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Secretary-General urges more action on eliminating anti-personnel mines

Secretary-General urges more action on eliminating anti-personnel mines

Clearing landmines near Elephant Pass, close to Jaffna in Sri Lanka
Despite “undeniable” progress much more needs to be done to eliminate the horrors posed by anti-personnel mines, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a meeting of States parties to an international treaty banning their use and production.

“Anti-personnel mines continue to kill, maim and terrorize populations while denying communities the means to rebuild their lives,” he said in a message to the Tenth Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention in Geneva. “Commitment alone is not enough. To reach the Convention’s objectives and ensure a positive impact on people’s lives we need greater efforts, capacity building and resources.”

Formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, the treaty has 156 States parties, with 39 still remaining to sign on. In 2008 alone, there were more than 5,000 casualties from landmines which continue to kill and maim decades after they are laid.

Citing the accomplishments, Mr. Ban noted that over 42 million mines have been destroyed, production and transfer are almost non-existent, vast territories have been cleared and released for peaceful and productive use, and survivors have benefited through improved rehabilitation and reintegration assistance.

“In short, the Convention has become an indispensable element of humanitarian disarmament frameworks as well as a key forum for cooperation and assistance in creating a mine-free world,” he said in the message, delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva, renewing his call to all States that have not yet done so to accede to the Convention as soon as possible.

“The Mine Ban Convention and other recent treaties on conventional weapons should spur Member States to further examine the impact of other weapons and identify appropriate ways and means to address the humanitarian, socio-economic and environmental concerns associated with their use,” he added. “This is especially true of explosive weapons used in populated areas. I encourage States to take bold action and achieve progress in responding to these challenges.”

One of these treaties, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, entered into force on 1 August 2010, and 108 nations have signed it, with 46 of them also ratifying it.