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Landmine ban success reaps results; strict adherence, rapid clearance, and assistance for victims remain crucial [EN/FR/ES]

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(Maputo, Mozambique, 23 June 2014): Fifteen years after the treaty banning antipersonnel mines entered into force, nearly all landmine use and production has ceased, new casualties have dropped dramatically, and numerous countries have removed all mines from their land, according to a series of groundbreaking reports released today by Landmine Monitor, the research arm of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

“The Mine Ban Treaty remains an ongoing success in stigmatizing the use of landmines and mitigating the suffering they cause,” said Jeff Abramson, project manager of the Monitor initiative. “Meeting the needs of landmine victims has progressed and requires a focus on tangible measures, while more than three dozen states could succeed at clearing remaining mined territory by the end of 2019 if resources are properly used,” he added.

As the Third Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty opens in Maputo, Mozambique, a total of 161 states are full members of the treaty, up from 71 that had ratified it when it entered into force on 1 March 1999. Of the 36 states today that are not party to the treaty, almost all abide by its key provisions, indicating near-universal acceptance of the treaty’s ban on using or transferring antipersonnel mines.

Just five states, all of which remain outside the treaty, are confirmed to have used antipersonnel mines since 2009 (Israel, Libya, Myanmar, Russia, and Syria). Adding to the overall success of the ban, non-state armed groups in many countries have pledged not to use landmines.

Previous Landmine Monitor publications have never reported confirmed cases of antipersonnel mine use by a State Party to the treaty since it became law, but last year evidence emerged that government forces in Yemen used antipersonnel mines in 2011. In November 2013, the government of Yemen admitted that a “violation” of the Mine Ban Treaty had occurred in 2011 at Bani Jarmooz, northeast of Yemen’s capital Sana’a.

“Yemen’s use of antipersonnel landmines threatens to tarnish the Mine Ban Treaty’s otherwise impressive record of compliance,” said Mark Hiznay, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch and ban policy editor of Landmine Monitor. “Yemen must do more to identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable, as well as mark and clear the mined areas, and assist those who have been injured,” he added.

The Monitor continues to find that a de facto global ban on the transfer of antipersonnel mines is in effect, but a very low level of illicit and clandestine trade persists. New production has virtually ceased, with as few as four countries actively manufacturing landmines out of just a dozen states—all outside the treaty—that still obstinately hold on to that as an option.

Global stockpiles of mines are falling, with a total of 87 States Parties having completed the destruction of their stockpiled antipersonnel mines, collectively destroying more than 47 million mines since 1999. After failing to meet the treaty’s four-year stockpile destruction deadline, however, three states Belarus (2008), Greece (2008), and Ukraine (2010), remain in violation of that obligation.

In new research focused specifically on the 31 Mine Ban Treaty State Parties with significant numbers of survivors, the Monitor reports that new casualties due to mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) have declined by more than half over the past 15 years. Yet civilians, especially children, continue to suffer most from landmines.

During the last decade, three-quarters of all the people killed and injured by mines and ERW in the 31 States Parties were civilians; of those, with details recorded since 1999, nearly half were children. In Afghanistan, children made up 61% of all civilian casualties since 1999.

In a new series of regional reports on assistance available to survivors and their families, the Monitor surveys fifteen years of unprecedented progress and identifies the crucial gaps in services to landmine survivors that have attainable solutions.

“The continued downward trend in yearly casualties due to antipersonnel landmines encourages us that the treaty is working. Now more resources need to be made available for assistance and recovery of the people affected,” said Loren Persi, co-coordinator of the Monitor’s casualties and victim assistance research team. “Survivors in many countries still face similar challenges as those in conference host Mozambique; they lack access to basic care due to their remote location and the insufficient availability of sustainable services,” Persi added.

Landmine clearance and support still critical

Today, 56 states (32 of which are treaty members) and four other areas (Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland, and Western Sahara) have an identified threat from antipersonnel mines. However, the Monitor finds that within the next five years, 40 of these states are fully capable of completing their mine clearance obligations under the treaty.

Twenty-seven states (including Nepal, a state not party to the treaty) and one other area (Taiwan) have declared their land cleared of mines since the treaty entered into force in 1999.

Over the past five years, nearly 1.5 million emplaced mines were removed and destroyed worldwide, and nearly 1,000km2 of land was cleared to international standards. In 2013, as in previous years, the mine action programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Croatia accounted for the large majority of area cleared worldwide.

Global expenditures for activities such as risk education and mine clearance, collectively known as mine action, continues to exceed $650 million per year. International support amounted to almost US$435 million in 2013, down $62 million from 2012’s record high of $497 million, though data may still be incomplete. National funding in 2013 amounted to almost US$198 million, an increase of almost $14 million compared to 2012.

About the Monitor:

Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor is the research arm of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines - Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). The ICBL was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to eradicate landmines. The Monitor is coordinated by a Monitoring and Research Committee comprised of ICBL-CMC expert staff, research team leaders, and representatives of four non-governmental organizations: Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Mines Action Canada, and Norwegian People’s Aid.

Links:
Monitor website - http://www.the-monitor.org
ICBL website - http://www.icbl.org/
Mine Ban Treaty - http://www.apminebanconvention.org/
ICBL Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/minefreeworld
ICBL Twitter - https://twitter.com/minefreeworld
ICBL Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/minefreeworld/collections/
ICBL Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/user/ICBLnetwork
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor Twitter - https://twitter.com/MineMonitor

For more information contact:
Jared Bloch, Media & Communications Manager, Tel: +41 786 83 4407/Mozambique +258 82 838 3103, Email: jared@icblcmc.org.