Handicap International update on the Mine Ban Treaty
ICBL condemned Israel’s planting of new antipersonnel mines along the Syrian border with the Golan Heights – On 18 August 2011, ICBL announced on its website that “Recent reports have indicated that the mines are being laid to prevent the movement of protestors from Syria into the disputed territory.” “There can be absolutely no justification for the use of these indiscriminate weapons, and to hear that these mines are aimed at civilians is particularly shocking,” said Kasia Derlicka, Director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). In a press release on 18 August, Handicap International called on Israel “to refrain from resorting to this weapon declared illegal by a vast majority of countries.”
Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings on the Mine Ban Treaty
To ensure ongoing and effective implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, five Standing Committees have met in Geneva from 20 to 24 June 2011.
Several key announcements were made during the conference
Nigeria declared itself to be mine-free, but mines were recently used in Burma, Sudan and Libya.
ICBL member Human Rights Watch confirmed antipersonnel landmine use by Libyan government forces in the Nafusa mountains. In total, Human Rights Watch has confirmed government use of five types of landmines in seven separate locations in Libya.
The southern Sudan Demining Authority said that landmines have been used recently in the region by "renegade" rebel groups, but also said that southern Sudan intends join the Mine Ban Treaty after it formally becomes an independent state on 9 July 2011.
Germany announced that it had discovered an area suspected to contain landmines and cluster munition remnants at a former Soviet firing range at Wittstock in the eastern part of the country.
Turkey, which missed its stockpile destruction deadline in 2008, declared that it will complete the destruction of its remaining antipersonnel mines by the end of August 2011.
Belarus, Ukraine and Greece, the other States Parties that also missed their stockpile destruction deadlines, described the measures they are taking to destroy their mines;
Algeria, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo and Eritrea requested extensions to their clearance deadlines.
Finland confirmed it will accede to the Ottawa Treaty in 2012 and Poland said to complete ratification in 2012.
Tuvalu, participating for the first time, said it intends to join the MBT.
ICBL-CMC on the U.S., non-state armed groups, Finland and Poland
On 20 June 2011, ICBL-CMC called on all States Parties to the MBT “to communicate with the US at the highest possible level about the importance, desirability, and feasibility of the US joining the Treaty.” “From our discussions with numerous US officials, we firmly believe that such engagement by a significant number of States Parties would make a huge difference,” ICBL-CMC said.
Several ICBL-CMC members engaged with non-state armed groups, working toward a mine ban and support for humanitarian mine action in areas controlled or influenced by non-state armed groups. According to ICBL-CMC, this resulted in the no use pledge from Libya's Transitional National Council, the destruction in February this year of over 1,500 antipersonnel landmines by the Polisario Front of Western Sahara, and another 380 antipersonnel mines by Puntland province of Somalia, both of which are signatories to Geneva Call's Deed of Commitment.
ICBL-CMC engaged again with the President of the European Parliament, who in his press release on the occasion of 4 April urged Finland and Poland to fulfill their pledge to join the treaty by 2012 in order to strengthen "Europe's credibility in the fight against antipersonnel mines."
ICBL-CMC called on “Asian states, some neighboring with the 11MSP host country - as Myanmar and Vietnam, and all other countries in Asia and elsewhere - to take bold steps to renounce mines and join the mine ban community at the 11MSP in Cambodia.”
Use of antipersonnel mines in Turkey, Libya and Sudan
On 24 June, the ICBL showed great concern about alleged use of antipersonnel mines. Concerning allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by one or more members of the Turkish Armed Forces, ICBL-CMC requested clarification from Turkey on the scope of the original investigation, plans to carry out a broader investigation, the domestic law. ICBL-CMC raised the question of compliance concerning Libya and Sudan.
For more information
On the Intersessional Standing Committee meetings on the MBT, June 2011
More information from the Intersessionals on Reporting, Victim Assistance, Victim Assistance Funding will be given in following HIB Updates.
On landmine use in Libya