June 7, 1999


(Resolution adopted at the first plenary session, held on June 7, 1999)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

HAVING SEEN the Annual Report of the Permanent Council (AG/doc.3830/99), and in particular its references to the Report of the Secretary General on Activities of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) for the Third Quarter of 1998 (CP/doc.3145/99) and the Mine-Clearing Program in Central America (PADCA);

BEARING IN MIND its resolutions AG/RES. 1122 (XXI-O/91), AG/RES. 1191 (XXII-O/92), AG/RES. 1343 (XXV-O/95), AG/RES. 1413 (XXVI-O/96), AG/RES. 1498 (XVII-O/97), and underscoring its resolution AG/RES. 1568 (XXVIII-O/98), "Support for the Mine-Clearing Program in Central America," as well as its resolution AG/RES. 1240 (XXIII-O/93), "Inter-American Defense Board";

BEARING IN MIND also the document "The Organization of American States' Mine-Clearing Assistance Program in Central America: Responsibilities of Participants" (GT/PDCA-7/97 rev. 1);

REAFFIRMING its profound concern over the presence in Central America of thousands of antipersonnel mines and other undetonated explosive devices that continue to constitute a threat to the population and have deadly effects, primarily on innocent civilians, causing tragedy to individuals and families, standing in the way of socioeconomic development in vast, rich, rural areas, and affecting border integration in those areas;

EXPRESSING in particular its alarm over the high number of victims, primarily children, of mines and other undetonated explosive devices; and

CONSIDERING:

That the passage of Hurricane Mitch has caused a setback to demining operations, particularly in Honduras and Nicaragua, due to the displacement of mines from their original location;
That the effects of Hurricane Mitch and the magnitude of the task yet to be completed in Nicaragua (73,000 mines) make it essential to assess the feasibility of the goal of completing the mine-clearing operation by the year 2000;

The appeal for additional support in the form of resources and supervisors made by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) to member states, donors, and cooperation agencies with a view to redoubling efforts to complete the demining program in Honduras and Nicaragua as soon as possible;

The deteriorated state of the air and ground transport equipment used in the work of removing mines and evacuating potential victims, which has already caused regrettable tragedies and affects the continuation of the demining programs;

The efforts being made by the Governments of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua to complete antipersonnel mine-clearing activities;

The valuable contribution made to PADCA by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as member states, and by France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, as permanent observers, as well as by Denmark and Norway;

The important coordination and fundraising work of the OAS General Secretariat, through the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, for PADCA and for programs aimed at the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims and the socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas;

The valuable support of the Committee on Hemispheric Security and the important technical assistance provided by the Inter-American Defense Board to PADCA;

The efforts of Central American countries to ensure that international instruments on antipersonnel mines include consideration of the humanitarian aspects of mine-clearing and the provision of assistance to victims;

The entry into force on March 1, 1999, of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (the Ottawa Convention), and its ratification by the countries of Central America;

The beginning of mine-clearing operations and the removal of explosive devices in Guatemala;
The implementation of the Dog-Team Program in support of PADCA in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras;

The creation within the UPD of a program area for "Integral Action against Antipersonnel Mines" (AICMA), which will serve as the focal point within the General Secretariat in efforts to combat antipersonnel mines;
The activities of the joint Mexico-Canada-Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) cooperation program to provide care to antipersonnel land mine victims in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua;

The valuable contributions of the Regional Seminar on Antipersonnel Land Mines, "Reaffirming Our Commitment," sponsored by Mexico and Canada with the support of the OAS and PAHO, held in Mexico City on January 11 and 12, 1999, where the significant contribution of the OAS to mine-clearing in Central America was highlighted;

The holding of the "Meeting on Progress in Mine-Clearing in Central America," in Managua, Nicaragua, on April 12 and 13, 1999; and the Joint Declaration of Central American Ministers of Foreign Affairs, reaffirming the commitment of their governments to mine-clearing efforts and the destruction of explosive devices, as well as the firm commitment to completing, as soon as possible, national mine-destruction programs; and
The holding of the first meeting of states parties to the Ottawa Convention, in Maputo, Mozambique, May 3 to 7, 1999,

RESOLVES:

1. To note with satisfaction the annual report of the Permanent Council, with respect to the activities of the General Secretariat under the Mine-Clearing Program for Central America (PADCA).

2. To reiterate its gratitude to member states, to permanent observer states, and to the international community in general for their contributions to PADCA and to the programs aimed at preventive education of the civilian population regarding the danger of antipersonnel mines, the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims, and the socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas, and to urge that they continue such support.

3. To call upon member states, donors, and cooperation agencies to respond favorably to the appeal for additional support made by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) in order to redouble efforts, in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch, to complete the demining program in Honduras and Nicaragua as soon as possible.

4. To urge the General Secretariat to seek external resources for the purchase of adequate equipment and, as needed, the inspection and repair of existent equipment, to ensure the safety of persons involved in mine-clearing work and the prompt evacuation of victims in cases of emergency.

5. To welcome the entry into force, on March 1, 1999, of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on their Destruction (the Ottawa Convention), calling upon states parties that are in a position to do so to provide assistance for the removal of mines, for the rehabilitation and the social and economic reintegration of victims, and for information programs about the risk of land mines in Central America.

6. To note with satisfaction the ratification of the Ottawa Convention by the countries of Central America.

7. To call attention to the holding of the Regional Seminar on Antipersonnel Land Mines: Reaffirming our Commitment; the Meeting on Progress in Mine-Clearing in Central America; and the First Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention, for their contribution to the dissemination of information on the deadly effects of antipersonnel land mines and the efforts that are being made to eliminate these weapons and secure international support for demining programs and for the rehabilitation of victims of mines.

8. To stress the importance of the Updated National Plan for Mine Clearance submitted by the Government of Nicaragua, as well as the OAS International Plan of Support for Nicaragua.

9. To urge the General Secretariat to continue to provide, within resources allocated in the program-budget and other resources, the necessary support for the Central American countries to continue mine-clearing programs and programs aimed at preventive education, rehabilitation of victims, and reclamation of demined areas.

10. To request the Inter-American Council for Integral Development to develop as part of its cooperation program, and in keeping with the Strategic Plan for Partnership for Development 1997-2001, programs of socioeconomic and educational support to communities in Central America where antipersonnel mine-clearing has been completed.

11. To request the organs, agencies, and entities of the inter-American system to cooperate with the demining programs and those aimed at preventive education for the civilian population regarding the danger of antipersonnel mines, the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims, and the socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas in Central America.

12. To request the Inter-American Defense Board to continue to provide technical assistance to the Mine-Clearing Program in Central America.

13. To encourage the continued efforts of the Joint Mexico-Canada-Pan American Health Organization Program to provide care for victims of antipersonnel mines in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, including the involvement of affected persons in decisions related to their care and treatment.

14. To request the Secretary General to transmit this resolution to the United Nations Secretary General and to other international organizations that he deems appropriate.

15. To request the General Secretariat to present a report on the implementation of this resolution to the General Assembly at its thirtieth regular session.