OAS Seeks Ban on Landmines for Hemisphere

Article excerpt

THE ORGANIZATION of American States (OAS) on June 7 became the first regional organization to undertake the creation of a hemisphere-wide anti-personnel landmine-free zone. The 35 OAS members approved a "Western Hemisphere as a Anti-personnel Landmine-Free Zone" resolution during the annual meeting of the OAS General Assembly in Panama City.

The resolution calls on member-states that have not already done so to "declare and implement" moratoriums on the production, use and transfer of all anti-personnel landmines in the Western Hemisphere at the earliest possible date. More than 170,000 landmines remain in the ground in Latin America, mostly in Nicaragua (100,000), Guatemala (35,000) and Honduras (30,000).

However, because the resolution is not legally binding, its implementation will depend on the good intentions of memberstates, many of which have never produced, used or transferred landmines.

The resolution also calls on the Permanent Council of the OAS to establish a "complete and integrated" registry of antipersonnel mines based on information submitted annually by each country including the number of mines in the national stockpile, the number of mines that have been removed during the past year and details of national landmine clearance plans. …