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The Imperative of the Chicago Convention

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Often in the Western media one finds accusations that third world countries are not complying with international law and ethical standards. This article discusses such a violation by certain Western countries to an agreement that they themselves initiated and signed.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United States was of the primary architect of the Chicago Convention and the ICAO was created to carry out the goals of the Chicago Convention. ICAO is a specialized agency of the UN charged with coordinating and regulating international air travel.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation is also known as the Chicago Convention. The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and establishes specific requirements regarding the signators' responsible in international air travel.

The preamble provides ". . . the undersigned governments having agreed on principles and arrangements in order that international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner and international air transport services maybe established on the basis of equality of opportunities . . . "

The sanctions placed by the United States and supported by the Western countries are contrary to the goals of the Article 44 of the Chicago Convention in which the USA is a signatory. A report issued by ICAO on October 4, 2004, concluded that the Western countries are violating their own accord and treating a member country differently, contrary to the provisions of the Convention.

The USA sanctions affect aviation safety which the international community has not yet been able to resolve. The issue has become political and has nothing to do with international norms that the Western countries expect member countries to abide by.

Following several assessments by ICAO, a report was issued on May 9, 2005 stating that the USA embargo had endangered the safety of the civil aviation in Iran and violates the provisions of the Chicago Convention. One of the recommendation of ICAO is for the Western countries " . . . should recommit to the Chicago Convention (July 17, 2005)"

The Chicago Convention states clearly that . . . "licenses may be issued for the exportation of goods, services and technology to insure the safety of civil aviation and safe operation of US origin commercial aircraft (31 C.F.R. 2005). This wording would permit US aircraft parts and components to be exported to Iran directly or through a third party.

ICAO experts have found that the US sanctions have placed Iran's civil aviation in danger. Several of their findings were reported on May 9, 2005; for example, several thousands, mostly Iranians have been killed in Iran because of mechanical failures of aircraft. The USA has even prevented the Boeing Company from repairing parts that were found to be defective in six aircraft which have been detrimental to the safety of flights in Iran and other countries to where these six Boeing aircrafts fly (ICAO report, p. 1). The Radar for international airports in Tehran and Shiraz needed spare parts for safe operation. Not only Iranian airlines have been at risk, but other airlines which flew into those airports. Because of sanctions, even service bulletins and modifications kits are not available to Iranian airlines.

Although the ICAO has on numerous occasions issued advisory reports stating. . . " continuation of sanctions must be construed to be very detrimental to aviation safety, and immediate actions must be taken by the international community to avoid regrettable occurrence. The reports have advocated whatever the justifications for economic sanctions, there must be safeguards to protect the minimum level of safety."

An interview of two ICAO officers (in Peru and Canada) in 2010 confirmed that this organization is committed to international law and policy and will continue its efforts in seeking to remove the sanctions that are applied to civilian aircraft equipment, spare parts, and safety bulletins. Civilian aviation safety affects not only Iranians but all nationalities and should supersede political differences among nations. The countries that signed the Chicago Convention should abide by its principles, especially those in Articles 4 and 44.

If the United Nations is to be respected, its organizations such as ICAO must have the authority to carry out the mission of the Chicago Convention. Countries that have signed the Chicago Convention must abide by its rules and goals to promote the safety of civil aviation internationally.

 

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Mohammad Ala is a community activist and an expert in Production and Operations management. He is founder and a Board member of four NGOs and a professor of Operations Management. Professor Ala has taught and/or consulted at universities throughout (more...)
 

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Civil aviation safety affects all nationalities an... by Mohammad Ala on Monday, Oct 4, 2010 at 8:38:53 AM
Dear Dr. Ala:Thank you for your educated comment o... by Hamid Zangeneh on Monday, Oct 4, 2010 at 10:09:15 AM
This is another violation of human rights by the U... by Ben Adams on Monday, Oct 4, 2010 at 11:31:22 AM