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Organization of American States: Support for implementation of international humanitarian law and mines ban

12-06-1998 News Release 98/23

At its 28th General Assembly held in Caracas, Venezuela, from 1 to 3 June the OAS adopted three resolutions directly related to humanitarian issues.

A 13-point resolution on promotion of and respect for international humanitarian law was passed, reaffirming the humanitarian commitments of the OAS and including new elements, in particular a system for reporting to the OAS Permanent Council on national measures for implementation of the law. It also encourages States to take an active part in the forthcoming Rome Diplomatic Conference on the establishment of an international criminal court for the repression of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Furthermore, the text reasserts OAS support for the work of the ICRC and calls for the protection of humanitarian workers in the course of their duties. 

Another resolution was adopted on the ban on anti-personnel landmines and their total elimination from the American continent. Among other things, it urges member States to declare and put into effect a moratorium on the production, transfer and use of these weapons, and to adhere at the earliest possible date to the 1997 Ottawa treaty and to the 1980 United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and its amended Protocol II on mines. The resolution also reiterates its support for States in their mine-clearance efforts on the continent. The third resolution deals specifically with mine-clearance programmes in Central America, recalling the commitment made to the peoples of the region that it would become a zone free of anti-personnel mines by the year 2000.