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

17
A Global Ban on Landmines: Treaty Signing Conference and
Mine Action Forum
Ottawa, Canada
2–4 December 1997
Organized by the government of Canada

Fourteen months after Foreign Minister Axworthy's audacious challenge to the world's governments, representatives of 121 States queued up to sign the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, and three of these – Canada, Ireland and Mauritius – also ratified the Convention. In addition to the signing ceremony, participating governments pledged a total of more than US $500 million for mine action programmes worldwide.


Statement of Cornelio Sommaruga, President, ICRC
3 December 1997

We celebrate today a victory for humanity; for the cause of humanitarian values in the face of cruelty and indifference.

This historic movement against the horrors of anti-personnel mines began as an expression of human compassion on the part of medical and other humanitarian workers in mine-affected countries. It grew as their compelling testimony and images of the appalling effects of this weapon were transmitted by a myriad of non-governmental organizations and international agencies. It became unstoppable as the public conscience began to view this weapon as an abomination. An absolute ban on anti-personnel mines was transformed from an “idealistic dream” into the Ottawa treaty as diplomats, political leaders and generals allowed themselves to move beyond “business as usual” in the world of international negotiations and respond to the suffering this weapon inflicts.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, and the entire International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent on behalf of which I speak, pay

-587-

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