Resolution adopted by consensus by the 105th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Havana, 6 April 2001)

The 105th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Affirming the validity of the principles of international law and the duty of all States, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered; and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State,

Recalling that the signatory States of the United Nations Charter are bound to respect the principles of non-intervention, self-determination, and the protection of human rights,

Reaffirming that the General Assembly is the most representative organ of the United Nations and that the United Nations Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Acknowledging that, as part of their crucial role and responsibility, in ensuring the peace, order and good governance of the peoples and territories they represent, national parliaments have a duty to incorporate in domestic law international obligations and commitments assumed in respect of peace and disarmament, humanitarian law and human rights law,

Recognising that the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as the world organisation of parliaments, plays an important role in promoting peace and international cooperation in furtherance of and in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (Article 1, UN-IPU Cooperation Agreement),

Reaffirming the importance of the observance and implementation of the norms and principles of international humanitarian law,

Recognising that any attempt to use international law, including international humanitarian law, as a lever for the advancement of politically motivated objectives seriously obstructs efforts to secure greater respect for the purposes and principles of international law,

Considering that the existence and development of nations depend to a large extent on respect for the international law that governs relations between them and on growing awareness that any breaches of it are likely to threaten them and even jeopardise their existence,

Considering that since the diversity of its sources has made international law difficult to apply in some cases, efforts to promote its codification need to be pursued,

Welcoming efforts by the United Nations to develop and update the rules of international law to respond to new circumstances, and commending the work of the International Law Commission, which has successfully prepared drafts of international instruments covering various fields,

Deeming it essential to respond effectively to new types of threats, in particular by taking steps to combat organised crime, narcotics production and trafficking, money laundering and terrorism,

Welcoming the development of other norms of international law designed to minimise threats to international peace and security, through the prohibition and restriction of the use of weapons of mass destruction and certain conventional weapons, the development of the laws of armed conflict, the protection of fundamental human rights and the status of refugees, and the coordination of technical and development assistance,

Welcoming and fully supporting United Nations  Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), entitled "Women and peace and security", and bearing in mind the specific recommendations on women and war made in the Beijing Platform for Action, and the outcome document of the "Beijing+5" Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly,

Welcoming especially progress toward the establishment of the International Criminal Court, which will play a crucial role in securing observance of the principles of international law in the interests of world peace and security by providing a forum to investigate and prosecute, in cases where no State is genuinely able or willing to do so, the commission of the worst crimes of international concern, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,

Underscoring the importance of the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, and the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its 44th session proclaiming the period from 1990 to 1999 as the "United Nations Decade for International Law",

Mindful of the resolution adopted by the 90th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (September 1993) concerning "Respect for international humanitarian law and support to humanitarian action in armed conflicts", and of the resolution adopted by the 91st Inter-Parliamentary Conference (March 1994) on "Prevention of conflicts, maintenance and consolidation of peace: Role and means of the United Nations and regional organisations", and the resolution adopted by the 104th Conference (October 2000) regarding economic sanctions, especially operative paragraph 10 urging States to envisage the elaboration of an instrument of international law codifying the humanitarian standards to be respected when economic sanctions are introduced,

Supporting recent efforts to improve protection for the rights of women and children in times of conflict and times of peace alike, in particular through recent conventions and protocols,

  1. Urges States to respect the principles of international law by refraining from interfering in the domestic affairs of other States, in conformity with the United Nations Charter;

  2. Condemns the use of coercive measures which would deny the peoples their right to self-determination, freedom and independence and further condemns the resort to the use of force in contravention of the Charter of the United Nations;

  3. Calls on States to refrain from applying coercive unilateral measures with extra-territorial effects which hamper the flow of international trade and impair the legitimate right of peoples to economic, financial and trade development;

  4. Also calls on all States to strive to settle their differences by peaceful means in conformity with the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes and reaffirms in this context the right freely to choose among those means;

  5. Stresses that States must strive to reduce differences between their political, economic and social systems and must cooperate with each other on all levels with a view to maintaining international peace and security, promoting worldwide stability and economic progress, and ensuring the prosperity of all peoples and all nations, without imposing any conditions;

  6. Urges all States to consider, if they have not yet done so, acceding to and/or ratifying international instruments, as appropriate, in particular the Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court and recalls that, in establishing the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, the latter's Statute defines rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence both as war crimes and, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, as crimes against humanity.

  7. Calls for a complete ban on all weapons of mass destruction and on the transportation of the components of weapons of mass destruction through the air space and/or the exclusive economic zones of other countries and further calls for ratification of the Convention on the Total Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines, and for application of the standards thus subscribed;

  8. Welcomes the endeavours of the United Nations in framing international instruments, particularly those of the International Law Commission, and recommends that such efforts be continued, taking the following into account:

    • The need to prepare the ground before proceeding with codification, not only by studying bills but also by bringing States closer together on points where their views diverge or their interests clash;

    • The purpose of codification is not merely to maintain existing rules indefinitely, but to revise them progressively, introducing any amendments needed to harmonise them with developments in international life;

    • Systems of codification must include an amendment procedure whereby a qualified majority shall suffice to take decisions that are binding on all States that have approved those systems;

  9. Urges States and the United Nations to secure greater participation by women in decision-making relating to the prevention, management and peaceful settlement of conflicts, and to that end fully supports UN Security Council resolution 1325, particularly paragraphs 3 and 4, which seek to strengthen the role of women in this field;

  10. Further urges all parliaments to ratify and implement the United Nations conventions that concern women and more particularly the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children;

  11. Urges governments and parliaments to raise awareness among their military personnel, law enforcement agents and civilian personnel of war crimes of a sexual nature and the sanctions that apply to them.

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