Ottawa Treaty

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Ottawa Treaty
(Mine Ban Treaty)
Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
Ottawa Treaty members.svg
  States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty
Drafted18 September 1997
Signed3 December 1997
LocationOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Effective1 March 1999
ConditionRatifications by 40 states
Signatories133
Parties160 (Complete List)
DepositarySecretary-General of the United Nations
LanguagesArabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish
 
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Ottawa Treaty
(Mine Ban Treaty)
Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
Ottawa Treaty members.svg
  States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty
Drafted18 September 1997
Signed3 December 1997
LocationOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Effective1 March 1999
ConditionRatifications by 40 states
Signatories133
Parties160 (Complete List)
DepositarySecretary-General of the United Nations
LanguagesArabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish

The Ottawa Treaty or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, officially known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, aims at eliminating anti-personnel landmines (AP-mines) around the world. To date, there are 160 States Parties to the treaty. Two states have signed but not ratified while 34 UN states are non-signatories, making a total of 36 United Nations states not party.[1]

Contents

Implementation

Besides ceasing the production and development of anti-personnel mines, a party to the treaty must destroy its stockpile of anti-personnel mines within four years, although it may retain a small number for training purposes (mine-clearance, detection, etc.). Within ten years after ratifying the treaty, the country should have cleared all of its mined areas. This is a difficult task for many countries, but at the annual meetings (see below) they may request an extension and assistance. The treaty also calls on States Parties to provide assistance to mine-affected persons in their own country and to provide assistance to other countries in meeting their Mine Ban Treaty obligations.[2][3]

The treaty covers only anti-personnel mines. It does not address mixed mines, anti-tank mines, remote controlled claymore mines, anti-handling devices (booby-traps) and other "static" explosive devices.

Destruction of stockpiles

According to the 2009 Landmine Monitor Report, signatory nations have destroyed more than 44 million mines since the treaty's entry into force on 1 March 1999. Eighty-six countries have completed the destruction of their stockpiles, and another 63 countries have declared that they did not possess stockpiles to destroy.[4]

Retention of Landmines

Article 3 of the treaty permits countries to retain landmines for use in training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques. Seventy-one countries have taken this option. In total, 197,000 mines have been declared as being currently retained by various countries under Article 3.[5]

Landmine-free countries

Through 2008, eleven States had cleared all known mined areas from their territory: Bulgaria, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, FYR Macedonia, Malawi, Suriname, Swaziland, and Tunisia.[6] At the November-December 2009 Cartagena Summit for a Mine-Free World, Albania, Greece, Rwanda, and Zambia were also declared mine-free.[7]

On 2 December 2009, Rwanda was declared free of landmines.[8] The announcement was made at the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World in Colombia. It follows a three year campaign by 180 Rwandan soldiers, supervised by the Mine Awareness Trust and trained in Kenya, to remove over 9,000 mines laid in the country between 1990 and 1994.[8] The soldiers checked and cleared 1.3 million square metres (1.3 square km) of land in twenty minefields.[8] The official Cartagena Summit came after the Rwandan Ministry of Defence's own announcement of the completion of the demining process on 29 November 2009.[9] Under article 5 of the Ottawa Treaty, Rwanda was requested to become mine-free by 1 December 2010.[9] On 18 June 2010, Nicaragua was declared free of landmines.[10] On June 14 2011, Nepal was declared a landmine-free zone (the second country to be landmine-free in Asia). [11] In December, 2011, Burundi was declared landmine free.[12]

Signatories

The original international citizens initiative launched in 1997 by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines gained 855,000 signatories worldwide. The Convention gained 122 country signatures when it opened for signing on 3 December 1997 in Ottawa, Canada. Currently, there are 160 States Parties to the Treaty.[13] Thirty-four countries have not signed the treaty and two more are have signed but did not ratify. The states that have not signed the treaty includes a majority of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: China, the United States and Russia.

Criticism

Ratification has not been universal, and most landmine production occurs in countries that do not currently intend to ratify the treaty. So far 35 countries have not signed the treaty; nonsignatories include Russia, United States, China, Somalia, Myanmar, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Egypt, India, Israel and Iraq.[14] Furthermore, organized state actors are capable of mapping and marking of minefields and demining after the conflict has ended, which reduces the hazards to civilians.[15] In contrast, indiscriminate dispersal is typically done by parties that already flout the laws of war, as in using mines as a weapon for state terrorism in a protracted civil war, where international treaties have little effect.

Opponents of banning landmines make several points, among them that mines are a cheap and therefore cost-effective area denial weapon. When used correctly, it is a defensive weapon that harms only an attacker,[16] unlike ranged weapons such as ballistic missiles that are most effective if used for preemptive attacks. In addition, the psychological effect of mines increases the threshold to attack and thus reduces the risk of war.[15]

The Ottawa treaty does not cover all types of unexploded ordnance. Cluster bombs, for example, introduce the same problem as mines: unexploded bomblets can remain a hazard for civilians long after a conflict has ended. A separate Convention on Cluster Munitions was drafted in 2008 and came into effect in 2010. However, its adoption has not been as widespread as the Ottawa Treaty. Paradoxically, the Ottawa Treaty then leads to increased adoption of cluster munitions, which can be more dangerous to civilians.[15] In theory, mines could be replaced by manually triggered Claymore mines, but this requires the posting of a sentry and makes this much more expensive than using other indiscriminate weapons such as cluster bombs or artillery bombardment.

Little progress in actual reduction of mine usage has been achieved. In 2011, the number of landmines dispersed is higher than ever since 2004, landmines being dispersed in Libya, Syria, Israel and Burma.[17]

Review Conferences

Annual meetings

Annual meetings of the treaty member states are held at different locations around the world. These meetings provide a forum to report on what has been accomplished, indicate where additional work is needed and seek any assistance they may require.

UN General Assembly Annual Resolutions

A recurrent opportunity for States to indicate their support for the ban on antipersonnel mines is their vote on the annual UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. UNGA Resolution 63/42, for example, was adopted on 2 December 2008 by a vote of 163 in favor, none opposed, and 18 abstentions. Of the 39 states not party to the treaty, 18 voted in favor, 18 abstained, and three were absent.

Since the first UNGA resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the number of states voting in favor has ranged from a low of 139 in 1999 to a high of 164 in 2007. The number of states abstaining has ranged from a high of 23 in 2002 and 2003 to a low of 17 in 2005 and 2006. Several states that consistently abstained or were absent are now voting in favor, including Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), the Marshall Islands, and Morocco.[33]

Participants in the formation process

Diana, Princess of Wales

The Ottawa Treaty was ardently championed by Diana, Princess of Wales. In January 1997, she visited Angola and walked twice through a minefield.[citation needed] In January 1997, Angola's population was approximately 10 million and had about 10–20 million land mines in place from its civil war.[34] In August 1997, she visited Bosnia with the Landmine Survivors Network. Her work with landmines focused on the injuries and deaths inflicted on children.

When the Second Reading of the Landmines Bill took place in 1998 in the British House of Commons, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook praised Diana and paid tribute to her work on landmines:

All honourable Members will be aware from their postbags of the immense contribution made by Diana, Princess of Wales, to bringing home to many of our constituents the human costs of landmines. The best way in which to record our appreciation of her work, and the work of NGOs that have campaigned against landmines, is to pass the Bill, and to pave the way towards a global ban on landmines.[35]

Lloyd Axworthy

In his Canadian Foreign Affairs portfolio (1996–2000), Lloyd Axworthy became internationally known for his advancement of the concept of human security and, in particular, of need to ratify the Ottawa Treaty. For his leadership against landmines, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (1997).[36][37]

See also

References

  1. ^ ICBL Website, www.icbl.org
  2. ^ ICBL, "Mine Ban Treaty: Victim Assistance," http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Work/MBT/Victim-Assistance
  3. ^ ICBL, "Mine Ban Treaty: Other Obligations," http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Work/MBT/Other-Obligations
  4. ^ Landmine Monitor Report 2009, pp. 16-17.
  5. ^ Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 19.
  6. ^ Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 1.
  7. ^ ICBL, "Four New Countries Declared Mine-Free at Landmine Summit," http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Library/News-Articles/Work/pr-4dec2009 (4 December 2009)
  8. ^ a b c "Rwanda – first landmine-free country". BBC News. 2 December 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8388822.stm. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Rwanda: Country Declared Mine-Free". All Africa. 30 November 2009. http://allafrica.com/stories/200911300008.html. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Urquhart, Wendy (20 June 2010). "Nicaraguan landmines finally removed after 80s war". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/latin_america/10359559.stm. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  11. ^ "Nepal's PM detonates its last landmine". CNN. 15 June 2011. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/06/14/nepal.landmines/. 
  12. ^ http://www.maginternational.org/usa/news/burundi-country-declared-landmine-free/
  13. ^ States Parties, International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  14. ^ http://www.icbl.org/treaty/snp
  15. ^ a b c http://web.archive.org/web/20071101133429/http://www.kansalliset.fi/node/21
  16. ^ http://web.eduskunta.fi/Resource.phx/pubman/templates/1.htx?id=4512
  17. ^ http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/J%C3%A4rjest%C3%B6+Maamiinoja+asennettu+enemm%C3%A4n+kuin+vuosiin/a1305549920622
  18. ^ a b Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World
  19. ^ Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World
  20. ^ http://www.icbl.org/1msp
  21. ^ http://www.icbl.org/2msp
  22. ^ http://www.icbl.org/3msp
  23. ^ http://www.icbl.org/4msp
  24. ^ http://www.icbl.org/5msp
  25. ^ http://www.icbl.org/treaty/meetings/6msp
  26. ^ http://www.icbl.org/treaty/meetings/7msp
  27. ^ http://www.icbl.org/treaty/meetings/8msp
  28. ^ http://www.icbl.org/campaign/calendar/ninth_meeting_of_states_parties_to_the_anti_personnel_mine_ban_convention
  29. ^ http://www.icbl.org/treaty/meetings/9msp
  30. ^ The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/25/AR2009112503680.html. [dead link]
  31. ^ "APminebanconvention.org". 10MSP. http://www.apminebanconvention.org/meetings-of-the-states-parties/10msp/. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  32. ^ "11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty". http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Treaty/MBT/Annual-Meetings/11msp. Retrieved 18 January 2012. 
  33. ^ Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 6.
  34. ^ Angola's Landmines
  35. ^ Charity – Diana, Princess of Wales
  36. ^ cities plus – Bio Sheets
  37. ^ Axworthy, Lloyd

External links