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Landmine stockpile destruction

01-09-2006 Feature

Why destroy stockpiled anti-personnel mines? The destruction of anti -personnel mines held in stockpiles is one of the key humanitarian goals of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines. In destroying its anti -personnel mines, a State ensures that none of these weapons will ever make their way into the ground to maim or kill indiscriminately. By destroying their anti -personnel mine stockpiles, States save lives and limbs.

 

What does the Convention require in terms of stockpile destruction? 
 
© ICRC / R. Gray / ref.arme-d-00002-18 
 
Different types of anti-personnel mines 
    The Ottawa Convention requires each State Party to destroy its stockpiled anti -personnel mines within four years from the time that the State becomes pa rty to the Convention.

Though each State Party is first and foremost responsible for destroying its own anti-personnel mine stockpile, the Convention gives it the right to request and to receive assistance from other States Parties to fulfill this obligation.

Exceptionally, Article 3 of the Convention allows States Parties to retain a limited number of anti -personnel mines for the sole purposes of the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance or mine destruction techniques.

However, the Convention requires that mines so retained must not exceed the minimum number absolutely necessary for these purposes. This exception to the Convention ’s absolute prohibition of anti -personnel mines must be interpreted restrictively. Approximately 70 States Parties have declared they are retaining mines for training and research, while more than 60 have declared they are not retaining any mines at all.

 
What is the current state of stockpile destruction? 
 

Since the Convention entered into force, States Parties have destroyed over 38 million stockpiled anti –personnel mines.

The rate of compliance with the Convention ’s obligation to destroy stockpiled anti -personnel mines has been outstanding: all States Parties that have declared stockpiled anti -personnel mines and whose deadlines have occurred have reported fulfilling this requirement.

 As of 1 December 2006:  

 
 
Peru, August 2001. The Peruvian army destroys stockpiles of anti-personnel mines©ICRC / D.Marthos 
 

A total of 132 States party to the Ottawa Convention did not or no longer have anti -personnel mine stockpiles. Of these:

  • 74 States Parties have completed the destruction of their stockpiled anti -personnel mines;

  • 58 States Parties had declared that they have no stockpiled anti -personnel mines requiring destruction.

  • 13 States Parties were in the process of destroying their stockpiled mines or must begin to do so.

  • 5 States Parties had not yet officially declared the presence or absence of stockpiled anti-personnel mines.

Though States party to the Ottawa Convention have made impressive progress in destroying stockpiled anti -personnel mines, large stockpiles continue to be retained by States that are not party to the Convention. It is estimated that six States not parties (China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, USA) together likely hold more than 157 million stockpiled mines.