30/7/98

International Civil Aviation Organization
ASSEMBLY - 32ND SESSION

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Agenda Item 18: Shortcomings and deficiencies in the air navigation field

ATTENDING TO THE NEEDS OF ACCIDENT VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES

(Presented by Spain)


SUMMARY

States should have guidance material for the homogeneous treatment of aircraft accident victims and their families.

1. BACKGROUND

1.1 Attending to the needs of aircraft accident victims and their relatives is a serious concern for both Governments and the persons affected.

1.2 At present, neither the Annexes nor other ICAO documents contain sufficient references to the appropriate way of dealing with this problem.


2. NEED FOR A HOMOGENEOUS SOLUTION

2.1 Owing to the current globalization of international civil aviation operations and the consequent mobility of the users, when an accident occurs it is necessary to harmonize the treatment which the different States provide to the persons affected. In particular, the notification of the families and attending to their needs during the first few days after an accident should be the subject of the most painstaking treatment and cover the normal needs of the persons affected. For that reason, irrespective of the place where an accident occurs, States should provide a homogeneous solution to such situations since the victims may be of very different cultures and nationalities.

3. PRELIMINARY WORK

3.1 Taking account of budgetary constraints, ICAO should give due consideration to the need for appropriate instructions and guidance material to cover the concerns of accident victims and their families. A start could be made by compiling the regulations of the States which have suitable legislation and experience in this area and subsequently proceeding to prepare instructions acceptable to all States. This response should not exclude the possibility of using the regulations of one State or synthesizing the regulations of different States if such regulations suitably cover the minimum needs to be addressed.

4. RECOMMENDATION

4.1 The Assembly is invited to consider the comments contained in this working paper and the draft Resolution in Appendix A.

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APPENDIX A

DRAFT ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION

A32-

GLOBAL HARMONIZATION OF THE REGULATIONS
DEALING WITH THE HANDLING OF THE NEEDS
OF AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES

Considering that even though international air transport is the safest means of transport, the total elimination of the possibility of serious accidents cannot be guaranteed;

Considering that, in such a case, dealing with the needs of the persons affected and the procedure for notifying the families and attending to them, particularly in the first few days, should be the subject of the most painstaking treatment;

Considering that the actions of the authorities of the State where an accident occurs should cover the most critical needs of the persons affected;

Considering that the global harmonization of the regulations for dealing with the needs of the victims and their families is also a humanitarian duty and an optional function of the Council contemplated in the Article 55 (c) of the Chicago Convention;

Considering that States should provide a homogeneous solution irrespective of the place where an accident occurs since there may be victims of very different nationalities;

The Assembly:

1. Urges States which do not yet have appropriate regulations to initiate the process necessary to apply adequate regulations in order to attend to the needs of aircraft accident victims and their families;

2. Urges regional civil aviation organizations established by member States to promote the application of appropriate regulations in their respective regions;

3. Urges States which have appropriate regulations to make them available to ICAO for their possible use;

4. Requests that the Secretary General ask for and initiate the compilation of the different regulations of the States which have them;

5. Requests that the Council, within its powers, instruct the Secretary General to develop appropriate instructions and guidance material for subsequent distribution to States;

6. Requests that the Council report on the progress achieved to the next Session of the Assembly.

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Remarks by Chairman Hall at ICAO Assembly