The Fourth Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA IV) concluded today with the adoption by acclamation of the Declaration of Medellin for the Strengthening of Hemispheric Cooperation on Public Security.
The member states of the OAS, meeting Thursday and Friday in Medellin, Colombia, approved actions to strengthen cooperation, coordination and mutual technical assistance between the institutions in charge of public security of the member states, "to continue developing the capacities of our States to respond effectively in the struggle against crime, violence, and insecurity." MISPA IV also approved by acclamation that the next such meeting, MISPA V, will take place in Peru in 2015, on a specific date to be determined.
In his closing remarks, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, said he was certain “that the agreements that have emerged from this meeting will enable us to move forward and improve our work on multidimensional security in the region."
Looking forward to the next MISPA in 2015, the leader of the hemispheric institution noted that the General Secretariat of the OAS expects to have in place by then a Network of Exchange of Information and opinions between States. He also expressed his hope that by the time of the next meeting of the Ministers of Public Security progress will have been made in the coordination of work against organized crime, and that "the quality of the police of the Americas and their professionalism" is strengthened. "We also hope, above all, to achieve results that make a difference in the lives of people, that the security of the people in our region improves substantially, because that is why we are here."
For his part, the Director General of Police of Colombia, General Rodolfo Palomino, said, "today it is impossible for a single country with its own technical and financial resources to undertake and achieve success in a strategy against transnational organized crime without the support of friendly countries and strategic partners." The highest authority of the Colombian police force said the networks and information sharing platforms discussed during MISPA “will enable the agencies in our countries to combine their efforts to achieve articulated information mechanisms with standardized concepts and links to help us achieve results in the fight for the security of our countries." In his conclusion, General Palomino said "we will continue to fight relentlessly those elements dedicated to illegal actions and we will continue to cooperate with the countries of the Americas by sharing best practices and collaborating with police in strengthening their capacities."
In addition to calling on countries to strengthen cooperation and mutual assistance, the Declaration of Medellin calls for the region to "Continue strengthening the development of regional and bilateral mechanisms for sharing operational and/or intelligence information, in order to prevent and investigate, in accordance with domestic laws, the transnational organized crime and insecurity affecting the Hemisphere.”
It also calls on states to “continue strengthening the judicial cooperation that allows the member states, pursuant to domestic legislation and established international agreements, to mount an effective legal response to the commission, execution, planning, preparation, or financing of criminal acts against public security.” It further calls upon states party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and its corresponding Optional Protocol to continue to implement its provisions, and encourages states not yet party to these inter-American instruments to join them.
In its closing day, MISPA IV also approved, by 16 votes in favor and 5 against, a document that says: (not an official translation - official translation will be available soon) "We adopt the following recommendation for the Strengthening of International Cooperation on public security: In the framework of MISPA IV, the General Secretariat of the OAS is charged with performing a legal, technical and budgetary analysis to identify and define a path to make AMERIPOL a part of the inter-American system, and in this way strengthen the police cooperation and administration currently being carried out."
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.