Geneva, Colombo and New York – The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has become the 163th State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the landmark international treaty that bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
Sri Lanka officials deposited the accession instrument at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 13 December joining the 80% of the world’s states that have undertaken to “never, under any circumstance use, produce, stockpile or transfer anti-personnel mines”, and do their utmost to assist the victims and survivors of these weapons.
“We welcome Sri Lanka to this ever growing movement,” said H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi Ambassador of Austria and Head of the Department of Disarmament at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is presiding over the Convention.
“At a moment when we hear that landmine casualties have climbed again at the hands of armed non-state actors and two States that are not party to the treaty, it is more important than ever to send a strong message: landmines are prohibited and understood to be indiscriminate, inhumane, and have no place in modern warfare.”
In its instrument of accession, it read:
"I Tilak Marapana, Minister of Foreign Affairs, declare that the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, having considered the above mentioned Convention, accedes to the same Convention and undertakes faithfully to perform and carry out the stipulations therein contained."
Sri Lanka has announced that some of its top military officials will attend the 18-22 December meeting in Vienna including Major General GDI Karunarathne, and Colonel PT Paranagama.
The Convention will enter into force Sri Lanka on 1 June 2018. Within 180 days of that that date, Sri Lanka will be required to report on any stockpiled anti-personnel mines under its possession and formally on any mined areas under its jurisdiction.
Sri Lanka is already undertaking mine clearance through various landmine clearance charities that operate in the country and which receive support of various donor State Parties.
“Sri Lanka’s accession will add new energy and perspectives at an important time in the life of the Convention,” added Ambassador Hajnoczi noting that the States Parties are gathering only days away at the UN in Vienna to discuss how to clear mined areas in affected States by 2025, and provide immediate and sustainable care for landmine survivors through wider national contexts of disability and human rights.
The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force on 1 March 1999. Since that time, millions of square metres of once-dangerous land have been released for normal human activity and the lives of countless spared.
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