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More efforts needed to fully implement Mine-Ban Treaty

28-11-2011 News Release 11/244

Phnom Penh (ICRC) – On the occasion of the 11th meeting of States parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) noted the Convention's many achievements but reminded the States Parties of their obligation to ensure full and efficient implementation of the treaty.

"The lives of countless individuals and the future of thousands of affected communities around the world depend on the fulfilment of the convention's promises. Twenty years ago, a global ban on anti-personnel mines seemed only a dream. But this dream is now becoming a reality," said Olivier Vodoz, vice-president of the ICRC. "Now, the community of States, civil society, and the international agencies that created this treaty must ensure full implementation of its provisions, even in the face of economic and other pressures."

A number of significant challenges remain in implementing the Convention. First and foremost, States have the obligation to put an end to the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines. Ending this suffering means more than providing victims with emergency medical care; it also means making physical rehabilitation available to them and helping them to return to society.

"It is disappointing that too many States still lack comprehensive data relating to mine accidents or a national plan to achieve tangible improvements in the services available to mine survivors and other disabled people," said Mr Vodoz. "It is essential that each State Party take further steps based on the Cartagena Action Plan to improve the lives of mine survivors within its own borders and abroad."

The ICRC also remains concerned that several States have not met their deadlines for destroying stockpiles. It has reminded those States that they must make every effort to destroy all stockpiled mines as a matter of urgency in order to come back into compliance with the Convention.

Mine clearance is also a major challenge facing the Convention today. "Some 30 States Parties have been unable to meet their clearance deadlines and have requested, or indicated that they intend to request, an extension," said the ICRC vice-president. "States Parties have to be aware that failure to clear anti-personnel mines can constitute de facto use of these weapons."
To date, 158 States are party to the Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Convention. Almost 45 million anti-personnel mines have been destroyed and 18 countries have fulfilled their mine-clearance obligations. In countries where clearance continues, many hectares of fertile land are being returned each year to communities for productive use. Tens of thousands of landmine survivors have been aided in their efforts to regain mobility and confidence. The number of new landmine victims has continued to fall. With Tuvalu and South Sudan joining the Mine-Ban Convention this year, and three more States expected to adhere in 2012, the treaty is set to continue on the path to universal participation.

This year's meeting of States Parties is taking place in Cambodia, a world leader in tackling the problem of landmines. Thanks to the country's efforts, the number of new victims of mines and other explosive remnants of war within its borders is lower this year than in previous years.


For further information, please contact:
Stéphanie Bouaziz, ICRC Bangkok, tel: (+66) 81 950 1270