General assembly thirty-eighth regular session




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AG/RES. 2430 (XXXVIII-O/08)


PROTOCOL OF SAN SALVADOR:
Composition and Functioning of the Working Group to Examine
the Periodic Reports of the States Parties



(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) and resolutions AG/RES. 2074 (XXXV-O/05), AG/RES. 2178 (XXXVI-O/06), and AG/RES. 2262 (XXXVII-O/07);
CONSIDERING the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights, Chapter III of which refers to economic, social, and cultural rights;
UNDERSCORING the entry into force, in November 1999, of the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Protocol of San Salvador,” and its ratification by 14 member states of the Organization of American States (OAS);
RECALLING that both the American Convention and the Protocol of San Salvador recognize that the essential rights of an individual are not derived from one’s being a national of a certain state, but are based upon attributes of the human person;
RECALLING ALSO that, in Article 19 of the Protocol of San Salvador, the states parties undertake to submit, pursuant to the provisions of that article and the corresponding rules to be formulated for that purpose by the General Assembly, periodic reports on the progressive measures they have taken to ensure due respect for the rights set forth in said Protocol;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that resolution AG/RES. 2074 (XXXV-O/05) adopted the “Standards for the Preparation of Periodic Reports pursuant to Article 19 of the Protocol of San Salvador,” that resolution AG/RES. 2178 (XXXVI-O/06) instructed the Permanent Council to make proposals as soon as possible, through the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, on the composition and functioning of the working group established to examine the national reports in accordance with the Standards, and that resolution AG/RES. 2262 (XXXVII-O/07) approved the composition and functioning of the Working Group to examine the national reports;
TAKING NOTE of the preliminary document entitled “Guidelines for Preparation of Progress Indicators in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” (CP/doc.4250/07), presented to the Permanent Council by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in November 2007, in accordance with the mandate issued in resolution AG/RES. 2262 (XXXVII-O/07);
BEARING IN MIND the progress report presented by the IACHR in April 2008 and the Commission’s stated intention to adopt a proposal on progress indicators at its regular session in July 2008; and
RECOGNIZING that the Plan of Action of the Fourth Summit of the Americas, held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in November 2005, urged the member states to consider signing and ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be, the Protocol of San Salvador, and to collaborate in the development of progress indicators in the area of economic, social, and cultural rights,
RESOLVES:
1. To reiterate the request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue its work aimed at proposing to the Permanent Council, no later than August 2008, the progress indicators to be used for each group of protected rights on which information is to be provided, taking into account, inter alia, the contributions of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and of the member states. The Permanent Council will consider and possibly adopt those progress indicators during the second half of 2008.
2. To reiterate the importance of constituting as soon as possible the Working Group to examine the national reports, which is to begin its work with the consideration and adoption of its rules of procedure.
3. To delegate to the Permanent Council the election of the government experts to make up the aforementioned Working Group and to authorize the Secretary General to appoint the independent expert and his or her alternate at the same time.
4. To reiterate that the time periods envisaged in resolution AG/RES. 2074 (XXXV-O/05) for submission of the national progress reports to be presented by the states parties to the Protocol of San Salvador will not begin to run until the progress indicators have been approved.
5. To create a specific fund for voluntary contributions managed by the General Secretariat called the “Specific Fund for the Working Group to Examine the Periodic Reports of the States Parties to the Protocol of San Salvador,” in order to supplement financing for the activities of the Working Group and its Technical Secretariat and in accordance with Article 74 of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat.
6. 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.”
7. 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. 2431 (XXXVIII-O/08)
PREVENTING CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN THE AMERICAS
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


RECOGNIZING WITH CONCERN the negative impact of crime and violence on the quality of life in our member states;
NOTING that the World Health Organization’s World Report on Violence8/ and Health (2002), while recognizing that the multifaceted nature of violence requires the engagement of government and stakeholders at all levels of decision making–local, national and international–has additionally outlined concrete recommendations which reflect the need for multisectoral and collaborative approaches in countering societal violence;
RECALLING that the Joint Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank, Report No. 37820 (2007), addresses crime and violence as a development issue, implicates narcotics trafficking as a strong determinant of crime and violence, advocates the public health approach in conjunction with citizen security approaches to its solution, and, while recognizing the necessity for a criminal justice-focused approach in particular circumstances, cautions against an overreliance on this latter approach;
BEARING IN MIND the Ministerial Declaration on Violence and Injury Prevention in the Americas, adopted in Mérida, Mexico, on March 14, 2008, in which the ministers of health of the Americas committed to increase efforts to prevent violence and injuries through actions for the promotion of health within a broad perspective of safe, healthy, and sustainable environments, and to develop, implement, and evaluate national plans for violence and injury prevention in each country;
UNDERSTANDING that the public health approach does not replace criminal justice and human rights responses to violence but rather complements their activities and offers them additional tools and sources of collaboration;
AWARE that crime and violence in our Hemisphere has direct and indirect implications for the social, economic, and political development of our states;
RECOGNIZING that crime is manifested in numerous and diverse forms, including through trafficking in drugs, persons, and firearms, money laundering, corruption, kidnapping, robbery, and larceny;
RECOGNIZING ALSO that violence may manifest itself at different levels, including individual, relationship, and community;
AFFIRMING that violence limits the enjoyment and exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
RECOGNIZING that preventing violence and combating crime in the Americas must be accomplished with full respect for, and protection of, human rights;
BEARING IN MIND the need to strengthen cooperation and support for countries of the region that request them in order to combat crime and violence by adopting strategies that emphasize the role of prevention at its various levels and by effectively enforcing their laws; and
RECOGNIZING that the Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence (IACPV), whose Pro Tempore Secretariat currently falls to the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), was established to act as a catalyst for the prevention and reduction of the high levels of violence in the Americas,
RESOLVES:


  1. To request the General Secretariat to deepen and widen its collaboration on violence prevention initiatives with international organizations, and to collect, examine, and distribute information to member states on crime and violence prevention initiatives.




  1. To request the General Secretariat to promote the important role of prevention measures to accompany more traditional law enforcement efforts when considering the expansion of its programs to provide, when member states so request, technical and legal assistance in sensitizing and training government authorities in innovative methods, within the rule of law, for preventing and combating crime and violence in all their manifestations.




  1. To instruct the General Secretariat to support initiatives by member states in actions aimed at preventing and comprehensively addressing the phenomenon of violence in its diverse forms and specific manifestations, and to keep the Committee on Hemispheric Security (CSH) informed of all such ongoing and planned initiatives.




  1. To request the CSH to hold, in the first quarter of 2009, a meeting, that includes the participation of experts appointed by the member states, on matters relating to the prevention of crime and violence.




  1. To request the Permanent Council and the General Secretariat to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth and fortieth regular sessions 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. 2432 (XXXVIII-O/08)
PREVENTION AND Eradication of commercial sexual exploitation AND smuggling of and trafficking iN MINORS
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


CONSIDERING that, in the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), the member states reaffirm that the education of peoples should be directed toward justice, freedom, and peace, and encourages the strengthening of the civic conscience of the American peoples, as one of the bases for the effective exercise of democracy and for the observance of the rights and duties of persons;
UNDERSCORING:
The importance that all children of school age have access to education, and the importance of programs that foster retention of the student population in the school system and prevent their dropping out;
That resolution AG/RES. 2240 (XXXVI-O/06) specifically includes the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) in the request that work be continued in coordination with other organs and agencies of the OAS on this subject and on the draft on the smuggling of and trafficking in women and children for purposes of sexual exploitation in the Americas, and requests its cooperation in the preparation of studies;
That the aforementioned resolution takes into account the Conclusions and Recommendations of the First Meeting of National Authorities on Trafficking in Persons, held on Isla Margarita, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, from March 14 to 17, 2006, which recall “the governments’ commitment to improve their capacity to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, and to provide due assistance and protection to the victims”; and
Resolution AG/RES. 2348 (XXXVII-O/07), “Hemispheric Cooperation Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Second Meeting of National Authorities on Trafficking in Persons,” which stated that “poverty, inequity, and social exclusion in the Hemisphere are factors that make people, especially women and children, more vulnerable to becoming victims of traffickers, who often belong to organized criminal groups operating at both domestic and transnational levels”;
BEARING IN MIND that the Directing Council of the (IIN) adopted the Strategic Plan 2005-2008 and the new Action Plan 2007-2011, which refocus the work of the Institute to meet current challenges facing society;
RECALLING:
The resolutions adopted by the Directing Council of the IIN on the prevention and eradication of child commercial sexual exploitation and the smuggling of and trafficking in minors, the most recent of which was resolution CD/RES. 10 (82-R/07), adopted at the 82nd Regular Meeting, held on July 26 and 27, 2007, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia; and
That said resolution established the “Inter-American Program for the Prevention and Eradication of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Smuggling of and Trafficking in Children,” entrusted the Director General of the IIN with developing a joint work proposal within the framework of that initiative, and supported the creation of an observatory on this matter; and
RECOGNIZING:
The progress already made in the IIN in fulfillment of its own mandates in the framework of implementation of the Action Plan 2007-2011, which has been reported in the Institute’s annual reports to the General Assembly and to the Permanent Council; and
That the OAS General Secretariat has been implementing programs to combat trafficking in persons for several years and has staff dedicated to this endeavor,
RESOLVES:


  1. To note with satisfaction the decision of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) to instruct the Director General of the Institute to develop an “Inter-American Program for the Prevention and Eradication of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Smuggling of and Trafficking in Children.”




  1. To entrust the Secretary General with coordinating the development of this program directly with the IIN, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Section of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security, and, where appropriate, the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI), and additionally with receiving support and advice from other competent organs and agencies of the Organization of American States (OAS).




  1. To request the IIN to provide advice to the member states, upon request, in their efforts to adopt or amend domestic legislation, regulations, and procedures to combat commercial sexual exploitation and smuggling of and trafficking in minors, including legislation dealing with travel authorizations and migration control.




  1. To recommend the establishment of a Specific Fund to finance the “Observatory on Prevention and Eradication of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Smuggling of and Trafficking in Minors.”




  1. To invite member states, permanent observers, international financial institutions, regional and subregional organizations, and civil society organizations to contribute to financing this program.




  1. To urge member states to consider signing and ratifying, ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be, the international instruments relating to the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of minors and against the smuggling of and trafficking in minors in the Hemisphere, among them the Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted in 1989); the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (adopted in 2000); the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (adopted in 2000), the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (adopted in 1980); the Inter-American Convention on International Traffic in Minors (adopted in 1994); and the Inter-American Convention on the International Return of Children (adopted in 1989); and to urge states parties to take the necessary measures to guarantee the rights contained in those instruments.




  1. To request the IIN 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. 2433 (XXXVIII-O/08)


PROMOTION OF AND RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


RECALLING resolutions AG/RES. 1270 (XXIV-O/94), AG/RES. 1335 (XXV-O/95), 1408 (XXVI-O/96), AG/RES. 1503 (XXVII-O/97), AG/RES. 1565 (XXVIII-O/98), AG/RES. 1619 (XXIX-O/99), AG/RES. 1706 (XXX-O/00), AG/RES. 1709 (XXX-O/00), AG/RES. 1770 (XXXI-O/01), AG/RES. 1771 (XXXI-O/01), AG/RES. 1904 (XXXII-O/02), AG/RES. 1944 (XXXIII-O/03), AG/RES. 2052 (XXXIV-O/04), AG/RES. 2127 (XXXV-O/05), AG/RES. 2226 (XXXVI-O/06), AG/RES. 2231 (XXXVI-O/06), and AG/RES. 2293 (XXXVII-O/07);
RECALLING ALSO that, under the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) and pursuant to all applicable provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law within their respective spheres of application, human rights and fundamental freedoms must always be respected, including in situations of armed conflict;
DEEPLY CONCERNED about the persisting violations of international humanitarian law that continue to cause suffering to all victims of armed conflict;
ACKNOWLEDGING the Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations General Assembly pursuant to the mandate in United Nations General Assembly resolution 61/89, of December 6, 2006, entitled “Towards an arms trade treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms,” and the work done by the group of governmental experts, within that framework and pursuant to the mandate in the same resolution, to seek the views of member states on the feasibility, scope, and parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding draft instrument on trade in conventional weapons;
RECALLING that it is the obligation of all member states, in all circumstances, to respect and ensure respect for the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and that the principles set forth therein are also binding on all parties to an armed conflict;
CONSIDERING that international humanitarian law contains provisions that reflect customary international law which states must observe;
EMPHASIZING that in cases of serious violations of international humanitarian law constituting crimes under international law, states have the duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, the duty to submit to prosecution the person allegedly responsible for the violations and, if said person is found guilty, the duty to punish him or her, in order to prevent impunity and future violations;
EMPHASIZING ALSO the obligation of states to take all necessary measures, including, when applicable, penal sanctions, for the suppression of other breaches;
UNDERSCORING the need to strengthen the rules of international humanitarian law by means of their universal acceptance, their broader dissemination, and the adoption of national measures for their effective application;
NOTING WITH SATISFACTION the universal adoption of the four 1949 Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of war, to which 194 states are parties to date;
RECALLING that 33 and 32 OAS member states, respectively, are parties to Additional Protocols I and II thereto, of 1977;
URGING member states to become parties to Additional Protocol III to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which was adopted in 2005 and has been in force since 2007, regarding the adoption of the Red Crystal as an additional distinctive emblem to the Red Cross and Red Crescent, taking into account that several states in the region have already done so;
RECALLING that 11 member states have issued the declaration envisioned in Article 90 of Additional Protocol I, of 1977, on recognition of the competence of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission;
AWARE of the Hemisphere’s rich cultural heritage, which contains cultural assets recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as world heritage, and which could benefit from the systems for the promotion and protection of international humanitarian law;
RECALLING that the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted on December 20, 2006, by the General Assembly of the United Nations, requires 20 ratifications to enter into force;
NOTING all of the international efforts under way to promote international instruments, including the possibility of their being legally binding, on the development, use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions;
RECALLING the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention), on December 3 and 4, 1997;
RECOGNIZING the important advisory work of the national committees or commissions on international humanitarian law in support of the efforts of states in the area of promotion of and respect for that law through the adoption of national enacting measures, and that 17 member states of the Organization have such organizations;
NOTING the final declaration and the six resolutions adopted by the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, entitled “Together for Humanity,” held from November 26 to 30, 2007; and the commitments made by the states of the Americas participating in the Conference;
NOTING ALSO the results achieved at the following meetings in which representatives of member states and OAS officials took part:

  1. The meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts of the High Contracting Parties to the 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 (CCW) of 1980, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from January 14 to 18, 2008, and from April 7 to 11, 2008;




  1. The various conferences on cluster munitions, held in Lima, Peru, from May 23 to 25, 2007; in Vienna, Austria, from December 5 to 7, 2007; and in Wellington, New Zealand, from February 18 to 22, 2008; and the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Convention on Cluster Munitions, held in Dublin, Ireland, from May 19 to 30, 2008, following up on the process that began with the Oslo (Norway) Conference on Cluster Munitions, on February 22 and 23, 2007;




  1. The Regional Seminar for Latin America and the Caribbean on Ensuring the Universality of the 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 (CCW) of 1980, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on March 11 and 12, 2008;




  1. The First Latin American Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions, held in San José, Costa Rica, on September 4 and 5, 2007, and the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions, held in Mexico City on April 16 and 17, 2008;




  1. The Regional Meeting of Governmental Experts on the Application of International Humanitarian Law in the Americas, held in Mexico City on August 6 and 7, 2007; and




  1. The meeting of legislators of the Central American region, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic on the incorporation of war crimes into international criminal law in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Additional Protocols of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, held in San José, Costa Rica, on June 7 and 8, 2007;

WELCOMING the regional presentation of the International Committee of the Red Cross Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law, which took place on Bogotá, Colombia, in March 2008; and


EMPHASIZING the special role of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a neutral, impartial, and independent institution working to protect and assist the victims of armed conflicts and other situations of armed violence, as well as to promote respect for international humanitarian law and the principles underlying it,
RESOLVES:
1. To urge member states and the parties engaged in armed conflict to honor their obligations under international humanitarian law, including those pertaining to safeguarding the well-being and dignity of protected persons and property, and the proper treatment of prisoners of war.

2. To urge those member states that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties to the following treaties, among others:




  1. The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in Time of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention, 1954), and its 1954 and 1999 Protocols;




  1. The 1968 Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity;




  1. The 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention);




  1. The 1977 Protocols I and II Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as Additional Protocol III, of 2005, including the declaration contained in Article 90 of Additional Protocol I;




  1. The 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 (CCW) of 1980, including the amendment to Article 1 thereof, adopted in 2001, and the five protocols thereto;




  1. The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 2000 Optional Protocol thereto on the involvement of children in armed conflict;




  1. The 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention);




  1. The 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction;




  1. The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;




  1. The 1997 Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA);




  1. The 1999 Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions; and




  1. The 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.

3. To invite member states to bring about the widest possible dissemination of the rules of international humanitarian law, in particular by incorporating them into military doctrine and manuals, so that armed forces will have the means and mechanisms necessary for their effective application, and by making use of the pertinent media so that such law may be familiar to the civilian population.


4. To urge member states to adapt their criminal law in order to meet their legal obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and, in the case of the states parties thereto, the 1977 Additional Protocol I thereto with respect to the definition of war crimes, the universal jurisdiction for these grave breaches, and the responsibility of superiors for the acts of their subordinates.
5. Also to urge member states that have not yet done so to adopt, in accordance with their internal law and pursuant to international law, legislative or other measures necessary to establish non-applicability of statutory limitations to the most serious violations of international humanitarian law constituting crimes under international law.
6. To invite member states that are parties to the Rome Statute to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court and to define under their criminal law the crimes that are within its jurisdiction.
7. To call upon member states to enact laws to regulate the use of and to prevent and, when applicable, punish the misuse of the red cross, red crescent, and, where applicable, red crystal emblems, as well as their denominations, as established in relevant treaties.
8. To urge member states, in keeping with their obligations under international law, to adopt effective measures to prevent the disappearance of persons in cases of armed conflict or other situations of armed violence, to determine the fate of those who have disappeared, and to attend to the needs of their family members.
9. To encourage member states to ensure the adoption of the necessary measures and mechanisms to protect cultural property from the effects of armed conflict, in accordance with their international obligations, and in particular to give consideration to the adoption of preventive measures related to the preparation of inventories, the planning of emergency measures, the appointment of competent authorities, and the enactment of laws to ensure respect for such property.
10. To remind those member states that are parties to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction of their obligation to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited therein when it is carried out by persons or in territory under their jurisdiction or control and of the importance of addressing the needs of victims of antipersonnel mines and, where appropriate, victims of explosive remnants of war, considering, as part of those needs, medical care, rehabilitation, and economic and social reintegration of the victims.
11. To urge member states to adopt legislative and other measures, including criminal legislation, to strengthen national institutions and coordination among national institutions, and regional and subregional cooperation, for implementation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, inter alia by adopting or developing codes of conduct and of professional ethics for the scientific and industrial community, with the aim of preventing misuse in the context of advances in bioscience and biotechnology research, and considering national, regional, and international measures to improve biosafety and biosecurity, including laboratory safety and the security of pathogens and toxins.

12. To call upon member states to adopt all necessary measures to comply with their respective international legal obligations regarding the recruitment and use of children in armed forces or armed groups and to prevent their participation in hostilities, in accordance with recognized standards of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international refugee law.


13. To invite member states to step up their efforts to strengthen safeguards for civilians against the use and indiscriminate effects of arms and munitions in general, especially through the enactment of laws aimed at strengthening control over the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms and other related materials.
14. To invite member states to consider becoming parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted at the Dublin Conference on May 30, 2008, which will be open for signature in Oslo beginning in December 2008, and to continue participating in other processes relating to the development, use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of cluster munitions, and to assistance to victims and the removal of such munitions to lessen their impact on civilian populations.9/
15. To encourage member states to establish procedures for determining, when studying, developing, acquiring, or adopting a new weapon or new means or methods of warfare, whether using, manufacturing, stockpiling, exporting, or transferring them would be contrary to international humanitarian law, and, in that event, to prohibit their use by the armed forces and their manufacture for such purposes. Additionally, in such cases account will be taken of the international obligations assumed, as indicated in operative paragraph 11.
16. To encourage interested member states to continue to support the work of the Group of Governmental Experts established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 61/89, of December 6, 2006, so that it may continue to advance the study and negotiation of a comprehensive, binding draft instrument for the establishment of common international standards for the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms, and to gauge the interest of member states in such an instrument.
17. To invite member states to continue to support the work of national committees or commissions responsible for the dissemination and implementation of international humanitarian law; and to urge states where such bodies do not exist to consider establishing them, as a means of strengthening conflict prevention and the role those bodies play in times of peace.
18. To request the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI) to continue preparing and to propose model laws to support the efforts made to fulfill obligations under international humanitarian law treaties, on the basis of priority topics determined in consultation with the member states and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); to that end, member states are urged to forward to the CJI as soon as possible a list of such priority topics, to enable the Committee to carry out that mandate.
19. To express its satisfaction over the cooperation between the Organization of American States (OAS) and the ICRC in promoting respect for international humanitarian law and the principles that govern that law; and to urge the General Secretariat to continue to strengthen such cooperation.
20. To request the General Secretariat to continue organizing, within the framework of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, through the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs, and in coordination with the ICRC, courses and seminars for staff of the permanent missions of the OAS member states and for General Secretariat staff and the general public, in order to promote knowledge of and respect for international humanitarian law and related inter-American conventions, including measures for their effective implementation.
21. To instruct the Permanent Council to hold a special meeting with a high-level dialogue component, with support from the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs and in cooperation with the ICRC, on topics of current interest in international humanitarian law, prior to the thirty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly.
22. To invite member states to continue, within the high-level dialogue of the special meeting and in pertinent forums, the discussion of topics of interest, such as the humanitarian consequences of cluster munitions, the participation of private sector security firms in armed conflicts, improvement of national committees on international humanitarian law, and other topics.
23. 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. 2434 (XXXVIII-O/08)
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION
AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MEDIA
(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);
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolutions AG/RES. 2237 (XXXVI-O/06) and AG/RES. 2287 (XXXVII-O/07), “Right to Freedom of Thought and Expression and the Importance of the Media”;
UNDERSCORING the Declaration of Santo Domingo: Good Governance and Development in the Knowledge-Based Society [AG/DEC. 46 (XXXVI-O/06)], adopted on June 6, 2006;
RECALLING that the right to freedom of thought and expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, is recognized in Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, the Inter-American Democratic Charter (including Article 4), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international instruments and national constitutions, as well as in United Nations General Assembly resolution 59 (I) and resolution 104 of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
RECALLING ALSO that Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man states that “[e]very person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever”;
RECALLING FURTHER that Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights states that:


  1. Everyone 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.




  1. The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing paragraph shall not be subject to prior censorship but shall be subject to subsequent imposition of liability, which shall be expressly established by law to the extent necessary to ensure:




  1. Respect for the rights or reputations of others; or




  1. The protection of national security, public order, or public health or morals.




  1. The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or means, such as the abuse of government or private controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the dissemination of information, or by any other means tending to impede the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions.




  1. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2 above, public entertainments may be subject by law to prior censorship for the sole purpose of regulating access to them for the moral protection of childhood and adolescence.




  1. Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements to lawless violence or to any other similar action against any person or group of persons on any grounds including those of race, color, religion, language, or national origin shall be considered as offenses punishable by law;

BEARING IN MIND principles 10 and 11 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), of 2000, which refer to the decriminalization of “desacato” (offensive expressions directed at public officials);


RECALLING the relevant volumes of the annual reports of the IACHR for 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 on freedom of expression, as well as the comments by member states during meetings at which said reports were presented;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolutions 2004/42 and 2005/38, “The Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression,” of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; and
RECALLING the significance of the studies and contributions approved by UNESCO regarding the contribution of the media to strengthening peace, tolerance, and international understanding, to the promotion of human rights, and to countering racism and incitement to war,
RESOLVES:


        1. To reaffirm the right to freedom of thought and expression and to call upon member states to respect and ensure respect for this right, in accordance with the international human rights instruments to which they are party, such as the American Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, inter alia.




        1. To reaffirm that freedom of expression and dissemination of ideas are fundamental for the exercise of democracy.




        1. To urge member states to safeguard, within the framework of the international instruments to which they are party, respect for freedom of expression in the media, including radio and television, and, in particular, respect for the editorial independence and freedom of the media.




        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 American Convention on Human Rights.




        1. To reaffirm that free and independent media are fundamental for democracy, for the promotion of pluralism, tolerance, and freedom of thought and expression, and for the facilitation of dialogue and debate, free and open to all segments of society, without discrimination of any kind.




        1. To urge member states to promote a pluralistic approach to information and multiple points of view by fostering full exercise of freedom of thought and expression, access to the media, and diversity in the ownership of media outlets and sources of information, through, inter alia, transparent licensing systems and, as appropriate, effective regulations to prevent the undue concentration of media ownership.




        1. To urge member states to consider the importance of including, in their domestic legal systems, rules about the establishment of alternative or community media and safeguards to ensure that they are able to operate independently, so as to broaden the dissemination of information and opinions, thereby strengthening freedom of expression.




        1. To call upon member states to adopt all necessary measures to prevent violations of the right to freedom of thought and expression and to create the necessary conditions for that purpose, including ensuring that relevant national legislation complies with their international human rights obligations and is effectively implemented.




        1. To urge member states to review their procedures, practices, and legislation, as necessary, to ensure that any limitations on the right to freedom of opinion and expression are only such as are provided by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others or for the protection of national security, public order (ordre public), or public health or morals.




        1. To recognize the valuable contribution of information and communication technologies, such as the Internet, to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and to the ability of persons to seek, receive, and impart information, as well the contributions they can make to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related and contemporary forms of intolerance, and to the prevention of human rights abuses.




        1. To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) once again to follow up on and deepen its study of the issues addressed in the relevant volumes of its 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 annual reports on freedom of expression, on the basis, inter alia, of the inputs on the subject that it receives from member states.




        1. To invite member states to consider the recommendations concerning defamation made by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR, namely by repealing or amending laws that criminalize desacato, defamation, slander, and libel, and, in this regard, to regulate these conducts exclusively in the area of civil law.




        1. To reiterate to the Permanent Council that, through its Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, it is to hold a special two-day meeting to delve further into the existing international jurisprudence on the subject covered in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and include the following items on the agenda of that meeting:




  1. Public demonstrations as exercise of the right to freedom of expression; and




  1. The subject of Article 11 of the American Convention on Human Rights.

Invitees to the aforementioned meeting will include members of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, including the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, and experts from the member states, all for the purpose of sharing their experiences with these issues.




        1. To take into consideration the findings of, and views expressed at, the Special Meeting on Freedom of Thought and Expression, held on February 28 and 29, 2008, in the framework of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs; and to request the Special Rapporteur of the IACHR to report on the conclusions and recommendations issued by the experts at that special meeting, in order to follow up on the matter.




        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. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08)


HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AND GENDER IDENTITY
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


REAFFIRMING:
That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status; and
That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person;
CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) proclaims that the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations;
REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of human rights; and
NOTING WITH CONCERN acts of violence and related human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,
RESOLVES:
1. To express concern about acts of violence and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
2. To instruct the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) to include on its agenda, before the thirty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly, the topic of “Human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
3. 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. 2436 (XXXVIII-O/08)
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