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close this bookBanning Anti-Personnel Mines - The Ottawa Treaty Explained (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1998, 24 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contents1. The landmine problem and progress towards a ban treaty
Open this folder and view contents2. The Ottawa treaty
View the document3. Beyond the Ottawa treaty
View the documentAnnex I: Glossary of legal and technical terms
View the documentAnnex II: Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction
View the documentAnnex III: List of Signatories as at 1 March 1999*


The Ottawa treaty is part of the international response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the global proliferation of anti-personnel mines. Millions of these deadly weapons are already contaminating more than 70 countries, creating one of the most serious man-made problems of our time. Their long-term impact upon individuals, communities, and entire societies is startling. Recognizing the seriousness of the problem, countries from all regions of the world voluntarily came together in 1997 and negotiated the Ottawa treaty, an international agreement comprehensively banning the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of antipersonnel mines, and requiring their destruction. This treaty is an outstanding achievement because it marks the first time that countries - through international humanitarian law - have agreed to ban completely a weapon already in widespread use. In setting a clear international standard against anti-personnel mines, the Ottawa treaty represents a decisive first step in the long-term goal of addressing the scourge of landmines and clearing the world of these horrific weapons.

This paper provides a brief overview of the landmine problem, the “Ottawa process” and the content of the Ottawa treaty. It is not intended to be a record of the negotiating history or a commentary on the legal aspects or implications of the treaty. Rather, it presents and explains the treaty’s major elements and accomplishments. It has been written with the non-specialist in mind and is therefore not overly burdened with international legal terminology. Where use of such terminology has been unavoidable, the specific word or phrase is underlined and is explained in a glossary at the end. A copy of the treaty is also attached for information.