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Americas: states determined to achieve national bans on anti-personnel mines

12-06-1996 News Release 96/23

Representatives of six Central American States and Mexico unanimously came out in favour of a total ban on the production, possession, transfer and use of anti-personnel landmines and proposed, at a seminar held in Managua on 28 and 29 May, the establishment of a " zone free from anti-personnel landmines on their territories " . The meeting, devoted to mines, mine clearance and victim rehabilitation, was organized by the ICRC and the Nicaraguan Red Cross under the auspices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua. It was attended by 75 officials, including military officers and foreign affairs officials from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, as well as representatives of United Nations agencies, the Organization of American States and NGOs involved in demining.

The seminar's recommendations, adopted by all the participating States, lay out a series of steps which could lead to Central America becoming the first mine-infested region to free itself entirely from this scourge. In those recommendations the States reaffirm their determination to promote immediate national bans on the production, possession, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines, to encourage national legislation outlawing such acts, and to assist and provide employment opportunities for disabled mine victims. The meeting further appealed to the international community to increase its support for humanitarian mine clearance and victim rehabilitation efforts in the region. It encouraged the local media to help in disseminating mine-awareness information among populations at risk so as to protect them from falling victim to these weapons.

The participating States also enc ouraged the adoption by the Organization of American States, which met in Panama City last week, of a resolution calling for a zone free of anti-personnel landmines in the Western hemisphere.