|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RECOMMITMENT TO RIDDING WORLD OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES,
ASSISTING SURVIVORS, 10 YEARS AFTER MINE-BAN CONVENTION’S ENTRY INTO FORCE
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
Ten years ago, the milestone Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction entered into force. Since the Convention’s inception, 156 countries have become States parties.
The Mine-Ban Convention commits Member States to prevent future suffering from anti-personnel mines, and also to resolve the existing landmine problem. The Secretary-General commends the dedicated efforts that States parties to the Mine-Ban Convention and mine action practitioners are pursuing to achieve the goal of a world free of anti-personnel landmines. These efforts include the tireless work of the United Nations, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
To illustrate the breadth of the international community’s commitment to removing landmines worldwide, one need only look at our massive ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, the Sudan and South Lebanon. In Afghanistan, over 81,000 anti-personnel mines were removed during 2008 by over 8,000 national staff. To date in the Sudan, collective efforts have opened over 29,000 kilometres of road, thereby increasing freedom of movement, reclaiming productive land and reviving trade. Altogether, more than 50 countries have received various United Nations support in mine action. The United Nations Mine Action Team, comprising 14 United Nations departments, programmes, funds and agencies, has coordinated this vital assistance for more than a decade.
The achievements of the Mine-Ban Convention are quantifiable and many; however, there are still formidable challenges: landmines continue to kill and injure every year, they hinder social and economic development, and represent a serious obstacle for humanitarian operations throughout the world. There are still a lot of mines to be removed from farmers’ fields in Cambodia. There are more mines to remove from roads in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and from villages in Somalia. This noble work must go on. The Convention continues to provide the framework and tools to fight against anti-personnel landmines.
The Secretary-General strongly urges all States that have not yet done so to accede, as soon as possible, to the Mine-Ban Convention. He applauds States parties’ efforts and urges them to stand by their commitments. The international community should now seize the opportunity of the upcoming Second Review Conference, to be convened in Cartagena, Colombia, in November, to take stock of the achievements of the Convention, to identify and overcome the challenges and to pursue, in the most effective manner, the Convention’s faithful and fullest implementation.
This Convention exists because people and Governments across the globe agreed that anti-personnel landmines have no place in our world. On this anniversary, let us recommit ourselves to the task of eliminating anti-personnel landmines, assisting survivors and building a more prosperous and peaceful world.
* *** *For information media • not an official record