|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
INTEGRATE REMOVAL, DESTRUCTION OF EXPLOSIVE WAR REMNANTS INTO MINE ACTION,
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IN MESSAGE MARKING PROTOCOL’S ENTRY INTO FORCE
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the States parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to mark the entry into force of Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War, as delivered by Nobuaki Tanaka, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, in Geneva, today,
I am delighted to send my greetings to this gathering on the occasion of the entry into force of this important multilateral, legally binding instrument.
Wars do not always end with the last gunshot or the signing of a ceasefire agreement. Long after hostilities cease, the human consequences continue. People continue to be killed or injured by unexploded or abandoned explosive ordnance. These remnants of war, some of which can remain in place for decades, are a threat to civilians and military personnel alike and impede humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction and development.
The States parties to this Convention merit global recognition for their determination to fight the indiscriminate and inhumane impact of these hidden killers. I would like to commend, in particular the  States which have agreed to be bound by Protocol V.
Today does indeed mark significant progress. However, the entry into force of a legal instrument is not an end in itself, but rather, the beginning of a long series of actions. You, the States parties, now bear the primary responsibility for the Protocol’s implementation. Your success will be judged by your ability to overcome many difficult challenges. You will have to strongly support the clearance, removal and destruction of explosive remnants of war, and integrate those activities into mine action programmes. You will have to mobilize resources, share experiences and information, and cooperate closely and effectively with others.
I urge those States that have not yet done so, to adhere to this instrument. I also call upon them, pending their adherence, to implement the Protocol’s provisions on a voluntary basis and to take all necessary measures to protect civilian populations and humanitarian personnel from the horrendous effects of explosive remnants of war.
This is a matter of survival for millions of civilians. I urge you all to spare no efforts to rid the world completely of this deadly menace, and wish you all success in pursuing that noble goal.
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