A symposium marking the 10th Anniversary of the Vienna Meeting on the Convention for the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines
Monday 12 February 2007
Austrian Defence Academy, Vienna
Opening of the symposium
Symposium moderator: H.E. Wolfgang Petritsch, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations (Geneva) and President of the 2004 Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World PDF 10KB
Panel I. The challenge of Victim Assistance – understanding its context and extent
Moderator: Thomas Hajnoczi, Director for International Security Policy Programmes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Austria)
Panel II: Economic reintegration
Moderator: Sheree Bailey, Victim Assistance Specialist, AP Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (Geneva) PDF 12KB
Panel III: Psychological support and social reintegration
Moderator: Gustavo Laurie, Liaison Officer, United Nations Mine Action Service (Geneva)
Panel IV: Legislation and policy framework
Moderator: Markus Reiterer, Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the Conference on Disarmament and Co-Chair of the AP Mine Ban Convention’s Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration PDF 12KB
On 12 February 2007, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ursula Plassnik, pictured here with Margaret Arach Orech on her right and Ken Rutherford on her left, welcomed the world to Vienna for a symposium intended to review 10 years of efforts in assisting landmine survivors.
This symposium took place exactly 10 years after Vienna convened the Experts Meeting on the Text of a Total Ban Convention. This had been the first significant event of the Ottawa Process, the aim of which was to negotiate a Convention to ban anti-personnel mines by the end of 1997. In the pursuit of this aim, Austria took on the lead role of elaborating a draft text. The February 1997 Experts Meeting was designed to elicit comments on a first draft text and to intensify efforts towards a total ban on anti-personnel mines.
Neither the text of the draft Convention discussed in Vienna in February 1997 nor two subsequent drafts contained measures to assist landmine survivors. Ultimately, though, the text of the Convention adopted on 18 September 1997 contained the obligation of “States Parties in a position to do so” to “provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of mine victims….” This was a significant achievement for those desiring a truly comprehensive approach to the problems caused by anti-personnel mines. Moreover, this measure resulted in the Convention becoming the first multilateral arms control agreement to address the humanitarian needs of the victims of a particular weapon system.