Second anniversary of the Ottawa treaty – toward a worldwide effect
01-03-2001 News Release 01/08
Two years after the entry into force of the Ottawa treaty banning anti-personnel mines, efforts to rid the world of these horrific weapons has begun to show results. Today, the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines have been outlawed by nearly two thirds of the world's governments. Tens of millions of anti-personnel mines in storage have been destroyed. Importantly, governments have increased funding for mine clearance, mine awareness and victim-assistance programmes. In some severely mine-infested countries, this has brought relief to the victims themselves as well as the communities where they live. Life and limb are being saved, victims are benefiting from better treatment and rehabilitation, and millions of mines that were ready for deployment will now never find their way into the earth.
However, in order to guarantee that the scourge of mines is forever eradicated, it is urgent that steps be taken to ensure universal adherence to and compliance with the treaty's provisions. States that have not yet become bound by it should do so at the earliest possible date. Likewise, the States party to the treaty should recall the need to fully meet their obligations and undertake mine clearance, destroy their stockpiles within the deadlines set, and aid landmine survivors. They must also adopt legislation to guarantee that those who violate the treaty's provisions are punished.
Africa is the world's worst-affected continent and African governments played an important role in the negotiations that led to the treaty’s adoption in 1997. A recent pan-African meeting in Bamako, organized by the government of Mali with support from Canada and France, stressed t he importance of ongoing promotion and implementation of the rules laid down by the treaty. More than 150 participants from 45 African countries attended the meeting and were joined by representatives of international, regional and non-governmental organizations as well as the ICRC. To date, 31 African States are bound by the treaty. Work to achieve the treaty’s aims will also continue in other regions throughout the coming year. In all, 110 States have become fully bound by the Ottawa treaty while another 29 have signed but not yet ratified it.
The ICRC is confident that the international community's goal of eliminating anti-personnel mines will eventually be achieved.For more information about the worlwide impact of landmines, please consult http://www.icrc.org/eng/mines