General assembly thirty-eighth regular session




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OEA/Ser.P/XXXVIII-O.2 PROCEEDINGS VOLUME I AG/DEC. 57 - 59 (XXXVIII-O/08) AG/RES. 2354 - 2437 (XXXVIII-O/08) AG


    1. The United States does not support this resolution. The United States does not support the CTBT and does not intend to become a party to it. The United States will continue to work, as appropriate, with working groups of the CTBTO PrepCom and with its Provisional Technical Secretariat on the International Monitoring Systems (IMS) and IMS-related activities. The United States continues to observe its nuclear testing moratorium and has no plans to conduct a nuclear explosive test.

    1. For the purposes of this Program, citizen participation shall include all social sectors.

    2. Reservation by the United States: The United States has long been concerned about the persistent violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law throughout the world. The United States will continue to be a forceful advocate for the principle of accountability for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, but cannot support the flawed International Criminal Court (ICC). Thus, the United States has not ratified the Rome Statute and has no intention of doing so. In light of this position, the United States cannot join in the consensus on an OAS resolution that promotes the Court, nor support the use of the OAS regular budget to fund cooperation and any other support rendered to the ICC, including under any OAS-ICC cooperation agreement. The United States understands that any such support will result only from specific fund contributions.

    3. The delegation of Colombia wishes to make the following declaration on operative paragraph 2 of the resolution “Hemispheric Plan of Action against Transnational Organized Crime and Strengthening of Hemispheric Cooperation.”

    Colombia has ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Additional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and is fully committed to their application.

    However, Colombia has stated that it will not ratify the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, or the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

    Colombia does not agree with the text of Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, concerning its scope of application. Colombia would have preferred that the Protocol apply to all transfers of firearms, their parts and components, and ammunition, in order to make a real contribution to preventing and combating illicit trafficking therein, and in order that transfers between states, like all other transfers, be subject to the control mechanisms set out in the Protocol.

    The definition of “illicit trafficking” contained in Article 3, section (e), of the Protocol must be borne in mind: it states that, for a transfer to be licit, the authorization of all states parties involved in it is required. An escape clause, such as that appearing in Article 4, runs counter to that definition inasmuch as it implies that a state may transfer arms without the authorization or consent of one of the other states concerned. This would not only make such a transfer illicit but also open up the possibility for arms to be transferred to non-state actors.

    Colombia, a country that has been seriously affected by the illicit trafficking in arms, cannot accept that certain arms transfers, such as transfers to non-state actors–which in our view constitute a grave crime–and transfers between states be excluded from the Protocol’s control measures, and therefore, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, took the sovereign decision not to ratify this Protocol.

    With reference to the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, Colombia has stated that it will not ratify this instrument inasmuch as it considers that it contains provisions designed to legitimize the forced repatriation of migrants who have not necessarily been smuggled. That approach was promoted during the negotiation of the Protocol by the destination countries, none of which has ratified the 1990 United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

    Colombia believes that the clause contained in Article 6, paragraph 4, could lead to the criminalization of migrants, whereas the purpose of the Protocol is to pursue criminal groups, not migrants.

    Pursuant to the above, and in compliance with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Colombia took the sovereign decision not to ratify the Protocol.


    4. The Republic of Nicaragua does not support this paragraph for the reasons given in the footnote to the resolution “Support for the Activities of the Inter-American Defense Board,” which reads: “The Republic of Nicaragua would not agree to intervention by the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) in activities that might entail an encroachment on, or damage to, the country’s sovereignty, independence, institutions, and legal system. Otherwise, it would not support this resolution or other resolutions with similar content.

    5. The “conversion of the Americas into an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone” is incompatible with current United States landmine policy, which clearly states that we will not become a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention). The United States remains committed to humanitarian mine action and to cooperating in practical steps to end the harmful legacy of landmines. The United States will continue to support OAS efforts to eliminate the humanitarian threat of all persistent landmines and declare countries “mine-impact-free.”

    The United States also regrets that this resolution does not by name condemn the use of landmines in Colombia by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in a manner similar to the OAS Permanent Council resolution 837 “Condemnation of Terrorist Acts in Colombia” adopted on February 12, 2003. The United States on August 14, 2007 condemned the continued and growing use of landmines and other explosive devices by the FARC after the UN, credible nongovernmental organizations, and the press highlighted the FARC as the “largest non-state armed group and most prolific user of mines.”



    6. The Republic of Nicaragua would not agree to intervention by the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) in activities that might entail an encroachment on, or damage to, the country’s sovereignty, independence, institutions, and legal system. Otherwise, it would not support this resolution or other resolutions with similar content.

    7. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reaffirms the statement made in the footnote to resolution AG/RES. 2288 (XXXVII-O/07) as we consider that access to public information held by the state should be fully consistent with Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, which establishes 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.” Venezuela maintains that a democratic system for access to public information should allow all citizens, without exception, to seek, receive, and impart information. A citizen seeking information is consciously and fully exercising the right to access to information, and the state must promote the adoption of legal provisions guaranteeing the exercise thereof. Likewise, on the basis of the principle of equality before the law, the state must guarantee the same right to the poor, the underprivileged, and the socially disadvantaged. Accordingly, it is necessary “[t]o instruct the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to conduct a study on how the state can guarantee all citizens the right to receive public information, on the basis of the principle of the transparency of information, when it is disseminated through the mass media, in the full exercise of the right to freedom of expression and as an effective means of participation.” Along those lines, we underscore the important conclusions and reflections of the special meeting on the right to public information, held on April 28, 2006, within the framework of the OAS, in which it was recognized that the media were responsible for ensuring that citizens receive, without distortions of any type, information provided by the state. Venezuela regrets that a response to the message of the poor has once again been postponed. We share the view of those who claim that refusing to grant the poor and the disadvantaged access to information condemns them to continued social and economic ostracism. Venezuela therefore once again urges the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to take the initiative and, under the powers granted to it in the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, to conduct the aforementioned study and report on the results thereof to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States at its next regular session.

    8. The World Health Organization defines violence as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.

9. The delegation of Brazil supports all initiatives aimed at strengthening already existing provisions in international humanitarian law that regulate the use of arms and the distinction between military and civilian targets. As regards cluster munitions, Brazil favors discussion of the topic within the framework 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).
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