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Landmine Monitor supports disarmament treaty

Landmine campaign's Monitor supports unique disarmament treaty

The Landmine Monitor is an outstanding verification tool for disarmament, said Hon Marian Hobbs, MP for Wellington Central and former Disarmament Minister, when launching the 2005 edition of the Monitor in Wellington on Friday.

It is unique in international law that NGOs provide the official verification of states keeping to their obligations under the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, she said.

"The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a Nobel Peace Prizewinner, has shown that civil society was not only one of the instigators of the world's best-functioning disarmament treaty, it also provides the continuing means to enforce it," Marian Hobbs said.

Deborah Morris-Travers, convenor of New Zealand Campaign Against Landmines (CALM), which is an active member of the ICBL, said the Landmine Monitor 2005 showed significant progress is being made to rid the world of the scourge of anti-personnel mines.

"In the eight years since the Ottawa Convention was signed, the number of countries producing mines has dropped from 51 to 13, and huge stockpiles of mines have been destroyed," she said.

"But more than 15,000 people are killed each year by landmines left in the ground from past conflicts. This is an enormous humanitarian crisis, and it's vital that governments and NGOs continue working as partners in demining, mine risk education, and survivor assistance."

Marian Hobbs said that New Zealanders should be proud of the skills of our Defence Force which has been engaged in demining all over the world. Those at the launch, in Wellington's Civic Square, could imagine the terror caused by mines when they crossed a mock minefield.

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