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Mine Ban Treaty anniversary brings warning

NZ Campaign Against Landmines
1 March 2003: for immediate use

Mine Ban Treaty anniversary brings warning

“While we celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty becoming international law, on 1st March 1999, the world could be facing further use of these devastating weapons,” John Head, convenor of CALM (New Zealand Campaign Against Landmines), said today.

“It would be a moral disaster if the United States deploys anti-personnel mines in Iraq,” John Head said. “Although the US has not yet signed up to the Ottawa Convention, over 140 other countries have. That’s over 75% of the world’s nations, and it establishes an international norm against mine use.

“It would also be shameful if countries which have signed the Treaty, like Great Britain and Australia, took part in a joint operation with the US that uses anti-personnel landmines. They would be breaking their commitments under the Treaty.”

CALM’s convenor pointed out that at least 43 states parties to the treaty have finished destroying their landmine arsenals. “The world is a better place by having about 30 million anti-personnel mines destroyed as a result of the Ottawa Convention,” he said.

“Tragically, landmines already in the ground in some 70 countries still claim an estimated 15-20,000 new victims each year.

“But we celebrate the fact that since the Mine Ban Treaty came into force on 1st March 1999, there has been a virtual halt to anti-personnel mine exports, a dramatic drop in mine production, and clearance of large tracts of mine-infested land, as well as the destruction of mine stockpiles,” John Head added.

“CALM’s message remains: Mine use by anyone anywhere is unacceptable, and in Iraq it will only make the situation worse,” he concluded.

For more information contact:
John Head, CALM Convenor
Phones (04) 905-5524 and 025-247-1491
49a Wharemauku Road, Raumati, Kapiti Coast 6010

© Scoop Media

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