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Nairobi Summit to renew pledges on eradicating anti-personnel mines

24-11-2004 News Release 04/66

Seven years after the Convention banning anti-personnel mines was adopted, the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World (29 November - 3 December) will bring together leaders of the 143 States party to the Convention to assess progress towards ending the suffering these abhorrent weapons cause.

There is much to celebrate. Three-quarters of the world's States have joined the Convention, destroying over 37 million mines and cooperating to clear mines in most countries affected. Worldwide use and production of anti-personnel mines have decreased dramatically, as has trade in these items. Most importantly, the annual number of mine victims has dropped significantly in mine-affected countries where the Convention's requirements are being fully respected.

But the landmine crisis is not over. Anti-personnel mines are still killing thousands of men, women and children every year. Countless more lose their limbs and are disabled for life. The Convention promised these people the help they need to rebuild their lives and live in dignity. It promised mine-affected communities that they would one day live free of the fear of death and mutilation by anti-personnel mines.

The Nairobi Summit will have the crucial task of outlining the work that still needs to be done to fulfil these promises. The Convention sets deadlines for mine-clearance, and the first of these is in 2009. These deadlines will only be met if the governments assembled at the Nairobi Summit agree a robust plan of action and increased resource commitments for the next five years. These years will be the real test of whether the Convention can deliver on its promises.

" This Convention has been one of the real success stories of the international community in recent years, " stated Peter Herby, Head of the ICRC's Mines-Arms Unit. " Huge challenges nevertheless remain. The Nairobi Summit must ensure that affected countries meet their mine clearance deadlines and that mine victims experie nce real improvements in their lives. An ambitious action plan from Nairobi is crucial to ensure that the global commitment to a world free of anti-personnel mines is fulfilled. "

The Nairobi Summit will run from 29 November to 3 December. ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger will address the Summit during its high-level segment (2-3 December), together with heads of state, ministers and United Nations representatives. Hundreds of civil society organizations and landmine survivors will also participate.

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 "Ending the landmine era," a video news selection with footage from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Angola, Namibia, Sudan and Myanmar, will be distributed via the European Broadcasting Union on Thursday 25 November at 11:45 GMT.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Catherine Bond, ICRC Nairobi, tel.: ++25420 2723 963 or ++25472 2512 728  

 Camilla Waszink, ICRC Geneva, tel.: ++ 41 79 217 32 09  

 Ian Piper, ICRC Geneva, tel.: ++41 22 735 20 63