www.icbl.org/statements/ccw2000.php3

 

International Campaign to Ban Landmines Statement

to the Second Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II of the

Convention on Conventional Weapons

Geneva, Switzerland

11 December 2000

presented by

 

Stephen Goose, Human Rights Watch

Chair, ICBL Treaty Working Group

Mr. President, delegates, colleagues,

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) appreciates the

opportunity to address this conference. We cannot fail to remark upon the

juxtaposition of the just completed week of meetings of the Standing

Committees of the intersessional program of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and

these three days of CCW Protocol II meetings. Last week, Mine Ban Treaty

States Parties reported on an impressive array of steps taken to completely

eradicate antipersonnel mines, and developed concrete plans and initiatives

for the future. This week, many of those same nations will listen-in most

cases without objection-to the intention of a handful of other nations to

continue to use antipersonnel mines.

Fifty of the 57 States Parties to Amended Protocol II have already signed

the Mine Ban Treaty, thereby committing themselves to no use of

antipersonnel mines under any circumstances. Thus, with respect to

antipersonnel mines, Amended Protocol II exists for a very exclusive club of

seven nations: China, Estonia, Finland, India, Israel, Pakistan, and the

United States. Moreover, there are only another eight governments party to

the original Protocol II that have not joined the ban treaty: Belarus, Cuba,

Georgia, Laos, Latvia, Mongolia, Russia, and Yugoslavia.

It is clear that, except for a very limited number of countries, Protocol II

is largely irrelevant to the humanitarian effort to alleviate the suffering

caused by antipersonnel mines. Protocol II and the CCW may be useful for

addressing antivehicle mines, and certainly the CCW is an important

international instrument for addressing a variety of humanitarian and

conventional weapon issues. But the Mine Ban Treaty provides the only viable

means of solving the global antipersonnel mine problem.

There is clear recognition by the vast majority of the international

community that a strong, new international norm against any possession or

use of antipersonnel mines is emerging. Only a small number of states are

staying outside of that norm - those who cling to what we believe is the

discredited notion that the limited military utility of antipersonnel mines

outweighs the terrible human and socio-economic costs of the weapon.

The ICBL has always maintained that Protocol II is a weak collection of

partial restrictions unlikely to be obeyed in combat and unlikely to have a

significant humanitarian impact. Indeed, the Mine Ban Treaty and the new

norm rose from the ashes of the failed Protocol II approach. Delegates may

recall that one year ago at the First Conference, we presented a

disturbingly long list of ongoing use and production of antipersonnel mines

by states parties to original and amended Protocol II since 1996, and we

expressed concern that Russia and Pakistan had used mines in contravention

of the Protocol. In the past year, it would appear that the protocol has not

only failed to curtail use, but has also resulted in increased production of

antipersonnel mines. Our findings during the past year include the

following:

Russia has continued to use antipersonnel mines in Chechnya, resulting in

numerous civilian casualties;

Israel used mines in south Lebanon prior to its withdrawal; those mines

continue to take civilian casualties;

India appears ready to expand its production of antipersonnel mines; it is

designing new detectable hand-laid AP mines, and also, for the first time,

remotely delivered mines with self-destruct mechanisms;

Likewise, it appears Pakistan is engaged in new production of both hand-laid

detectable mines and remotely delivered mines.

Moreover, it appears that India, Pakistan, China, and perhaps some of the

other Protocol II States Parties are opting to retain and modify their

non-detectable mines instead of destroying them. Thus, some nations are

keeping existing mines AND producing new ones in response to Protocol II,

increasing the number of mines held throughout the world.

It would seem that some nations participating in this conference may need to

be reminded that this is not the Convention on "Humane" Weapons -as our

conference badges state, we assume through an undetected error-but rather

the Convention on Inhumane Weapons.

Despite these objectionable acts on the part of Protocol II states parties,

the events of the past year show that the world continues to move closer to

the rapidly emerging international norm against antipersonnel mines. The

Mine Ban Treaty has now been signed by 139 nations and ratified by 109,

including 20 ratifications in the past year. As a result of the Mine Ban

Treaty and the overall movement to ban antipersonnel mines, global use of AP

mines is on the wane, the number of producers has dropped from 55 to no more

than 16, export has stopped almost completely. More than 23 million

antipersonnel mines have been destroyed from the stockpiles of more than 50

nations. Twenty-five Mine Ban Treaty states parties have completely

destroyed their stockpiles. More land is cleared of mines every year and,

most importantly, the number of new mine victims in many of the worst

affected states has dropped dramatically.

We call on all governments to become party to the Mine Ban Treaty as soon as

possible, but no later than the treaty's first review conference in 2004. We

call on those who have not yet joined the Mine Ban Treaty to take immediate

steps toward a comprehensive ban, such as production and export bans, use

moratoria, and initiation of stockpile destruction, particularly in the case

of Protocol II states of non-detectable mines. We urge greater commitment to

transparency, beginning with timely completion of Article 13 reports, and

making those reports publicly available. We ask for cooperation with our

Landmine Monitor researchers.

We urge all states to participate in the Standing Committee meetings of the

Mine Ban Treaty, as those meetings are largely setting the global agenda for

mine action. We ask all states to vote in favor of the annual UN General

Assembly resolution in support of the Mine Ban Treaty, as a demonstration of

intention to accede in the future. Finally, we ask Protocol II States

Parties, in an effort to at least make Protocol II as effective as possible,

to investigate possible transgressions of the protocol and take meaningful

steps to curb them.

Mr. President, some nations speak of the "complementarity" of Protocol II

and the Mine Ban Treaty. In part, we understand this sentiment, especially

in so far as it applies to antivehicle mines not covered by the Mine Ban

Treaty. But those who support a global ban on antipersonnel mines should be

emphasizing the illegality of the weapon. Nearly three-quarters of the

world's nations have already banned its use. There should be outrage at any

use of antipersonnel mines by any government or armed opposition group.

There should be strong objections even to any contemplation or planning for

future use. There should not be benign acceptance of use in any

circumstances, whether in compliance with Protocol II or not.

It should be borne in mind that Protocol II is not aimed at ridding the

world of mines, but rather perpetuating them. We remind States Parties to

the Mine Ban Treaty that promotion of changes in Protocol II dealing with

use of antipersonnel mines could be seen as inconsistent with the Mine Ban

Treaty prohibition on assisting or encouraging anyone in any way with an act

prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty.

We would like to inform delegates that we have copies of our 1,100-page

Landmine Monitor Report 2000 available, with information on progress, or

lack thereof, in addressing the landmine problem in evey country. In

closing, we invite delegations which are not party to the Mine Ban Treaty to

meet with us this week to discuss their mine policies and actions and to

hear our views on steps they can take to move closer to the global norm to

eliminate antipersonnel landmines.

Thank you.