The Banning of Anti-Personnel Landmines: The Legal Contribution of the International Committee of the Red Cross

By Louis Maresca; Stuart Maslen | Go to book overview

18
ICRC Position Paper No. 5
Anti-personnel Mines:
Agenda 1998 – From Prohibition to Elimination and
Adequate Care for the Victims
ICRC Briefing and Position Paper
January 1998

With the opening for signature of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (the Convention) in Ottawa, Canada, from 3–4 December 1997, the international community is moving one step closer towards a comprehensive response to the scourge of anti-personnel mines. This new instrument of international humanitarian law represents a landmark in efforts to end the landmines epidemic and is a testament to the efforts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and governments which have joined the “Ottawa process”.

Yet major challenges remain before the effects of this Convention are felt in fields, villages and conflict zones around the world. The Ottawa treaty represents a prescription for ending the mines epidemic. But the cure will require sustained, and costly, long-term efforts. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will need to work vigorously to: (a) promote universal adherence to and full implementation of the Convention; (b) strengthen its efforts to provide adequate care for mine victims; and (c) encourage comprehensive humanitarian mine clearance in affected countries. For many years to come, the Movement will continue to have an essential role to play in addressing the aftermath of the landmines epidemic.

In 1997, the tide turned against anti-personnel mines as they became stigmatized in international public opinion as an unacceptable weapon, the use of which could no longer be justified. With determined action in 1998 and beyond, the human suffering caused by landmines will slowly begin to diminish.

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