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    14 December 2017

    Re-issued as received

    Ahead of global conference, landmine treaty chair reacts to news of growing mine-casualties

    VIENNA, 14 December (UN Information Service) - The President of the Convention banning anti-personnel mines has made an appeal to those going counter to international norm, to halt the use of these weapons. Thomas Hajnoczi, Ambassador of Austria and Head of the Disarmament Department at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also called on the Parties of the Convention to condemn new use of these weapons by any actor, everywhere.

    The call comes after the Landmine Monitor, an annual publication produced by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), reported that in 2016 the number of landmine victims increased considerably in conflict zones maiming and killing mostly civilians, including a disproportionate number of children.

    "After years and years of decline in the number victims of these insidious weapons, this reversal is appalling," said Ambassador Hajnoczi who presides over the 162-member Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

    "While the majority of casualties have occurred in States not party to the treaty, the body of the Convention should be very concerned by those using weapons that have been banned by most of the world's States. It is unacceptable that while the international community is commemorating 20 years of a landmark prohibition on landmines, and while nearly all States not party abide by the Convention's norms, two States continue to make use of these weapons. We call on Myanmar and Syria to stop using landmines."

    This past September Ambassador Hajnoczi in his capacity as President of the Convention contacted Myanmar authorities to "clarify the situation and consider an independent fact-finding mission."

    The Landmine Monitor launch took place only days before the Convention's upcoming Meeting of the States Parties taking place at the United Nations in Vienna from 18-21 December 2017.

    The meeting in Vienna is significant as Austria was one of a core group of States that undertook efforts to adopt the Convention 20 years ago.

    The Convention was signed on 3-4 December 1997 and entered into force in 1999. The Convention is the result of an unprecedented partnership between States, civil society, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other organizations. For their campaign in calling for the Convention, the ICBL was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

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