|Banning Anti-Personnel Mines - The Ottawa Treaty Explained (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1998, 24 p.)|
While the negotiation of the Ottawa treaty is an historic landmark in the battle against the scourge of landmines, a tremendous amount of work remains to be done before the threat of these weapons and their appalling humanitarian consequences are effectively tackled. Countries must be encouraged (1) to adhere to the treaty and implement its provisions, and (2) to increase their support for mine-clearance and victim-assistance programmes. As has been seen, the Ottawa treaty requires a State Party to undertake a wide range of activities. Among other things, the country must ensure that anti-personnel mines are no longer used as weapons by its armed forces, end the development and production of these devices, destroy any stockpiles, and identify, mark, and clear mined areas. In many countries, implementing these obligations will require significant technical, legal and financial assistance.
On 9 December, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 52/38A, which urged all States to sign and ratify the Convention and to contribute towards its full realization and effective implementation.
Although countries from all regions of the world supported the Ottawa process, some of the worlds major landmine producers, exporters and users did not actively participate in the negotiation of the Ottawa treaty and have not yet signed it. Every effort must be made to encourage these countries to join ranks with the rest of the international community and prohibit anti-personnel landmines so that the Ottawa treaty is universally respected in the near future.
The Ottawa treaty is only one of the essential measures needed to address the landmine contamination problem. Vast numbers of people continue to live in mine-affected areas under daily threat from these weapons. Most landmine victims continue to have unmet medical, rehabilitative, social, and economic needs which must be dealt with effectively. Landmines are a man-made epidemic. Similarly, the solutions to this epidemic lie in our own hands. The Ottawa treaty is an important step, but only a first one.