Declaration of the Fifth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
As adopted at its last plenary meeting on 19 September 20031
1. We, the States parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, gathered in Bangkok along with other States, international organizations and institutions and non-governmental organizations, reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the total eradication of anti-personnel mines and to overcoming the insidious and inhumane effects of these weapons. Meeting one year before our First Review Conference, we commit ourselves to pursue, with renewed vigour, efforts to clear mined areas, assist victims, destroy stockpiled anti-personnel mines and promote universal adherence to this important instrument.
2. Meeting in Thailand, a mine-affected country in one of the most mine-affected regions, we are reminded of our common goal in achieving a mine-free world, our dedication towards the goal and ongoing challenges we must overcome both individually and collectively.
3. Recognizing both the human suffering caused by anti-personnel mines and the economic potential of mined areas, we urge countries in Asia and in other regions of the world to build on the momentum of the Fifth Meeting to generate additional public awareness of the humanitarian impact of anti-personnel mines and the benefits from joining the Convention.
4. We recognize that this first-ever gathering of the States parties in Asia is a significant step towards the total eradication of anti-personnel mines. We highlight the importance of universal acceptance of the Convention, which builds mutual confidence between neighbouring States and contributes to peace and security as well as to social and economic development.
5. We celebrate the growing support for the Convention, formally accepted by 136 States, with Belarus, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, the Gambia, Guyana, Lithuania, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste having joined the Convention since the Fourth Meeting of the States Parties. With an additional 12 countries that signed, but have not yet ratified the Convention, the number of States parties and signatories now totals 148, including more than 40 mine-affected States.
6. We recognize that the international norm established by the Convention is being demonstrated by the successful record of implementation of the Convention, including the conduct of many States not party to the Convention respecting the provisions therein. This record is evidenced by the fact that more than 110 States parties now do not possess stockpiled anti-personnel mines, including 50 which have reported that they completed stockpile destruction since the beginning of the process to establish the Convention. A further 11 States parties have taken steps to destroy their stockpiles.
7. We are encouraged that over the past year, a considerable amount of land was cleared of anti-personnel mines and the first of the States parties to have reported mined areas has indicated that it has completed its clearance obligations. While we remain deeply concerned at the growing number of victims, we are encouraged that there has been a reduction in the number of new victims in some of the world's most mine-affected States and that efforts are being made to address the needs of those individuals and communities affected by anti-personnel mines.
8. We note with great satisfaction that over US$ 1.6 billion in resources has been generated since the Convention was negotiated to address the global landmine problem, including more than US$ 180 million in resources provided by mine-affected States parties themselves.
9. While recognizing the success of the Convention, we remain deeply concerned that anti-personnel mines continue to kill, maim and threaten the lives of countless innocent people each day, that the terror of mines prevents individuals from reclaiming their lives and that the lasting impact of these weapons denies communities the opportunity to rebuild long after conflicts have ended.
10. We deplore any use of anti-personnel mines. Such use is contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention and exacerbates the humanitarian problems already caused by the use of these weapons. We expect those States, which have declared their commitment to the object and purpose of the Convention and which continue to use anti-personnel mines, to recognize that this is a clear violation of their solemn commitment. We call upon all States concerned to respect their commitments.
11. We urge all those who continue to use, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain and/or transfer anti-personnel landmines, to cease immediately and to join us in the task of eradicating these weapons. We call upon States outside the Convention to ratify or accede to the Convention. We also call upon all States in the process of formally accepting the obligations of the Convention to provisionally apply the terms of the Convention. We also underline the need to engage more actively States not party to the Convention by putting greater emphasis on the benefits of their joining the Convention.
12. We reaffirm that progress to free the world from anti-personnel mines will be enhanced if non-State actors embrace the international norm established by this Convention. We urge all non-State actors to cease and renounce the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines according to the principles and norms of international humanitarian law, and to allow mine action to take place. We welcome the efforts of non-governmental organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations in engaging non-State actors on a ban on anti-personnel mines and express our appreciation for the work of these organizations as well as our desire that individual States parties that are in a position to do so facilitate this work.
13. Recognizing the need to secure full compliance with all obligations of the Convention, we reaffirm our commitment to effectively implement the Convention and to comply fully with its provisions. We do so in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that characterizes this process. In the event of serious concerns of non-compliance with any of the obligations of the Convention, we acknowledge our individual responsibility as States parties to apply the measures that we are obliged to take in accordance with article 9 of the Convention to prevent or suppress prohibited activities. And we acknowledge our responsibility to seek clarification of concerns of non-compliance in a cooperative spirit in accordance with article 8.
14. We recall that as soon as possible, but not later than 10 years after a State has become party to the Convention, that State party must destroy or ensure the destruction of all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control. We encourage mine-affected States parties, through the use of impact surveys and other means, to better understand the nature and scope of their landmine problems, to develop plans that are consistent with their Convention deadlines, to continue to implement mine-risk education, mine clearance and other mine-action programmes, including victim-assistance programmes, and to integrate these efforts into national development strategies. We urge further national, regional and international initiatives aimed at fulfilling these obligations.
15. We call upon all Governments and people to join in the common task to meet the enormous challenges of mine action, including victim assistance, and to provide the technical and financial assistance required. As States parties committed to the eradication of anti-personnel mines, we reiterate that assistance and cooperation for mine action will flow primarily to those that have forsworn the use of these weapons forever through adherence to, implementation of, and compliance with the Convention.
16. We call upon mine-affected States to act with urgency with respect to their responsibility to provide for the care, rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration of landmine victims, taking into account the specific needs of victims, their families and their communities. And we call upon all other actors to assist the efforts of these States, particularly by supporting programmes that uphold the dignity of victims and ensure an equalization of opportunities for them.
17. We recall that prior to our First Review Conference, the four-year deadline for the destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines will occur for an additional five States parties. At the same time, we congratulate those States parties that have already destroyed their stockpiles of anti-personnel mines and celebrate the fact that together we have destroyed more than 30 million mines.
18. We warmly welcome the substantial progress made during the Intersessional Work Programme, expressing our satisfaction that its work has been carried out in the Convention's tradition of partnership, dialogue, openness, cooperation and inclusiveness. We note with satisfaction the increased participation of States parties, other States and relevant organizations in the work of the Standing Committees and express our ongoing appreciation for the manner in which the Sponsorship Programme promotes widespread participation in our meetings. To take maximum advantage of the mechanisms available to us, we commit ourselves in the year leading to our First Review Conference to intensify our efforts in those areas most directly related to the core humanitarian aims of the Convention. We furthermore call upon all States parties - particularly mine-affected States parties and those in the process of destroying stockpiled mines - and other interested actors to continue to participate actively in the work of the Standing Committees.
19. We acknowledge the positive contributions made by the other innovative implementation mechanisms that we have created. We are pleased to see that the work of the Coordinating Committee has strengthened the performance of the Intersessional Work Programme. And we express our full satisfaction with the services of the Implementation Support Unit, established by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, pursuant to a mandate agreed to by the States parties, which is providing effective independent and professional support to us, the States parties, as we pursue the fulfilment of our responsibilities.
20. We express our gratitude to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and other relevant non-governmental organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and to regional and national organizations and agencies for their important and substantive contribution to the Intersessional Work Programme and to the overall implementation of the Convention. We thank the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining for its essential support and its commitment to the Intersessional Programme as well as the European Commission for its valuable support.
21. We appreciate the United Nations system's contributions to mine action and to the Intersessional Work Programme.
22. We call on Governments, relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations to strengthen their partnership with the media and the private sector to futher build public awareness with a view to achieving the universal acceptance of the Convention.
23. In reflecting upon our progress and accomplishments, and in considering the work that lies ahead, we commit ourselves to work together in all regions of the world and we reconfirm our conviction to make anti-personnel mines objects of the past, our obligation to assist those who have fallen victim to this terror, and our shared responsibility to the memories of those whose lives have been lost as a result of the use of these weapons, including those killed as a result of their dedication to helping others by clearing mined areas or providing humanitarian assistance.
24. In the process leading up to the First Review Conference, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2004, we call upon all States parties and other relevant actors to renew their commitments to the aims of the Convention and to ensure that the Conference will be a significant milestone in marking our achievements and assessing the challenges that remain.
APLC/MSP.5/2003/5, Part II.