Geneva, 27 February 2013 – The President of the international treaty banning anti-personnel mines has appealed to all members of the Conference on Disarmament that have not yet done so to join the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention as soon as possible.
“At a the time when the minority of States which participate in this august body have been only talking about disarmament, the majority of the world’s States which are party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention have been actually disarming, reducing human suffering, and making a positive difference in the lives of countless women, girls, boys and men,” said the Slovenian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Matjaz Kovacic, who presides over the 161-member treaty.
In speaking at a high-level segment of the Conference on Disarmament, Matjaz Kovacic contrasted the Conference on Disarmament’s 16-year stalemate in negotiating any advance in disarmament with the impressive gains made by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in mine clearance, victim assistance and ending landmine use.
“The accession to the Convention by Somalia and Poland in 2012 means that all Member States of the European Union, every State in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 161 States in total, have foresworn the use of an inhumane and indiscriminate weapon that has no place in modern defence and warfare”, said Matjaz Kovacic. “In addition, in December 2012, the United States indicated that its landmine policy review is on-going and that it expects to be able to announce a decision soon. I would appeal to the United States to conclude its landmine policy review in such a way that it too will soon be a part of this movement.”
Matjaz Kovacic’s remarks came on the eve of the fourteenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention – 1 March – and included other highlights of progress made during this period. “There are now 23 States Parties that have complied with their obligation to clear all mined areas; together the States Parties have destroyed over 44.5 million stockpiled mines,” he said. However, he cautioned, “while the Convention is historic and our progress has been tremendous, more work needs to be done. Let us continue to march closer to our goal in greater numbers and with a commitment that will be sustained until the job is done.”
The Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force on 1 March 1999.