SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR REVERSAL OF DECLINE IN RATIFICATIONS OF AMENDED
PROTOCOL ON USE OF MINES, BOOBY-TRAPS, OTHER DEVICES
Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Fifth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons delivered in Geneva today, 26 November, by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office in Geneva:
I send my best wishes to all participants in the Fifth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Amended Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices.
Amended Protocol II emerged as a timely response to human suffering. Since its adoption in 1996, it has served as an integrating and inclusive instrument for the elimination of the threat of landmines not banned by the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention. It has helped to trigger a wider movement for the total ban and destruction of anti-personnel mines. It has also helped to address in a balanced way both humanitarian considerations and the security concerns of many States.
However, the tremendous efforts undertaken by the international community pursuant to the protocol have not yet been sufficient. Landmines continue to take the lives of innocent civilians, to maim men, women and children indiscriminately, to aggravate the disastrous economic consequences of armed conflicts, and to threaten future generations.
So far, 73 States have either ratified the protocol or notified their consent to be bound by it. While additional States have adopted the protocol in recent years, the rate at which this is happening declined from 11 new ratifications in 2000 to six in 2001 and five in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
The international community should do its utmost to reverse this trend. The goal of universal membership needs to be brought significantly closer year by year. I therefore appeal to those countries that have not yet signed or ratified this instrument to do so as soon as possible, in the interest of promoting human security and preserving human life.
I wish you every success in all your deliberations.
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