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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: appeal for a total ban on anti-personnel mines

20-03-1997 News Release 97/10

On 7 March the ICRC and the Council of Europe's Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography held a joint seminar in Budapest on anti-personnel landmines, an issue on which the Parliamentary Assembly and the ICRC have been cooperating closely. The seminar addressed an 11-point appeal to member States of the Council of Europe, urging them to take an active part in the effort to achieve a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines and to sign an international treaty to that effect at the Ottawa Conference scheduled for December 1997. The Committee also called for increased contributions to rehabilitation programmes for mine victims, mine-clearance operations and mine-awareness campaigns for populations at risk.

The States represented at the seminar included Austria, Belgium, Croatia,  Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have special status within the Council, also sent representatives.

The discussions were sometimes charged with emotion. One participant told the tragic story of a close relative who was recently killed by a mine blast as he was working in his vineyard.

At present, 19 of the 40 member States of the Council of Europe support a total and immediate ban on anti-personnel mines. Ten have renounced the use of mines, and two have suspended their use.

The seminar's conclusions will be the subject of a report and a draft resolution, which will be submitted to a forthcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly.