The Mercosur ministers from Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, were referring to information about the US government’s PRISM global spying program revealed by Edward Snowden in June.
The US government’s spying “absolutely violates international law, countries’ sovereignty, and the fundamental human rights of the citizens of the world,” Jaua said.
He also told Ban that Mercosur countries are concerned about the “attempt to put pressure and conditions on countries who have offered asylum to Mr Snowden”.
Brazilian foreign minister Antonio Patriota said in the press conference afterwards that it was “very important” that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay had spoken against such “spying practices”.
Pillay also stated recently that UN human rights mechanisms “pointed to important rights and privacy issues at stake in connection with surveillance”. At the meeting, according to UN press, Ban “reiterated the need to safeguard these fundamental rights”.
According to Jaua, the ministers also talked about the blockade on Cuba, the Malvinas, Edward Snowden, and the behaviour of some European countries towards Bolivian president Evo Morales last month. Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal prohibited Morales’ flight from passing through their territory after wrongly suspecting that Snowden was on his plane.
“That attitude violates the Vienna Convention and other international agreements,” Jaua stated. He was likely referring to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which enables diplomats to perform their functions without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country. At the meeting, Ban also reiterated that a head of state and his or her aircraft enjoy immunity and inviolability.
Jaua said he also handed in a report about the “wave of violence generated by Venezuelan opposition leaders on 15 April” to Ban.
Today the UN Security Council is debating cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Venezuela is currently serving as pro tempore president of Mercosur, which is also comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, as well as observer states Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname.