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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 50, September 2000

Ottawa Convention Meeting

Second Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, Geneva, September 11-15, 2000.

I. Final Report: Declaration

'Declaration of the Second Meeting of the States Parties,' Part II of the Final Report, APLC/MSP.2/20001, September 18; non-officially issued text provided by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL website, http://www.icbl.org).

"1. We, the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, along with other states, international organizations and institutions and non-governmental organizations, are gathered in Geneva, Switzerland to reaffirm our unwavering commitment both to the total eradication of anti-personnel mines and to addressing the insidious and inhumane effects of these weapons.

2. We celebrate the ongoing growth in support for the Convention and our satisfaction with the general status and operation of it: over 100 states have formally accepted the obligations of the Convention; over 20 States Parties have completed destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines and a further 23 States Parties are in the process of destroying stockpiles; the new international norm established by the Convention is taking hold as demonstrated by the behaviour of many states not parties to the Convention; and approximately US$250 million has been allocated by donors over the past year to address the global landmine problem.

3. We recognize that much work remains. However, we are pleased that our efforts are making a difference: considerable areas of mined land have been cleared over the past year; casualty rates have been reduced in several of the world's most mine-affected states; and more and better efforts are being undertaken to assist landmine victims.

4. While we celebrate the success of the Convention, we remain deeply concerned that anti-personnel mines continue to kill, maim and threaten the lives of countless innocent people each day; that the terror of mines prevents individuals from reclaiming their lives; and that the lasting impact of these weapons denies communities the opportunity to rebuild long after conflicts have ended.

5. We deplore the continued use of anti-personnel mines. Such acts are contrary to the aims of the Convention and exacerbate the humanitarian problems already caused by the use of these weapons. We call upon all those who continue to use anti-personnel mines, as well as those who develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain and transfer these weapons, to cease now and to join us in the task of eradicating these weapons.

6. We implore those states that have declared their commitment to the object and purpose of the Convention and that continue to use anti-personnel mines to recognize that this is a clear violation of their solemn commitment. We call upon all states concerned to respect their commitments.

7. We celebrate this Second Meeting of the States Parties. But we recognize that achieving the promise of this unique and important humanitarian instrument rests in continuing to be tireless in our efforts to end the use of anti-personnel mines, to eradicate stockpiles, to cease development, production and transfers of these weapons, to clear mined areas in order to free land from its deadly bondage, to assist victims to reclaim their lives and to prevent new victims.

8. We also recognize that these are common tasks for humanity and therefore call upon all governments and people everywhere to join us in this effort. We call upon those in a position to do so to provide technical and financial assistance to meet the enormous challenges of mine action, and, whenever relevant, to integrate these efforts into development planning and programming. We call upon those states that have not formally accepted the obligations of the Convention to ratify or accede to it promptly. We call upon all states that are in the process of formally accepting the obligations of the Convention to apply provisionally the terms of the Convention. And we call upon one another as States Parties to effectively implement the Convention and to comply fully with its provisions.

9. We reiterate that, as a community dedicated to seeing an end to the use of anti-personnel mines, our assistance and cooperation will flow primarily to those who have foresworn the use of these weapons forever through adherence to and implementation of the Convention.

10. While we realize that our task is huge, we warmly welcome the substantial progress that has been made during the intersessional work programme and the accomplishments of this programme's Standing Committees of Experts.

11. We recall that the intersessional work programme was established at the First Meeting of the States Parties to focus and advance the international community's mine action efforts and to measure progress made in achieving its objectives. We express our satisfaction that the intersessional work programme has lived up to this promise, has assisted in developing a global picture of priorities consistent with the obligations and time-frames contained within the Convention, and has been undertaken in a manner consistent with the Convention's tradition of inclusivity, partnership, dialogue, openness and practical cooperation.

12. We acknowledge that the progress made during the intersessional work programme was significantly enhanced by the substantive participation of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and other relevant non-governmental organizations, and by regional and international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross. We express our gratitude to these organizations for their important contributions and we thank the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining for its support of the first intersessional work programme and its commitment to continuing to support future intersessional work.

13. Building upon the accomplishments of the intersessional work programme, including increased participation in the work of the Convention by mine-affected states, we call upon all interested parties to continue to participate in the work of the Standing Committees between now and the next Meeting of the States Parties, which will take place on September 18 to 21, 2001 in Managua, Nicaragua.

14. In reflecting upon our progress and accomplishments, and in considering the work that lies ahead, we reconfirm our conviction to make anti-personnel mines objects of the past, our obligation to assist those who have fallen victim to this terror, and our shared responsibility to the memories of those whose lives have been lost as a result of the use of these weapons, including those killed as a result of their dedication to helping others by clearing mined areas or providing humanitarian assistance."

II. Summary of Meeting

'Second Meeting of States Parties to Mine-Ban Convention Concludes Session,' UN Press Release DC/2725, September 18.

"The second meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction this morning concluded its session by adopting a Declaration which expressed deep concern that anti-personnel mines continued to kill, maim and threaten the lives of countless innocent people each day. ...

The meeting adopted its final report which included the Declaration and the President's Action Programme. Over the course of the meeting, other decisions were taken pertaining to revisions to the intersessional work programme and an amendment to the reporting format under article 7. The meeting also recommended the establishment of a Coordinating Committee of Co-Chairs of the Standing Committees of Experts to ensure a high degree of coordination of their work to facilitate the successful implementation of the Convention.

The President's Action Programme summarized concrete initiatives and activities that had taken place in the Standing Committees of Experts which assisted in the process of implementation by identifying practical steps that could be taken.

In his concluding remarks, the President of the second meeting, Ambassador Steffen Kongstad of Norway, noted that there was a tremendous task ahead but what earlier appeared to be unattainable now seemed to be within reach if states worked together.

The second meeting opened last Monday in a ceremony which was addressed, among others, by Vladimir Petrovsky, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva; Adolf Ogi, President of the Confederation of Switzerland; and Princess Astrid of Belgium. The speakers expressed their commitment to the creation of a world free of mines. Also participating in the ceremony were landmine survivors coming from 13 different countries who talked about their experiences. The motto of the meeting was 'Every Minute Counts.' By the end of the meeting, 107 countries had become States Parties to the Convention. ...

President's Action Programme

According to the President's Action Programme, Argentina and Canada, in cooperation with the Organization of American States and the United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs, would host the seminar on stockpile destruction in Buenos Aires on November 6 and 7, 2000. Also, Hungary and Canada would host a seminar in early 2001 on the unique challenges associated with the destruction of PFM mines.

On the general status and operation of the Convention, France and Canada, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity, would organize a conference on the universalization and implementation of the Conference in Africa, to be hosted by Mali in Bamako on 15 and 16 February 15 and 16, 2001. Canada would also host a workshop in Ottawa in November 2000 to prepare detailed recommendations in time for possible review in December 2000 by the Standing Committee on the status and operation of the Convention.

Decisions and Recommendations

The adopted intersessional work programme stated that as opposed to the current six periods of meetings, totalling six weeks in duration, only three periods of meetings would be held annually, including the main meeting of the States Parties. Further, in the interest of promoting efficiency, the Standing Committees for mine clearance and technologies and for mine action would be combined into one committee entitled Mine Clearance and Related Technologies.

An amendment was also made to the reporting format of article 7 of the Convention, which states that in order to provide States Parties with the opportunity to report voluntarily on matters pertaining to compliance and implementation not covered by the formal reporting requirements contained in article 7, an additional form would be added. It was recommended that States Parties consider using the form to report on activities undertaken with respect to article 7, in particular to report on assistance provided for the care, rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration of mine victims.

The meeting also recommended the establishment of a Coordinating Committee of Co-Chairs of the Standing Committees of Experts to ensure a high degree of coordination of their work to facilitate the successful implementation of the Convention. ..."

III. Landmine Monitor Report 2000

'Landmine Monitor Report 2000: Toward a Mine-Free World,' Published by the ICBL, September 7; 'Key Findings,' ICBL summary, http://www.icbl.org.

"On 7 September 2000, the ...ICBL released the second annual report of its Landmine Monitor initiative: a 1,115-page book, titled Landmine Monitor Report 2000: Toward a Mine-Free World. The report is the most comprehensive book to date on the global landmine situation, containing information on every country in the world with respect to mine use, production, trade, stockpiling, humanitarian demining and mine survivor assistance. ...

Overall, the major finding of this report is that while anti-personnel mines continue to be laid and take far too many victims, the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the ban movement more generally are having a major impact globally. This progress is shown by:

  • the growing number of governments joining and fully implementing the treaty...;
  • reduced use of the weapon in recent years;
  • a dramatic drop in production (from 54 known producers to 16);
  • an almost complete halt in trade (not a single significant shipment identified in 1999/2000);
  • increased destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines (more than 22 million destroyed by over 50 nations, including some 10 million since March 1999);
  • increased funding for humanitarian mine action (more than $211 million in 1999 alone, an increase of about one-third over 1998);
  • fewer mine victims in key affected countries including Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia and Mozambique;
  • more land demined (in 1999 seven of the largest humanitarian mine/UXO clearance programs cleared a combined total of more than 168 million square meters of land).
Other key findings of the Landmine Monitor Report 2000, which focused on a reporting period from the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty in March 1999 to mid -2000, include:
  • Landmine Monitor research identifies eighty-eight nations that are affected to some degree by landmines and/or unexploded ordnance (UXO), a higher number than previously thought.
  • Landmine Monitor research indicates that there have been new mine/UXO victims in seventy-one countries since March 1999. A majority (39) of these countries were at peace, not war. The countries with the greatest number of new victims in this time period appear to be Afghanistan, Cambodia, and, surprisingly, Burma. Significant numbers of new victims are also found in Angola, Chechnya, and Kosovo.
  • Organized humanitarian mine action programs of some sort are taking place in forty-one countries. Surveys or assessments have been carried out in 24 nations, and the first major Level One Impact Survey was completed in Yemen in July 2000.
  • Landmine Monitor found no credible, verifiable evidence of any State Party violating the core prohibitions in the Mine Ban Treaty, those banning use, production, and trade.
  • In the period from the entry into force of the Treaty in March 1999 to mid 2000, it appears likely that there was new use of anti-personnel mines in 20 conflicts by eleven governments and at least 30 rebel groups/non-state actors.
  • In addition to ongoing use of anti-personnel mines by treaty signatory Angola, it appears that two other treaty signatories, Burundi and Sudan, used mines in 1999-2000.
  • There was use of anti-personnel mines in three new outbreaks of fighting since March 1999: in Chechnya by Russian forces and Chechen rebels, in the Philippines by three rebel groups and in Kashmir by Pakistan-backed militants, and allegedly Pakistan Army troops.
  • The heaviest use of mines since March 1999 occurred in Chechnya, especially by Russian forces, and in Kosovo, primarily by Yugoslav forces, but also by the Kosovo Liberation Army. Mine use in Chechnya continues to this day. Humanitarian clearance operations in Kosovo have also had to cope with an estimated 15,000 or more unexploded cluster bomblets dropped by NATO aircraft. Extensive use by Mine Ban Treaty non-signatories in these two conflicts alone likely means that more mines were used in this Landmine Monitor reporting period than the previous one.
  • There was ongoing, and in some instances increased, use of mines in Burma (Myanmar) by government forces and at least ten ethnic armed groups, in Sri Lanka by government and rebel forces, in Nepal by Maoist rebels, in Afghanistan by opposition forces, in Angola by government and rebel forces, in the Democratic Republic of Congo by government and rebel forces, in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border conflict by Eritrean forces, in Senegal by rebel forces, in Uganda by rebel forces, in Somalia by various factions, in Colombia by rebel groups, in South Lebanon by Israel and non-state actors, in Georgia by non-state actors, and in Turkey and Northern Iraq by rebel forces.
  • Continued, but unconfirmed, allegations have been made of new use in this period by the armies of three Mine Ban Treaty States Parties - Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe - in the complicated regional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • While 29 countries that had previously signed the Mine Ban Treaty formally ratified it since March 1999, only three new nations joined the treaty (Tajikistan, Liberia, and Nauru).
  • Landmine Monitor estimates that there are more than 250 million anti-personnel mines in the arsenals of 105 nations, with the biggest estimated to be China (110 million), Russia (60-70 million), Belarus (10-15 million), United States (11 million), Ukraine (10 million), Pakistan (6 million), and India (4-5 million).
  • Twenty-one Mine Ban Treaty nations have completely destroyed their stockpiles, and another 24 are in the process. Seventeen treaty States Parties have yet to begin destruction, which must be completed with four years. ..."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.