June 3, 2008


(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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.