AG/RES. 1644 (XXIX-O/99)
7 June 1999
THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE AS AN
(Adopted at the first plenary session, held on June 7, 1999,
and pending review by the Style Committee)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
HAVING SEEN the Annual Report of the Permanent Council (AG/doc.3830/99) and, in particular, the section dealing with the Report of the Committee on Hemispheric Security (CP/CSH-214/99), which includes the subject of "the Western Hemisphere as an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone";
Its resolutions "The Western Hemisphere as an Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone" [AG/RES. 1411 (XXVI-O/96), AG/RES. 1496 (XXVII-O/97), and AG/RES. 1569 (XXVIII-O/98)], which reaffirmed the goals of the global elimination of antipersonnel land mines and the conversion of the Western Hemisphere into an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone; and
Its resolutions AG/RES. 1299 (XXIV-O/94), AG/RES. 1335 (XXV-O/95), and AG/RES. 1343 (XXV-O/95), also on antipersonnel land mines;
WELCOMING the unwavering support of the international community and, in particular, the active participation of member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the campaign to rid the world of antipersonnel land mines;
REAFFIRMING that the right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited;
BEARING IN MIND the agreement made by the heads of state and government at the Second Summit of the Americas, set out in the Plan of Action as follows: "to take action and support international humanitarian demining efforts in this area, with the goal of ensuring that priority is given to mines that threaten civilians and of ensuring that land can be restored for productive purposes. The latter will take place through effective regional and international cooperation and coordination, as requested by the affected States, to survey, mark, map, and remove mines; effective mine awareness for the civilian population and assistance to victims; and development and deployment of new mine detection and clearance technologies as appropriate";
That the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (the Ottawa Convention), which came into effect on March 1, 1999, furthers the aim of making the Western Hemisphere an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone;
That of the 135 states that had signed the Ottawa Convention upon its entry into force, 33 are member states of the Organization; and
That, at present, 81 countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention, and 24 of them are member states of the Organization;
The importance of reaffirming the commitment of the OAS member states to the full and effective universalization and implementation of the goals of the Ottawa Convention, including advancing the implementation of the program for mine action related to that Convention, in order to rid the world of the indiscriminate and harmful effects of antipersonnel mines; and
The contribution to global and hemispheric security of various bans, moratoria, and other restrictions on antipersonnel land mines, including the unilateral destruction of stockpiles, already adopted by some member states;
That in the Ottawa Convention "each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances: a) to use anti-personnel mines; b) to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, antipersonnel mines; c) to assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under the Convention"; and undertakes "to destroy or ensure the destruction of all anti-personnel mines in accordance with the provisions of this Convention";
That the importance of making progress on the antipersonnel-land-mines issue was emphasized at the Second Summit of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile, in April 1998; and the appeal to this end made by the San Salvador Regional Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in follow-up to the Santiago Conference, held in San Salvador in February 1998; and
The contribution made in this field by the Regional Seminar on Antipersonnel Landmines: "Reaffirming our Commitment," held in Mexico City in January 1999;
RECOGNIZING the importance of OAS activities in support of mine-clearing, as well as the cooperation efforts of a humanitarian nature to provide assistance to victims of these weapons, so that affected states may be freed from this scourge on an urgent basis, which will contribute to making the Western Hemisphere an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone;
EMPHASIZING the Peace Zone Political Declaration, signed by the MERCOSUR countries and the Republics of Bolivia and Chile, and issued in Ushuaia, Argentina, on July 24, 1998, which sets forth the decision to work toward establishing that subregion as an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone and extending that status to the Western Hemisphere as a whole;
ACKNOWLEDGING the progress made towards making the Western Hemisphere an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone by the following actions:
a. the mine action programs in Central America; continuing support by the OAS, its member states, and other states for the Mine-Clearing Program in Central America; and cooperation agreements such as the one signed in January 1999 by Canada, Mexico, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO);
b. the destruction by the Government of Nicaragua on April 12, 1999, of 5,000 stockpiled antipersonnel mines, in compliance with the applicable provisions of the Ottawa Convention;
c. the mine-clearing operations, connected with border demarcation, carried out by Ecuador and Peru as a result of the Brasilia accords signed in 1998, mainly with national resources and capabilities;
d. the support given by Canada, Japan, Spain, and the United States to Ecuador and Peru in their mine-clearing activities; and the recent establishment--within the OAS framework, under the auspices of Canada, and with support from the General Secretariat--of a specific fund, administered by the UPD, to support the mine-clearing associated with demarcation of the border between Ecuador and Peru;
e. the commitment by the United States to clear all of its land mines around Guantanamo Base in Cuba by the end of 1999;
f. the increased funding for mine action by member states that are able to provide support; and
g. the concerted efforts of the United States, through the Demining 2010 Initiative, to increase international coordination with a view to accelerating mine-clearing and thereby eliminating the threat of land mines to civilians;
RECOGNIZING the important work of the Landmine Monitor of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL Monitor); and
RECALLING the request that member states submit information on an annual basis for the OAS Register of Antipersonnel Land Mines, established by Permanent Council resolution CP/RES. 724 (1162/98), in compliance with resolution AG/RES. 1496 (XXVII-O/97),
1. To reaffirm the goals of the global elimination of antipersonnel land mines and the conversion of the Western Hemisphere into an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone.
2. To urge that member states that have not yet done so (a) consider ratifying or acceding to the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction as soon as possible, in order to ensure its full and effective universalization and implementation; and (b) report to the General Secretariat on the evolution of their country's position with respect to the Convention.
3. Once again to call upon member states that have not yet done so to declare and implement moratoria on the production, use, and transfer of all antipersonnel land mines in the Western Hemisphere at the earliest possible date and to inform the Secretary General when they have done so.
4. Once again to urge member states that have not yet done so to become parties to the 1980 United Nations 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 and its four protocols, as soon as possible; and to request member states to inform the Secretary General when they have done so.
5. Once again to urge member states, as they work towards the goal adopted in resolution AG/RES. 1411 (XXVI-O/96), to continue to implement measures aimed at halting the proliferation of antipersonnel land mines, at the destruction of stockpiles, and at the declaration of moratoria on production and transfers at the earliest possible date; and to encourage member states to adopt domestic legislation, as necessary, to prohibit the private possession and transfer of antipersonnel land mines and inform the Secretary General when they have done so.
6. Once again to urge member states to continue an effective educational campaign creating awareness in the civilian population of the danger posed by antipersonnel landmines.
7. To reiterate the importance of participation by all member states in the OAS Register of Antipersonnel Land Mines by April 15 of each year, in keeping with AG/RES. 1496 (XXVI-O/96), and to commend member states that have regularly submitted their reports to that end.
8. To encourage member states, as appropriate, either to request or to provide assistance with the aim of furthering both the Mine Action Agenda and the OAS goal of the Western Hemisphere as an Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone.
9. To request that the General Secretariat inform the UN about the progress made by the OAS mine-clearing programs in the Hemisphere and coordinate with the United Nations (UN) to prevent the duplication of efforts, thereby making optimal use of the resources available to the international community.
10. To reconfirm its commitment to mine-clearing in Central America; and to request that the Permanent Council, through its Committee on Hemispheric Security and with support from the General Secretariat, consider ways of redoubling OAS humanitarian mine-clearing efforts in Central America, particularly in view of the devastating impact of Hurricane Mitch.
11. To request that the Secretary General continue to consider the possibility of developing new demining programs in the Americas to assist affected member states, upon their request, in fulfilling their commitment to convert the Western Hemisphere into an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone.
12. To urge the member states and permanent observers to provide assistance, through the OAS or at the bilateral level, as appropriate, for the national mine-clearing programs carried out by Ecuador and Peru within their territories, in accordance with the requests received and the terms set forth therein; and, in this respect, to request the General Secretariat to support the efforts of the two states in this area.
13. To urge all member states that have not yet done so to develop national mine action strategies, as appropriate.
14. To recognize the contribution to furthering our goal of making the Western Hemisphere an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone made by participants from the governmental and nongovernmental sectors of member states, by regional and international organizations, and by donor countries to the Regional Seminar on Antipersonnel Mines: "Reaffirming Our Commitment," hosted by Mexico and Canada with support from the OAS and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
15. To recognize further the significant contribution to global and hemispheric security that resulted from the first meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention held in Maputo, Mozambique, May 3-7, 1999.
16. To request that the General Secretariat continue to provide to the UN, PAHO, and other appropriate international and hemispheric organizations, updated information on OAS activities to promote the elimination of all use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of antipersonnel land mines, and to promote programs supporting the removal of such mines.
17. To request that the General Secretariat also provide such information, as necessary, to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Landmine Monitor of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL Monitor).
18. To request that the General Secretariat establish, in the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD), a roster of mine-clearing experts and a data-bank on other related aspects, based on information voluntarily submitted by member states on mine-clearing operations, the rehabilitation of victims and fundraising.
19. To instruct the General Secretariat to carry out the activities mentioned in this resolution within the resources allocated in the program-budget and other resources.
20. To instruct the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its thirtieth regular session on the implementation of this resolution.[OAS General Assembly/tracker.htm]