Latin American Foreign Ministers meet with Secretary-General over concerns about regional surveillance

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Foreign Ministers

The Foreign Ministers of five Latin American countries on Monday met with the UN Secretary-General to express their concerns over reported large-scale surveillance programmes in the region.

Representing Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia,Brazil and Uruguay, the ministers also raised the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), the embargo against Cuba and the situation in Haiti.

Following the closed-door meeting, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota addressed reporters.

“We also raised the question of the serious implications regarding the denial for the aircraft carrying President Evo Morales of Bolivia to overfly a number of European countries. This is also unprecedented, it raises serious questions with respect to the necessary respect that one should show for Heads of State and government and in this case a democratically elected head of state and government from a peaceful region such as ours, and it also requires serious attention from the international community.”

The Secretary-General's spokesperson said Ban Ki-moon noted that UN Human Rights mechanisms pointed to important rights and privacy issues at stake in connection with surveillance.

The Secretary-General also reiterated that a Head of State and their aircraft enjoy immunity and inviolability.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28″

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