EU calls on those using landmines to cease their use
Vienna, Brussels, Geneva – The European Union (EU) has announced additional support to help States Parties implement their obligations under the Convention, reaffirming its strong support for the Convention's aims during the Sixteenth Meeting of the States Parties in Vienna.
“The EU condemns the use of anti-personnel mines by any actor, whether States or non-state actors. We also appeal to all States not party to the Convention and non-state actors to stop manufacturing, trading and using these weapons,” said Jacek Bylica, the EU’s Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation during the meeting.
“Particularly worrying is the use of improvised anti-personnel mines in the context of urban warfare, specifically aimed at terrorising civilians and hindering the return of internally displaced persons and refugees. This is a key driver in forcing people to leave their homes and a major factor behind the current refugee crisis,” added Jacek Bylica.
“The use of improvised anti-personnel mines has created new large-scale contamination in Iraq, a State Party to the Convention, and Libya and Syria, which have not yet joined. The use of these improvised mines has resulted in a reversal of the downward trend in the number of global mine casualties for the second year in a row since the entry into force of the Convention. The new threats must be addressed with determination, without distracting attention from the vast areas across the world that remain inaccessible due to legacy mine contamination,” said the EU Envoy, meaning countries like Angola, Cambodia and Zimbabwe which are still suffering the effects of landmines planted decades ago.
“Their impact continues to disproportionately affect rural communities, usually some of the poorest, as well as minorities and marginalised groups. They should not be forgotten. In light of these developments, it is necessary to reaffirm our commitment with regard to international cooperation and assistance, as the obligation to rid the world of anti-personnel mines is a collective effort by all States Parties.”
European Union financial assistance to mine action and the Convention
The EU and its Member States are one of the world’s largest donors for humanitarian mine action. EU assistance includes mine clearance, risk education, victim assistance, stockpile destruction, and benefits nearly all heavily affected countries, including Chad, Colombia, Croatia, Iraq, and Ukraine, and States not party, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar, and Syria.
In the 2012-2016 period the EU through its institutions and Member States, committed over €600 million to address the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war in conflict-affected countries. Some States Parties to the Convention however, need additional capacity-building support to identify and overcome remaining challenges if they are to fulfil their ambition of a mine-free world by 2025.
Amelie Chayer, ICBL Acting Director speaks during the launch of the EU Council Decision. Among the panellists, Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre Director Sasa Obradovic, and Prince Mired of Jordan are seen in the photo. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been tapped as the first beneficiary of the EU Council Decision.
The European Union through a Council Decision is allocating an additional €2.3 million to promote the universal adherence to the treaty including through the Convention’s Special Envoys Prince Mired of Jordan and Princess Astrid of Belgium.
Other projects under the Council Decision will help States Parties implement their mine clearance, stockpile destruction and victim assistance commitments under the 2014 Maputo Action Plan.
“The Decision will facilitate national stakeholder meetings in mine-affected countries with relevant authorities, international and non-governmental organisations, donors and mine-affected communities. In the spirit of partnership embedded in the Convention, the implementation of this Decision will include the participation of the 1997 Nobel Peace Co-Laureate the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other relevant UN and international organisations,” said Jacek Bylica.
EU Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation Jacek Bylica,