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Launch of Landmine Monitor Report 2002

Hon. Marian Hobbs

9 October 2002 Speech Notes

Launch of Landmine Monitor Report 2002, Wed Oct 9, 12.15pm, Beehive Foyer

Toward a Mine-Free world is the sub title of this report. If only…….

Global progress in halting the use of mines (including in hotspots such as Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka) has been offset by the massive new mine-laying operations of India and Pakistan, particularly in the Kashmir region.
This is the fourth annual report of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

As the foreword tells us Landmine Monitor is an attempt by civil society to hold governments accountable to the obligations they've taken on with respect to antipersonnel mines.

This is fundamental in disarmament. Assessing accountability and ensuring transparency are resource- and time-consuming tasks.
The Landmine Monitor, produced by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), fulfils this role. It reports independently and comprehensively on developments, highlighting any progress or inaction on the part of states.
As of a week ago 129 states had acceded to the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines and 17 states had signed but not ratified it.

But 15,000 to 20,000 people, mostly innocent civilians and especially children, are killed or maimed by mines every year, on top of the hundreds of thousands who already live with disabilities caused by mines.
New Zealand continues to be a steadfast supporter of the Convention and those NGOs working within the framework of the Convention such as New Zealand’s own Campaign Against Landmines (CALM), the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
New Zealand has contributed approximately NZ$12.8 million in both financial and in-kind contributions to mine action programmes since 1992/1993.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was involved in demining programmes in Afghanistan and Kosovo and presently has demining personnel in Laos, Cambodia and Mozambique.
Financial help has come through New Zealand Official Development Assistance.
New Zealand, together with Australia and other regional partners, continues to offer assistance to states wishing to accede to the Convention including East Timor.
The Landmine Research Group in the School of Engineering at the University of Auckland has continued to investigate new technologies for detecting landmines and has links with similar research teams overseas.
There are no stockpiles or mined areas in New Zealand. New Zealand does, however, have a limited quantity of inert practice mines used only for training personnel in counter-mine clearance operations. We also have Claymore mines which, used in a command-detonated mode, are permitted under the Convention.
We have never produced mines nor do we import or export them. Calvert Plastics, based in Lower Hutt, produces dummy mines for demining training and for drill practice for personnel in mine contaminated areas. These are used in New Zealand and they offer an example to the rest of the world of how training in mine awareness can be conducted in a way consistent with obligations under the Convention.
It is also a unique trade opportunity for New Zealand. Efforts have been made to raise international awareness of these dummy mines and the idea has been explained to the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention. It received a favourable response from the ICBL and Human Rights Watch.

"The human misery caused by landmines is beyond description. But one thing is certain. The majority of victims are innocent civilians - children, women and agricultural workers. Tragically victimized while in the midst of attempting, in the most miserable of circumstances, to rebuild their lives after years of conflict."

-A World Without Mines, Boutros Boutros-Ghali

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