advocacy for mine action
CAMBODIA. Carrying banners and placards
on the danger of landmines, youth march in the national landmine
awareness day celebrations in Phnom Penh, the capital. There
are some 10 million landmines in the country, and one in 250
Cambodians has lost one or more limbs, 20% of them under the
age of 16.
Advocacy is the action component of mine action.
Advocacy is how kids, grownups, landmine survivors, and activists
all join together. They apply political pressure and force governments
to ban production and reduce their stockpiles of landmines.
The International Campaign
to Ban Landmines Calls For:
international ban on the use, production, stockpiling, and sale,
transfer, or export of antipersonnel landmines
signing, ratification, implementation, and monitoring of the
mine ban treaty
resources for humanitarian demining and mine awareness programs
resources for landmine victim rehabilitation and assistance
|The actions of advocates
have produced remarkable results during the past few years.
The most effective tool for reducing landmines is the 1997 Antipersonnel
Mine Ban Convention, which WAS OPENED FOR SIGNATURE in Ottawa
Canada. This international treaty which bans AP landmines came
into force in 1999. As of 2002, more than two-thirds of the
world’s countries have signed the treaty and are now States
Parties to the Convention.
As a result of the treaty, the
production and international sale and transfer of antipersonnel
landmines have almost stopped.
Stockpiles are being destroyed. Mined areas are being cleared
and put back into productive use. The general public and government
institutions in many countries have been sensitised to the importance
of action to eliminate the risks posed by landmines. The use
of antipersonnel landmines has been effectively stigmatised
in many conflict areas.
"Landmines Kill Kids". Family
protest outside the Whitehouse. Washington DC 1997.
The treaty sent a message of hope.
By adopting the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty, the international community
conveyed the message to affected populations that they have the right
to live free from the threat of landmines. The international community
told affected countries that they have the right to receive assistance
to become mine-free. These rights have become protected by international
law. The treaty creates a moral as well as legal obligation for governments
to provide assistance for mine action. It creates the same moral and
legal obligation for all people (citizens or soldiers) in armed conflicts
to stop using antipersonnel landmines. But these rights and obligations
will not be fulfilled without sustained political and financial commitments
at the highest levels of government.
Therefore, there is still more advocacy
work to be done. Humanitarian mine action,
from advocacy to mine clearance, must continue to develop and grow
if the vision of a world safe from the threat of landmines is to become
a reality. The United Nations, for its part, is committed to work
tirelessly towards this goal.