Protection of Human Rights by OAS Member States in the Fight against Terrorism,” prepared by the IACHR, and the results of consultations with the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) and the member states, the Permanent Council may consider preparing draft common terms of reference for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the fight against terrorism, which would compile current international standards and be based on applicable international law and on best practices, for consideration by the General Assembly.




  1. To reiterate the importance of intensifying dialogue among CICTE, the IACHR, and other pertinent areas of the Organization, with a view to improving and strengthening their ongoing collaboration on the issue of protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.




  1. To urge member states to respect, in accordance with their obligations, the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty in high-security detention centers, particularly observance of due process.




  1. To reaffirm that it is imperative that all states work to uphold and protect the dignity of individuals and their fundamental freedoms, as well as democratic practices and the rule of law, while countering terrorism.




  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. 2416 (XXXVIII-O/08)


PERSONS WHO HAVE DISAPPEARED AND ASSISTANCE
TO MEMBERS OF THEIR FAMILIES
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


RECALLING resolution AG/RES. 2295 (XXXVII-O/07) and resolutions on this subject from prior years;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that the problem of missing persons and assistance to members of their families is addressed in international humanitarian law and international human rights law within their respective spheres of application, their legal frameworks being distinct;
DEEPLY CONCERNED over the suffering caused both by the disappearance of persons as a result of armed conflict or other situations of armed violence and by forced disappearances;
RECOGNIZING the need to alleviate the anxiety and uncertainty suffered by the relatives of persons who are presumed to have disappeared;
MINDFUL of the need to prevent the disappearance of persons, to ascertain the fate of those who have disappeared, and to respond to the needs of members of their families, both in situations of armed conflict or other situations of armed violence and in cases of forced disappearances;
GUIDED by the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the two Additional Protocols of 1977 thereto, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man of 1948, the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969, the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons of 1994, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance of 2006, and applicable international law;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolution 59/189, “Missing persons,” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2004; resolution 2005/66, “Right to the Truth,” adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on April 20, 2005; resolution 2005/26, “Human Rights and Forensic Science,” adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on April 19, 2005; the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 2005; decision 2/105, “Right to the truth,” adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2006; resolution 61/155, “Missing persons,” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2006, and resolution 7/28, “Missing persons,” adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 28, 2008; and
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ALSO resolution 1 of the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, held in Geneva from November 26 to 30, 2007, which urged the members of that Conference to continue and intensify their efforts to address the problem of missing persons and their relatives,
RESOLVES:


  1. To urge all parties involved in armed conflict and actors in other situations of armed violence to prevent the disappearance of persons, in accordance with applicable international law.




  1. To encourage member states to continue moving forward in preventing the forced disappearance of persons by considering, where appropriate, the adoption of laws, regulations, and/or instructions requiring the establishment of official registries in which records will be kept of all detained persons, among other reasons to allow, as appropriate, family members, other interested persons, judicial authorities, and/or bodies that have a recognized mandate to protect detainees to learn, within a short period of time, of any detention that has taken place, all of the foregoing without interfering with appropriate communications between detainees and their families.




  1. To urge member states to step up their efforts to shed light on the fate of persons who have disappeared and, to that end, to ensure that authorities and all mechanisms involved coordinate their work, cooperate among themselves, and complement one another’s efforts.




  1. To urge member states to maintain, in keeping with their legal and administrative organization, complete birth and death records, and also to establish registries to collect and centralize information on persons presumed to have disappeared.




  1. To urge member states to ensure that disappearance cases are impartially investigated by the competent authorities, in accordance with their international obligations and domestic legislation, and that the families of persons presumed to have disappeared are systematically involved in the efforts to clarify what has happened to them.




  1. To encourage member states to address as fully as possible the psychological, social, legal, and material needs of the families of presumed victims of disappearances through measures including, where appropriate, provision of periodic information to relatives on the efforts to cast light on the fate of the disappeared and on their whereabouts.




  1. To encourage member states to consider enacting, as applicable, domestic laws that recognize the situation of the families of disappearance victims, taking into account the specific needs and particular interests of women heads of household and children, including the consequences of disappearances on property management, child custody, parental rights, and marital status, as well as devising adequate compensation programs.




  1. To urge member states to ensure that human remains are treated with due respect and in accordance with national and international practices and standards and legal and ethical standards applicable to the collection, exhumation, and management of unidentified remains, in order to assemble all the information needed to identify them and to ascertain the facts that led to that situation.




  1. To encourage member states to take appropriate measures to ensure that the collection, exhumation, and management of human remains and other related procedures are carried out by forensic experts, respecting, if applicable, traditional practices.




  1. To urge member states to ensure that fully identified human remains are returned to families and that the respective death certificates are issued.




  1. To urge member states to punish those found guilty of violating, in armed conflict and other situations of armed violence, provisions of international human rights law and/or international humanitarian law, within their respective spheres of application, that protect persons from disappearances, in particular, forced disappearances.




  1. To urge member states to adopt necessary legislative and/or administrative measures to prevent the unlawful deprivation of freedom.




  1. To urge member states to adopt necessary legislative and/or administrative measures to prevent the systematic and deliberate denial of information exchange among families; obstacles to the provision of information on the disappearance of victims, in particular regarding identification processes; the illicit withholding of accessible information on a death or its cause and the reasons for or circumstances of a death; the destruction of evidence likely to clarify the fate of a person presumed to be missing; and the pillaging, desecration, or mutilation of the deceased.




  1. To urge member states to ensure adequate protection of the personal data gathered in connection with disappeared persons, in accordance with the law.




  1. To urge member states to cooperate among themselves in addressing the various aspects of the problem of the disappearance of persons, including in the area of support for families, the search for missing persons, collection, exhumation, and identification of human remains, and mutual assistance in criminal proceedings.




  1. To encourage member states to request support from international and civil society organizations to address the problem of the disappearance of persons.




  1. To invite member states to continue their cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, a recognized humanitarian institution, in its various areas of responsibility, and to facilitate its work.




  1. To urge those member states that have not yet done so to consider signing and ratifying, ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be, the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.




  1. To urge states, as applicable, to endeavor to carry out the mandates set forth in this resolution on an ongoing basis.




  1. To instruct the Permanent Council to follow up on this resolution.

AG/RES. 2417 (XXXVIII-O/08)


INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
RECALLING resolutions AG/RES. 1971 (XXXIII-O/03), “The Protection of Refugees, Returnees, and Stateless and Internally Displaced Persons in the Americas,” AG/RES. 774 (XV-O/85), AG/RES. 838 (XVI-O/86), AG/RES. 951 (XVIII-O/88), AG/RES. 1021 (XIX-O/89), AG/RES. 1039 (XX-O/90), AG/RES. 1040 (XX-O/90), AG/RES. 1103 (XXI-O/91), AG/RES. 1170 (XXII-O/92), AG/RES. 1214 (XXIII-O/93), AG/RES. 1273 (XXIV-O/94), AG/RES. 1336 (XXV-O/95), AG/RES. 1416 (XXVI-O/96), AG/RES. 1504 (XXVII-O/97), AG/RES. 1602 (XXVIII-O/98), AG/RES. 1892 (XXXII-O/02), AG/RES. 2055 (XXXIV-O/04), AG/RES. 2140 (XXXV-O/05), AG/RES. 2229 (XXXVI-O/06), and, especially, resolution AG/RES. 2277 (XXXVII-O/07), “Internally Displaced Persons”;
REITERATING the principles established in the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) and in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, especially those referred to in its Chapter III, “Democracy, Integral Development, and Combating Poverty”;
RECALLING the pertinent rules of international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law; and recognizing that the protection of internally displaced persons has been reinforced by the definition and consolidation of specific protection standards, in particular the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, prepared by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons;
RECALLING ALSO that, according to those guiding principles, internally displaced persons are “persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border”;
EMPHASIZING that the states have the primary responsibility to provide protection and assistance to internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction, as well as to address, as appropriate, the causes of the internal displacement problem and to do so, when so required, in cooperation with the international community;
NOTING that several countries in the Hemisphere are using the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and including them in the development of national policies and strategies;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that internal displacement affects a large number of persons, and that the needs of internally displaced persons, particularly with regard to protection and assistance, must be addressed immediately and comprehensively;
EMPHASIZING the importance of implementing effective policies for preventing and averting forced internal displacement and for protecting and assisting displaced persons during displacement and during return or resettlement and reintegration, including through the implementation of applicable international law; and
UNDERSCORING that to promote enhanced protection for internally displaced persons, comprehensive strategies and lasting solutions are needed which include, among other aspects, a free and informed decision by internally displaced persons as to whether to return to their place of origin, to integrate locally in the place to which they were displaced, or to resettle elsewhere in the country,
RESOLVES:


  1. To urge member states to include, as appropriate, in their sectoral plans, policies, and programs, the special needs of internally displaced persons, especially in the preparation of programs to foster development and fight poverty.




  1. To urge member states to consider using the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, prepared by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, as a basis for their plans, policies, and programs in support of such persons, and, in accordance with international law, in support of, inter alia, indigenous communities and communities of African descent, and the specific needs of children, women, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.




  1. To urge member states to continue considering the implementation in their domestic law or in their policies regarding all stages of displacement the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which reflect certain aspects of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.




  1. In order to avert the internal displacement of persons, to encourage member states to address the factors that cause it and to establish preventive policies, such as early warning, bearing in mind that dialogue with all the actors involved is essential to the achievement of lasting solutions.




  1. To call upon member states to comply with their obligations under applicable international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and refugee law in dealing with internally displaced persons, including in the possible prevention of internal displacement.




  1. To urge member states, in keeping with their responsibility to internally displaced persons, based on comprehensive strategies and from a human rights perspective, to commit to providing them with protection and assistance during displacement, through competent national institutions; and to invite member states to commit to seeking lasting solutions, including the safe and voluntary return of internally displaced persons and their resettlement and reintegration, whether in their place of origin or in the receiving community.




  1. To call upon states, in the care they provide to internally displaced persons in natural and man-made disasters, to protect their human rights through a comprehensive approach to disaster relief and reconstruction, consistent with international human rights law and domestic law, taking into account the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.




  1. To urge states to work together by fostering the exchange of best practices for the effective protection of the human rights of internally displaced persons as well as in the development and implementation of public policy to prevent displacement.




  1. To encourage member states, in dealing with internally displaced people, to consider the Framework for Durable Solutions for internal displacement and the Operational Guidelines on Human Rights and Natural Disasters, prepared by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons.




  1. To appeal to the appropriate agencies of the United Nations and the inter-American system, and to other humanitarian organizations and the international community, to provide support and/or assistance, as requested by states, in addressing the various factors that cause internal displacement and in assisting persons affected by internal displacement at all stages, where account should be taken of the Guiding Principles on strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance (United Nations General Assembly resolution 46/182).




  1. To instruct the Permanent Council to follow up on this resolution as it sees fit.

AG/RES. 2418 (XXXVIII-O/08)


ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION: STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY7/
(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), on the status of implementation of resolution AG/RES. 2288 (XXXVII-O/07), “Access to Public Information: Strengthening Democracy”;
CONSIDERING that Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights provides that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art, or through any other medium of one’s choice”;
CONSIDERING ALSO that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”;
RECALLING that the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City in 2001, indicates that governments will ensure that national legislation is applied equitably to all, respecting freedom of expression and access to public information by all citizens;
EMPHASIZING that Article 4 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter states that transparency in government activities, probity, responsible public administration on the part of governments, respect for social rights, and freedom of expression and of the press are essential components of the exercise of democracy;
NOTING that, in the Declaration of Nuevo León, the Heads of State and Government affirmed that access to information held by the state, subject to constitutional and legal norms, including those on privacy and confidentiality, is an indispensable condition for citizen participation and promotes effective respect for human rights, and that, in that connection, they are committed to providing the legal and regulatory framework and the structures and conditions required to guarantee the right of access to public information;
CONSIDERING that the General Secretariat has been providing support to member state governments in dealing with the topic of access to public information;
NOTING the work accomplished by the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI) on this issue, in particular resolution CJI/RES. 123 (LXX-O/07), “Right to Information,” attached to which is the report entitled “Right to Information: Access to and Protection of Information and Personal Data in Electronic Form” (CJI/doc.25/00 rev. 2);
RECOGNIZING that the goal of achieving an informed citizenry must be rendered compatible with other societal aims, such as safeguarding national security, public order, and protection of personal privacy, pursuant to laws passed to that effect;
RECOGNIZING ALSO that democracy is strengthened through full respect for freedom of expression, access to public information, and the free dissemination of ideas, and that all sectors of society, including the media, through the public information they disseminate to citizens, may contribute to a climate of tolerance of all views, foster a culture of peace, and strengthen democratic governance;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the important role civil society can play in promoting broad access to public information;
TAKING NOTE of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); and of the Joint Declaration by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the ACHPR (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, adopted in 2006;
TAKING NOTE ALSO of the reports of the IACHR Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression on the situation of access to information in the Hemisphere for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007;

TAKING NOTE FURTHER of the report on the special meeting of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) to promote, impart, and exchange experiences and knowledge with respect to access to public information and its relationship with citizen participation, which received input from experts from the states and civil society representatives, held at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) on April 28, 2006 (CP/CAJP-2320/06 add. 2); and of the report of the Special Meeting on Freedom of Thought and Expression, held on February 28 and 29, 2008, which highlighted recent inter-American jurisprudence on access to public information;


RECALLING initiatives taken by civil society regarding access to public information, in particular, the Declaration of Chapultepec, the Johannesburg Principles, the Lima Principles, and the Declaration of the SOCIUS Peru 2003: Access to Information, as well as the outcomes of the Regional Forum on Access to Public Information, of January 2004; the Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information, sponsored by the Carter Center, which addresses ways of advancing the implementation and exercise of the right of access to information, and of the International Seminar on Press, Litigation, and the Right to Public Information, held in Lima, Peru, on November 28, 2007;
RECALLING ALSO that the media, the private sector, and political parties can likewise play an important role in facilitating access by citizens to information held by the state;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the Report on the Questionnaire regarding Legislation and Best Practices on Access to Public Information (CP/CAJP-2608/08), which is a contribution to the study of best practices concerning access to public information in the Hemisphere; and
WELCOMING WITH INTEREST the study “Recommendations on Access to Information,” submitted to the CAJP on April 24, 2008 (CP/CAJP-2599/08), a study organized by the Department of International Law pursuant to resolution AG/RES. 2288 (XXXVII-O/07), “Access to Public Information: Strengthening Democracy,”
RESOLVES:


  1. To reaffirm that everyone has the freedom to seek, receive, access, and impart information and that access to public information is a requisite for the very exercise of democracy.




  1. To urge member states to respect and promote respect for everyone’s access to public information and to promote the adoption of any necessary legislative or other types of provisions to ensure its recognition and effective application.




  1. To encourage member states, in keeping with the commitment made in the Declaration of Nuevo León and with due respect for constitutional and legal provisions, to prepare and/or adjust their respective legal and regulatory frameworks, as appropriate, so as to provide the citizenry with broad access to public information.




  1. Also to encourage member states, when preparing or adjusting their respective legal and regulatory frameworks, as appropriate, to provide civil society with the opportunity to participate in that process; and to urge them, when drafting or adjusting their national legislation, to take into account clear and transparent exception criteria.




  1. To encourage member states to take the necessary measures, through their national legislation and other appropriate means, to make public information available electronically or by any other means that will allow ready access to it.




  1. To encourage civil society organizations to make information related to their work available to the public.




  1. To encourage states to consider, when they are designing, executing, and evaluating their regulations and policies on access to public information, where applicable, with the support of the appropriate organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization, implementing the recommendations on access to public information contained in the study organized by the Department of International Law and submitted to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) on April 24, 2008.




  1. To instruct the Permanent Council, in the framework of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, to:




  1. Convene in the second half of 2008 a special meeting with the participation of the member states, the General Secretariat, and representatives of civil society to examine the possibility of preparing an Inter-American Program on Access to Public Information, bearing in mind the recommendations contained in the aforementioned study;




  1. Update the Report on the Questionnaire regarding Legislation and Best Practices on Access to Public Information (CP/CAJP-2599/08), requesting to that end contributions by member states, the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Inter-American Juridical Committee, the Department of International Law, the Department of State Modernization and Good Governance of the Secretariat for Political Affairs, interested entities and organizations, and civil society representatives; and




  1. Include in the study mentioned in the preceding subparagraph the right of all citizens to seek, receive, and disseminate public information.

9. To instruct the Department of State Modernization and Good Governance of the Secretariat for Political Affairs, and to invite the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR, to support the efforts of member states that request such support in the design, execution, and evaluation of their regulations and policies with respect to access by citizens to public information.


10. To instruct the Department of International Law to prepare a study with recommendations on the protection of personal data, using as a basis the contributions of member states, the organs of the inter-American system and of civil society, and the preparatory work done during the special meeting of the CAJP on that subject.
11. To instruct the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR to continue to include in the Commission’s Annual Report a report on the situation regarding access to public information in the region.
12. To instruct the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD) to identify new resources to support member states’ efforts to facilitate access to public information.
13. 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. 2419 (XXXVIII-O/08)
SUPPORT FOR ENHANCED INTERREGIONAL COOPERATION
WITH THE AFRICAN UNION
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


AWARE of the historical bonds and shared experiences which tie together the American and African continents, the fundamental contributions of persons of African descent and their communities in the Americas, and the importance of recognizing and preserving that heritage;
COMMITTED, through regional and interregional cooperation, to support states in their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, values, practices, and governance, to fight corruption, to enhance the rule of law, to bring about the full exercise of human rights, and to reduce poverty, hunger, inequity, and social exclusion;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the presentations made during the special meeting of the Permanent Council on December 11, 2002, regarding Western Hemisphere-Africa cooperation, resolution 1631 (2005) of the United Nations Security Council, “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security,” and resolution AG/RES. 2016 (XXXIV-0/04), “Cooperation between the Organization of American States and the United Nations System, the General Secretariat of the Central Integration System, and the General Secretariat of the Caribbean Community”;
BEARING MIND that, in recognition of racial discrimination against persons of African descent in the Americas, in February 2005 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) established a Special Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination;
NOTING the progress achieved by the Working Group to Prepare a Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance;
RECALLING the commitments of the inter-American and African systems to the regional promotion and protection of human rights, as reflected in instruments such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and the American Convention on Human Rights;
RECOGNIZING that democracy, transparent, responsible, accountable, and participatory governance responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people, and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law are essential for the effective prevention and elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance;
CONSIDERING that countries of Africa and the Americas, in the framework of bilateral and multilateral forums, have committed themselves to encourage regional and interregional initiatives to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and to exchange experiences with other regional organizations, including the African Union, in matters of strengthening democracy at regional and interregional levels through the Organization of American States (OAS);
AWARE that the 2003 Declaration of Mexico [CIDI/RME/DEC. 4 (III-O/03)], adopted by the Ministers of Education of the Hemisphere, recognized the importance of raising cultural awareness and promoting democratic values in present and future generations, especially in education, as a key means of alleviating poverty and fostering greater understanding among peoples; and that the 2008 Declaration of African Union Ministers in Charge of Youth recognized the “role of the African youth in the Diaspora” and the “urgent need to promote African Youth and to enhance youth involvement in the African development agenda”;
RECOGNIZING the value of collaborative sharing of experiences and best practices for the deepening and implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG), adopted on January 30, 2007;
RECALLING that both the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in Chapter VI, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, in Chapter 5, affirm the importance of civil society organizations and civic education for the strengthening of democratic culture;
RECALLING ALSO that the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in Chapter III (Democracy, Integral Development and Combating Poverty), Articles 11 and 12, recognizes that democracy and social and economic development are interdependent, and that “[p]overty, illiteracy, and low levels of human development are factors that adversely affect the consolidation of democracy”;
CONSIDERING that in July 2007 the African Union established a diplomatic representational mission in Washington, D.C., and that, beginning in 2002, the African Union has collaborated with the Western Hemisphere African Diaspora Network to engage with the Diaspora community and persons of African descent;
NOTING WITH SATISFACTION the July 10 to 12, 2007, forum entitled “Democracy Bridge: Multilateral Regional Efforts for the Promotion and Defense of Democracy in Africa and America,” which included the participation of senior officials from the African Union and the OAS;
RECALLING that the World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed the right to development, as established in the Declaration on the Right to Development, as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights. As stated in the Declaration on the Right to Development, the human person is the central subject of development. While development facilitates the enjoyment of all human rights, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. States should cooperate with each other in ensuring development and eliminating obstacles to development. The international community should promote an effective international cooperation for the realization of the right to development and the elimination of obstacles to development. Lasting progress towards the implementation of the right to development requires effective development policies at the national level, as well as equitable economic relations and a favorable economic environment at the international level;
REAFFIRMING that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social, and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives and that, while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy;
AWARE that “[t]he effective exercise of representative democracy is the basis for the rule of law and of the constitutional regimes of the member states of the Organization of American States” and that one of the essential purposes of the OAS is “[t]o promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention”; and
REAFFIRMING that the participatory nature of democracy in our countries in different aspects of public life contributes to the consolidation of democratic values and to freedom and solidarity in the Hemisphere,
RESOLVES:


  1. To improve cooperation between the Organization of American States (OAS) and regional organizations; to encourage the adoption of regional democracy charters and cooperative initiatives and, where these exist, to support their implementation; and to strengthen the capacities of regional organizations through the sharing of best practices, keeping in mind existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation.




  1. To express support for deepened cooperation between the African Union and the OAS and, in particular:




    1. To express support for the “Declaration of Intent” signed on July 10, 2007, between the General Secretariat of the Organization and the African Union Commission (AUC), which calls for future cooperation between the AUC and the General Secretariat of the OAS on areas of common interest to “include inter alia democracy promotion”; and




    1. To urge member states, permanent observers, and other international organizations to strengthen their support for ongoing engagement between the two organizations, such as the sharing of best practices.




  1. To request the General Secretariat, in consultation with the AUC, to develop a framework document guiding interorganizational cooperation in areas of mutual interest, to include inter alia democracy promotion, the promotion and protection of human rights, and cooperation for economic and social development, for consideration by the Permanent Council. This framework might include, for example, the exchange of lessons learned and best practices in the area of democracy promotion and human rights, as well as measures to fight hunger and poverty and promote social inclusion.




  1. To encourage the Secretary General to prepare a report for presentation to the Permanent Council noting best practices and challenges for enhanced interregional cooperation.




  1. To instruct the Permanent Council to convene a second special meeting on cooperation between the Americas and Africa, with the participation of the African diplomatic corps and representatives of the AUC, during the second half of 2008.




  1. To request the Permanent Council and the General Secretariat to carry out the activities mentioned in this resolution in accordance with the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.




  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.




  1. To request the Secretary General to forward this resolution to the Chairperson of the AUC, the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Presidency Pro Tempore of MERCOSUR, the Secretary General of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), and the United Nations Secretary-General. To consider sending it as well to the Chair of the Community of Democracies Convening Group.

AG/RES. 2420 (XXXVIII-O/08)



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