29 November 2005

Secretary-General Urges Destruction of Mine Stockpiles, in Message to Sixth Meeting of States Parties to Anti-Landmine Convention

Holding Talks in Croatia Underscores Magnitude of Long-lasting Humanitarian Impact of Mines, He Says

NEW YORK, 28 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the Sixth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, delivered by Agnes Marcaillou, Chief of Regional Disarmament Branch, Department for Disarmament Affairs, being held in Zagreb from today, 28 November, to 2 December:

I send warm greetings to this Sixth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.  A year ago, the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World celebrated this exceptionally successful Convention -- an international legally binding instrument banning a category of weapons with devastating humanitarian impact.  At the Summit, the States parties and all other stakeholders of the mine-action family reaffirmed their determination to achieve the goal of a world free of anti-personnel mines, reviewed progress made in the implementation of the Convention, and identified remaining challenges.  All States parties adopted a powerful action plan to overcome these challenges.

Since the Convention came into force in March 1999, remarkable progress has been achieved.  Already 147 countries have ratified or adhered to the Convention, and the number is rising constantly.  Most of the States parties have met their obligation to destroy mine stockpiles.  Production, sale and transfer of anti-personnel mines have almost stopped.  Large mined areas have been cleared. Victims are receiving more and better assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration.  A system has been put into practice for assisting the parties in fulfilling treaty obligations.

The Convention has given rise to unique cooperation among States parties, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and civil society as a whole.  Rarely have we witnessed the international community so willing to speak with one voice.  Rarely have we seen an international partnership so determined to bring an end to human suffering.

Yet anti-personnel mines continue to kill, maim and threaten the lives of civilians, and the long-lasting humanitarian impact of these inhuman weapons continues to deny communities the opportunity to rebuild long after the end of the conflicts.  After meetings in Africa, Central America and Asia, this week's meeting in a mine-affected country located in the heart of Europe underscores the magnitude of the problem.

I therefore call upon you to honour your commitment to fulfil your obligations under the Convention -- including completing the destruction of stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines, clearing mined areas within the deadlines, and, for those in a position to do so, rendering assistance to affected States and victims in need.  The United Nations is fully committed to further strengthening its partnership with you to help, as appropriate, all States parties meet their obligations.  This will require an urgent increase in domestic and international resources.

We must also continue to address the concerns associated with anti-vehicle mines and explosive remnants of war.  The work being conducted through the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons is critical to ensuring a holistic approach on these issues.

Today, I call again on those States that have not yet joined the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention to do so.  I wish you every success in your deliberations.

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