6 November 2007

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



This is the text of a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today to the ninth annual conference, in Geneva, of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (delivered on his behalf by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva):

I am pleased to send greetings to this ninth annual conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

Landmines and booby-traps are among the most distressing and pernicious armaments used in armed conflicts.  Both during and after hostilities, they kill and maim civilians.  They cause excessive, yet random, suffering to combatants.  They prolong the horrendous consequences of armed conflicts.  Their developmental and humanitarian impact on post-conflict societies threatens future generations.

These weapons also aggravate the heavy economic and human toll of war.  Their complete elimination remains an international priority.  For its part, the United Nations will continue to support efforts towards the worldwide elimination of landmines.

Amended Protocol II is an essential element of this process.  The eve of the tenth anniversary of its entry into force is an excellent opportunity to review its status and operation, to address concerns associated with the weapons it covers and to exchange information on developments and technologies aimed at protecting civilians against the inherent indiscriminate effect of landmines.

Universal adherence to this instrument is of primary importance.  So far, 88 States have consented to be bound by the Protocol.  More efforts are required to expand this number, especially with developing countries and States affected by mines and explosive remnants of war.  I am strongly encouraged by the steps taken at the third review conference, in particular the adoption of the Plan of Action to Promote the Universality and the Sponsorship Programme.

But more action is needed.  I strongly appeal to those countries that have not yet expressed consent, to do so as soon as possible, particularly those States parties that acceded to the original Protocol II.

I also take this opportunity to call upon those States that have not yet done so to ratify the other international treaties which form the legal framework of mine action, namely the Conventional Weapons Convention Protocol V, the Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I urge you all to spare no efforts to rid the earth of landmines, and I wish you every success in your deliberations.

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For information media • not an official record