20 September 2006

Acceding to Mine Ban Convention Would Add New Impetus to Its Implementation, Secretary-General Urges Non-Signatories in Message to States Parties

NEW YORK, 19 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the Seventh 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, as delivered by Agnès Marcaillou, Chief, Regional Disarmament Branch, United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, in Geneva, yesterday, 18 September:

It gives me great pleasure to convey my greetings to all the participants of the Seventh Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention.

The treaty continues to show an admirable ability to strengthen cooperation among States, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and civil society.

The fruits of this vibrant collaboration are clear.  Most of the 151 States parties have met their obligations to destroy their stockpiles of mines.  The production, sale and transfer of anti-personnel mines have decreased significantly.  Vast areas have been cleared of mines.  Victims are being provided with better assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration.  And, as more and more countries embrace the norms set forth in the Convention, the use of these inhumane and indiscriminate weapons has decreased dramatically.

At the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World, you renewed your determination to achieve a world free of anti-personnel mines.  I urge you to continue your efforts to develop practical means to implement the Convention.  You will also have to raise the necessary resources.  Only then will we be able to clear and destroy remaining mines within the prescribed timelines, and ensure the rehabilitation and reintegration of landmine survivors.

I especially urge those States that are not yet parties to this Convention to join this landmark effort to reduce human suffering.  By acceding to the Convention, they would add new impetus to its implementation.  They would also reinforce the tenets of international humanitarian law during a period when elements of that body of law are being placed under strain.

The use of landmines is immoral.  These weapons have no place in any civilized society.  I thank you for your commitment to their elimination, and wish you every success in your deliberations.

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