|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES STATES TO RID EARTH OF ‘HIDDEN KILLERS’ -- BOOBY-TRAPS,
LANDMINES -- IN MESSAGE TO CONVENTION ON CERTAIN CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS MEETING
Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message, delivered by Timothy Caughley, Director, Conference on Disarmament Secretariat and Conference Support Branch and Deputy Secretary-General, Conference on Disarmament, to the eighth annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, in Geneva, 6 November:
I am pleased to send greetings to this eighth annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Landmines, booby-traps and other improvised explosive devices aggravate and prolong the horrendous consequences of armed conflict, threatening our societies and future generations. Both during and after hostilities, they kill indiscriminately and maim vulnerable civilians, especially women and children. They cause excessive, yet random, suffering of combatants. They endanger the lives of peacekeepers and humanitarian-aid workers, and hamper the repatriation and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons. And they impede post-conflict reconstruction.
The adoption of Amended Protocol II a decade ago strengthened the global regime on landmines. It showed that the States parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons are committed to saving lives and further developing international disarmament and humanitarian law.
Yet, threats from such weapons persist. Your meeting offers an opportunity to address current concerns, and to exchange information on how to better protect civilians. I urge you to also consider how to promote universal adherence to the Protocol, and strongly appeal to those countries that have not yet ratified this instrument to do so as soon as possible, particularly those States parties which have acceded to the original Protocol II.
Throughout the more than 40 years I have served in the United Nations, the Organization has sought to address the terrible impact of armed conflict. While it is encouraging that the importance of eliminating landmines of all shapes and sizes is so widely recognized, there is much work to do if we are to achieve that objective. I thank you for your commitment to ridding the earth of these hidden killers, and wish you every success in your deliberations.
* *** *For information media • not an official record