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Five years on: anti-personnel mines remain a constant threat for millions

13-09-2002 News Release 02/52

Geneva (ICRC) – President Jakob Kellenberger of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is leading a delegation from the organization at a conference in Oslo on "The Future of Humanitarian Mine Action" (13-14 September 2002).

The conference marks the fifth anniversary of the successful negotiations which led to the adoption of the Convention banning anti-personnel mines, also known as the Ottawa treaty. Dr Kellenberger delivered a keynote address during the opening ceremony at the Red Cross Conference Centre.

" In 1997, the world was carefully following the results of the Oslo negotiations " , he said. " Today, although many new global issues have emerged, public support for the promises contained in this treaty is undiminished " . President Kellenberger warned, however, that " a determined continuation of global efforts is required in order to achieve the goal of eliminating anti-personnel mines once and for all " .

The ICRC's mine-action activities include promoting international humanitarian treaties relating to landmines (the Ottawa treaty and the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons), conducting community-based mine-awareness programmes, and providing medical assistance and rehabilitation services for the war-wounded, including mine victims. The ICRC is also engaged in efforts to promote a new international agreement to address the global problem of explosive remnants of war.

In order to evaluate progress in implementing the Ottawa treaty's provisions and to identify further steps to be taken to completely eliminate anti-personnel mines, more than 500 delegates from governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and the ICRC will meet next week at the Palais des Nations in Geneva for the Fourth Meeting of States Parties (16-20 September).

To date, 125 States are party to the Ottawa tr eaty. Angola formally joined the treaty on 5 July 2002, while Afghanistan has recently announced its intention to do so. With the adherence of these two States, the Ottawa treaty will include nearly all of the world's most severely mine-affected countries. The ICRC urges all States to become party to this important international treaty as soon as possible.

The address delivered by the ICRC President in OsloICRC statement in Geneva   and the are available on this site.