Update on the mine ban treaty

speaker at the Geneva conference
© Mary Wareham

Burma’s opposition leader called on US to join the MBT

Burma's recently freed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi added on 3 December 2010 her name to the list of Nobel Peace Laureates who have signed a letter to US President Obama, calling upon him to join the Mine Ban Treaty. Fifteen other Nobel Peace Laureates, including Jody Williams and Archbishop Tutu, have also signed the letter which was sent to Obama on 30 November 2010.


Tenth meeting of states parties (10th msp) to the Mine Ban Treaty

ICBL deplored extensions on clearance deadlines - The 10th MSP of the 156 States Parties granted requests for extensions on the ten year deadlines for clearing mined areas to Chad, Colombia, Denmark, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Zimbabwe. Colombia further announced it has passed a national legislation allowing civilian organizations to undertake demining work. The ICBL expressed concern on 3 December 2010 that requests for extensions have become the norm rather than the exception. Venezuela announced it has started clearance of its military bases.

A new Standing Committee on Cooperation and Assistance

One of the Recommendations included the establishment of a new “Standing Committee on Cooperation and Assistance”. ICBL commented that “the new committee would encourage more state-to-state cooperation - recognizing and reinforcing the ability and responsibility of all states in collaborating to meet treaty obligations.”

Call for sufficient funding 

ICBL called on states “to provide sufficient funding and to make efficient and effective use of such funding and other resources to meet this goal."

Synergies between conventions  

The 10th MSP further recommended to “pursue coherence in the scheduling of meetings of relevant instruments, particularly those meetings that deal with the clearance of explosive hazards and assistance to the victims of conventional weapons.” It also recommended to “regularly evaluate the potential for synergy in the work of various related instruments, while acknowledging the distinct legal obligations of each.”

Still missing the deadlines for stockpile destruction  

“Four States Parties are still in violation of the MBT for missing their four-year treaty-mandated deadline for destroying all their stockpiles of antipersonnel mines”, ICBL said and referred to Belarus, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine. Turkey reported it has nearly completed destruction, Belarus announced a company is identified to destroy its remaining 3 million mines, and Ukraine announced Norway will provide funds to allow it to begin large-scale destruction of its remaining 6 million mines. ICBL called it “disturbing” that Greece reported that its destruction program is suspended, with nearly 1 million mines left to destroy and was worried about the UK for making “a step back as it has been unable to announce new efforts in addressing landmine contamination in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, and indicated that it would rather provide funding for demining in other affected countries.” So far the UK has cleared three mined areas on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, and 113 areas remain contaminated.

US and Russia as observers

The United States attended the Geneva meeting as an observer for the second year, and announced “the review of its landmine policy was still underway, without confirming any date for completing the review and deciding on whether or not to join the Mine Ban Treaty.” Russia also attended the meeting as an observer and spoke for the first time ever at a MBT meeting, saying it "did not exclude" the possibility of joining the treaty in the future.
Poland and Finland joining by 2012 - The only two European countries not yet on board the treaty, Poland and Finland, confirmed they would join the treaty in 2012.
More on www.apminebanconvention.org/meetings-of-the-states-parties/10msp/ and www.icbl.org
For more information on Victim Assistance and International Cooperation and Assistance see the HIB Updates on Victim Assistance.

Upcoming events in 2011

June 20-24

Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional meetings in Geneva, Switzerland

November-December: 28/11-02/12

11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Phnom Penh, Cambodia