Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to make full use of the global agreement on explosive remnants of war, a deadly scourge that kills and maims innocent civilians long after armed conflicts have come to an end.
“Explosive remnants of war are generated by every armed conflict, and pose a major threat to civilians,” Mr. Ban told a meeting in Geneva of States parties to Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
“They kill and maim long after the end of hostilities. They are deadly hazards that must be eliminated,” he said in his message, which was delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva.
The Secretary-General stressed that Protocol V is “an invaluable tool” toward that end, as it provides a flexible and stable framework for addressing the humanitarian and developmental impacts of explosive remnants of war. “I urge you to make full use of it.”
He commended the States parties on their efforts to operationalize the Protocol, such as the establishment of a mechanism for cooperation and coordination to improve knowledge about the scope of the problem of explosive remnants of war, as well as to facilitate assistance and advance the Protocol’s implementation.
“You have made a good start, but more is needed,” stated Mr. Ban, calling for strong practical steps to assist victims of the scourge.
“You should give even more support to the clearance, removal and destruction of unexploded ordnance,” he added. “You should also establish a culture of information sharing, in particular to collect and record information despite the obstacles posed by battlefield dynamics. All of this will also mean mobilizing the necessary resources.”
While noting the “considerable” increase by more than one-third in the number of States parties to the Protocol since last year, the Secretary-General called on those that have not yet done so to ratify the instrument without delay.
In addition, he reminded all States of their responsibility to provide effective protection to civilians both during and after armed conflicts.