30 August 1996


Press Release
SC/6261



OPERATIONAL DEMINING SHOULD BE INTEGRAL PART OF PEACE-KEEPING MANDATES, ACCORDING TO SECURITY COUNCIL IN PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT

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While stating that primary responsibility for demining in the context of peace-keeping activities lies with parties responsible for the laying of the mines, the Security Council this morning went on to say that operational demining should be, wherever appropriate, an integral part of peace-keeping mandates.

In the statement, read by its President, Tono Eitel (Germany), the Council said such demining would facilitate the implementation of those mandates and better enable the Secretary-General to allocate appropriate resources towards achieving their objectives. The statement was in follow-up to an open debate in the Council on 15 August on "demining in the context of United Nations peace-keeping".

The Council emphasized the importance of coordination by the United Nations of activities related to mine clearance in the context of United Nations peace-keeping, including those by regional organizations, in particular in the areas of information and training.

Noting that early deployment of mine-clearance units would often be important to the effectiveness of a peace-keeping operation, the Council encouraged the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations to examine options for achieving it. Member States were also encouraged to examine whether and in what form they might be able to help in that respect.

The Council called for improvement in the coordination and clear delineation of responsibilities between the Department of Peace-keeping Operations and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs as well as with other United Nations agencies involved in demining to avoid duplication and to guarantee a coherent and integrated approach towards the whole range of short- and long-term demining needs.

The statement said that parties to a conflict with primary responsibility for laying mines should desist from further mine laying once a peace-keeping operation was established. They were also obliged to facilitate humanitarian and military demining efforts by providing detailed maps and


other relevant information on mines already laid by them and by contributing financially or otherwise to their removal.

The Security Council welcomed the establishment by the Secretary-General of a United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Demining as a necessary and timely mechanism to channel funds to humanitarian demining operations. It appealed to Member States to contribute to the Fund and to others set up by the Secretary-General for certain peace-keeping operations with demining elements.

The international community was also requested to intensify efforts to assist interested parties to a conflict with mine clearance, mine awareness and training programmes in the context of United Nations peace-keeping operations.

The Council encouraged the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations to intensify its consideration of the operational demining aspects of peace-keeping operations, including an analysis of mine-clearance experience in previous peace-keeping operations.

The text of the statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1996/37, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has reviewed the issue of demining in the context of United Nations peace-keeping and has given careful consideration to the views expressed in the open debate under the item "Demining in the context of United Nations Peace-keeping" in its 3689th meeting on 15 August 1996.

"The Security Council, bearing in mind its responsibilities with regard to United Nations peace-keeping, notes that the widespread indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines in areas of United Nations peace-keeping operations poses serious impediments to such operations and to the safety of United Nations and other international personnel. Against this background, the Council states the following:

"1. Operational demining should be, wherever appropriate, an important element and an integral part of peace-keeping mandates. This will facilitate the implementation of those mandates and better enable the Secretary-General to allocate appropriate resources towards achieving their objectives.

"2. The early deployment of mine-clearance units will often be important to the effectiveness of a peace-keeping operation. The Council encourages the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations to examine options for achieving such early deployment. It also encourages Member States to examine whether and in what form they might be able to help in this respect.


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6261 3693rd Meeting (AM) 30 August 1996

"3. The tasks of, on the one hand, operational mine clearance during peace-keeping operations, which is the responsibility of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations, and, on the other hand, longer-term humanitarian mine-clearance activities, which fall under the responsibility of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, are different. The Council is, however, aware of linkages and complementarities between different elements of conflict resolution as well as of the need to ensure a smooth transition from demining as a peace-keeping requirement to demining as part of peace-building in a follow-up phase.

"The Security Council, thus, is of the opinion that coordination and a clear delineation of responsibilities between the two Departments as well as with regard to other United Nations agencies dealing with demining could be further improved so as to avoid duplication of effort and to guarantee a coherent and integrated approach towards the whole range of short and long- term demining needs. With particular reference to paragraph 51 of the report of the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations of 7 May 1996 (A/51/130), the Council requests the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts aiming in this direction.

"The Security Council emphasizes the importance of coordination by the United Nations of activities related to mine clearance in the context of United Nations peace-keeping, including those by Regional Organizations, in particular in the areas of information and training.

"4. The primary responsibility for demining in the context of United Nations peace-keeping lies with parties responsible for the laying of mines. Parties to a conflict must desist from further mine laying once a peace- keeping operation is established. They are also obliged to facilitate humanitarian and military demining efforts by providing detailed maps and other relevant information on those mines that have already been laid by them and by contributing financially or otherwise to their removal.

"5. The international community should intensify, multilaterally or bilaterally, its efforts in assisting those parties to a conflict which have shown their readiness to cooperate with mine clearance, mine awareness and training programmes in the context of United Nations peace-keeping operations. In this connection, the Council welcomes the establishment by the Secretary- General of a United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Demining as a necessary and timely mechanism to channel funding to humanitarian demining operations.

"The Security Council appeals to all States to contribute to this Fund as well as to other voluntary funds set up by the Secretary-General for certain peace-keeping operations which contain demining elements.


Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6261 3693rd Meeting (AM) 30 August 1996

"6. Demining activities should, as much as possible, make use of the appropriate modern mine-clearance technologies and specialized equipment and focus on the creation and strengthening of local demining capabilities; training programmes should attach particular importance to this aspect. Where this would be of benefit to the operational effectiveness of a peace-keeping operation, consideration should also be given to including provision for the training of local demining capability in mandates of peace-keeping operations.

"The Security Council encourages the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations, given its responsibility for a comprehensive review of the whole question of peace-keeping operations, to continue and intensify its considerations of the operational demining aspects of peace-keeping operations. These considerations might include an analysis of mine-clearance experience in previous peace-keeping operations.

"The Security Council is of the view that elements outlined in this statement are not exhaustive. The Council will thus keep this issue under review in the context of the establishment of peace-keeping operations and the consideration of specific mandates."

The meeting which began at 11:52 a.m. was adjourned at 11:58 a.m.

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