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OAS Permanent Council Welcomes Nicaragua as a Landmine-Free Country

  June 22, 2010

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today welcomed as “very good news” the declaration of Nicaragua as a landmine-free country and the passage of the New Hemispheric Drug Strategy at the recent OAS General Assembly.

The achievement in Nicaragua, made official on June 18th as the Government in Managua closed its National Demining Plan, means that all of Central America has been declared a landmine-free region.

“I think we are all happy today in celebrating Nicaragua’s efforts, which are also Central America’s efforts, with both becoming landmine-free areas. This all shows that, no matter how difficult a job may be, it can be done. I wish we may keep working on this issue in other regions of the Hemisphere”, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said.

The head of the OAS also congratulated “the OAS Secretariat teams for Multidimensional Security that managed this program. Some of our most successful programs, and this one is among them, are also some of the least known,” he stated.

The Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the OAS, Denis Moncada, spoke on behalf of his government when he thanked the several nations that helped his country eliminate some 314,000 landmines in 21 years “with their technical, financial and human support.”

Ambassador Moncada specifically expressed his gratitude “to the OAS and its Member States for their significant contribution in eliminating this scourge in Nicaragua and Central America. The OAS played an important role.”

“We are left with the satisfaction that, despite many lives lost and many persons injured, Nicaragua has achieved this feat with the support and solidarity of the international community. This achievement belongs to all of us,” he added.

The Permanent Council also celebrated the passing of the New Hemispheric Drug Strategy, after presentations from Rogério Ghesti, Chief of Staff and Advisor for International Relations of the National Drug Policy Secretariat, Ministry of Institutional Security, Office of the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil; and James Mack, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

All Permanent Representatives in attendance acknowledged the leadership of Brazil, which headed the process of developing a new mechanism to replace the previous 1996 strategy, and the role played by CICAD. They also expressed their support to Mexico, which is in charge of developing an implementation plan for the new strategy.

Speaking at the Council, Ambassador Mack highlighted three key concepts in the new strategy: promoting “respect for human rights in the implementation of drug policy;” ensuring that “scientific evidence should underpin the development of drug policy;” and acknowledging that “drug dependence is a chronic, relapsing disease that should be treated as a public health issue.”

The Permanent Council also welcomed the new Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the OAS, Ambassador Audrey Marks, who expressed her commitment to continue her predecessors’ support for the work of the Organization. At the same time, the Council bid farewell to the Permanent Representative of Argentina, Rodolfo Gil, who leaves after eight years as his country’s ambassador.

A photo gallery will be available here.

For more information, visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-251/10