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Ban urges accession to pact prohibiting use of indiscriminate weapons

UN Joint Mine Action Coordination Team in Libya.
Giovanni Diffidenti
UN Joint Mine Action Coordination Team in Libya.

Ban urges accession to pact prohibiting use of indiscriminate weapons

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for universal accession to the United Nations convention that prohibits the use of certain indiscriminate weapons that cause unnecessary suffering to combatants or civilians, including landmines, booby-traps and other explosive devices.

“Landmines, booby-traps and other explosive devices aggravate and prolong the horrendous consequences of armed conflict,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the 13th annual conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva.

“Both during and after hostilities, they kill indiscriminately, maim vulnerable civilians and cause excessive, yet random, suffering of combatants.”

Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices was amended in 1996 to strengthen its provisions. It extends the scope of application to cover both international and internal armed conflicts; prohibits the use of non-detectable anti-personnel mines and their transfer; and prohibits the use of non-self-destructing and non-self-deactivating mines outside fenced, monitored and marked areas.

The amended Protocol II also broadens obligations of protection in favour of peacekeeping and other missions of the UN and its agencies; requires States to enforce compliance with its provisions within their jurisdiction; and calls for penal sanctions in case of violation.

Mr. Ban pointed out that evidence provided by members of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) stresses the need to strengthen international rules applicable to mines other than anti-personnel mines.

“Universalizing the Protocol remains as important as ever. I reiterate my calls to implement the Plan of Action to Promote the Universality of the Convention and its annexed Protocols.”

He congratulated the 97 States that have expressed their consent to be bound by Amended Protocol II, and called upon all countries that have not yet done so to become Parties to it as soon as possible, particularly those States parties that had acceded to the original Protocol II.