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AG/RES. 1816 (XXXI-O/01)


(Resolution adopted at the third plenary session, held on June 5, 2001)       

                THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

            CONSIDERING the provisions of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, signed in Bogotá in 1948; the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights, or Pact of San José, signed in San José, Costa Rica, in 1969; and the provisions of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, signed in Cartagena de Indias in 1985;

            HAVING SEEN the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, issued by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [A/RES/2200A (XXI), 1966]; and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (A/RES/39/46, 1984), as well as the Geneva Conventions, adopted in Geneva in 1949, and the additional protocols thereto, adopted in Geneva in 1977;

            EXPRESSING its concern over the state of penitentiary systems and detention centers in various countries of the Americas, in particular with respect to other prison conditions, which sometimes go so far as to violate the human rights of persons deprived of liberty;

            TAKING NOTE of the preliminary draft American declaration on this subject presented by the Government of Costa Rica (AG/CP/doc.630/01);

            BEARING IN MIND that this situation hinders and can even prevent the social rehabilitation of convicts, which is the essential aim of prison sentences, according to the Pact of San José;

            BEARING IN MIND that the topic of all aspects of health in prisons is part of the hemispheric agenda; and recalling that for a number of years the OAS has served as a forum for discussion of prison and detention conditions in the Americas, especially in the context of the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas; and

            RECALLING that a number of texts on this subject have been adopted at the United Nations, in particular the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners [ECOSOC/RES/663C (XXIV)], adopted in 1957; the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (A/RES/43/173), of 1988; and the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (A/RES/45/111), of 1990,


1.                   To welcome the initiative of the Government of Costa Rica to seek discussion of the subject of this resolution within the OAS.

2.                   To instruct the Permanent Council to consider the advisability of studying, in cooperation with the competent organs and agencies of the inter-American system and taking into account the conclusions and recommendations of the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas, the question of the rights and the care of persons under any form of detention or imprisonment. 

3.         To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-second regular session on the implementation of this resolution.

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