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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 53, December 2000 - January 2001

3rd Anniversary of Ottawa Treaty

December 4 marked the third anniversary of the opening of the Ottawa Convention for signature. As of that date, 139 countries had signed, and 109 had ratified, the accord, which aims to create a total, global ban on anti-personnel landmines. Landmine-possessing states still outside the treaty include China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Finland, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, North and South Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Most of these states have committed themselves to joining the Convention as soon as practicable. According to Jody Williams, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 together with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL): "It is time to put words into action. The civilian victims of landmines are tired of being told excuses. They are tired of being told that this nation has unique circumstances, that that nation has special security requirements. They are tired of being told that they must wait until this nation develops alternatives, or wait until that nation's neighbour has joined the ban. These are excuses, not justifications, and the excuses are costing lives and limbs every day."

An ICBL press release, while applauding progress made since December 1997, condemned "the current laying of mines by Russia, Uzbekistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Angola and DR Congo," adding that "Angola deserved special criticism because it has used mines after signing the Mine Ban Treaty (though it has not ratified)." ICBL Coordinator Elizabeth Bernstein appealed to "the dwindling number of governments and non-state actors that continue to use anti-personnel mines to stop immediately, and to join the civilized and compassionate international community that has banned this indiscriminate weapon that kills and maims far more civilians than soldiers..."

Reports: Anti-mine campaigners renew pressure, Associated Press, December 4; On mine ban anniversary, Nobel Prize campaign decries hold-outs, ICBL Press Release, December 4.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.