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  • Documents on Democracy


On 29 November 1991, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural) of the United Nations adopted by consensus a resolution welcoming the secretary general's appeals for the release from house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and expressing its concern over "the grave human rights situation" in Burma (Myanmar). The full text appears below:

The General Assembly, Reaffirming that all Member States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms stated in the Charter of the United Nations and elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable human rights instruments,

Aware that, in accordance with the Charter, the Organization promotes and encourages respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all and that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government,"

Recalling that the Government of Myanmar has assured the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies of its intentions to take all necessary steps towards democracy in the light of elections held in 1990,

Noting with concern substantive available information indicating a grave human rights situation in Myanmar,

Welcoming the Secretary General's statement on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi and his repeated appeals for her early release from house arrest,

  1. 1. Takes note of the assurances of the Government of Myanmar to take firm steps towards the establishment of a democratic state and looks forward to the early implementation of this commitment;

  2. 2. Expresses its concern at the information on the grave human rights situation and stresses the need for an early improvement of this situation;

  3. 3. Urges the Government of Myanmar to allow all citizens to [End Page 127] participate freely in the political process in accordance with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

  4. 4. Decides to continue its consideration of this question at its forty-seventh session.

Organization of American States/Haiti

Meeting in Santiago, Chile, on 5 June 1991, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved Resolution 1080, creating a new mechanism for convening foreign ministers in response to an irregular interruption of the democratic process in any member state. The full text of this resolution appears below:

Whereas: The Preamble of the Charter of the OAS establishes that representative democracy is an indispensable condition for the stability, peace, and development of the region;

Under the provisions of the Charter, one of the basic purposes of the Organization of American States is to promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention;

Due respect must be observed for the policies of each member country in regard to the recognition of states and governments;

Bearing in mind the widespread existence of democratic governments in the hemisphere, the principle enshrined in the Charter—namely, that the solidarity of the American States and the high aims which it pursues require the political organization of those States to be based on effective exercise of representative democracy—must be made operative; the region faces serious political, social, and economic problems that may threaten the stability of democratic governments,

The General Assembly resolves:

  1. 1. To instruct the secretary general to call for the immediate convocation of a meeting of the Permanent Council in the case of any event giving rise to the sudden or irregular interruption of the democratic political institutional process or of the legitimate exercise of power by the democratically elected government in any of the Organization's member states, in order, within the framework of the Charter, to examine the situation, decide on and convene an ad hoc meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs, or a special session of the General Assembly, all of which must take place within a ten-day period.

  2. 2. To determine that the purpose of the ad hoc meeting of ministers of foreign affairs or the special session of the General Assembly shall be to look into the events collectively and adopt any decisions deemed appropriate, in accordance with the Charter and international law. [End Page 128]

  3. 3. To instruct the...


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