Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics


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Next the government must deposit an instrument of accession at the office of the United Nations Secretary-General in New York. An instrument of accession is a document in which a government declares its acceptance of the treaty and commitment to its implementation. Ratification is open only to Marshall Islands, the sole remaining country that signed the treaty before but has not yet ratified.

It urgently needs to take the required steps at the national level for joining the Mine Ban Treaty and to submit its ratification instrument to the UN. At the same time, the Mine Ban Treaty has created a powerful and near universal stigma against antipersonnel landmines: most states not party to the treaty are responding to international pressure on this issue and have stopped using, producing, and transferring the weapon.

They are in de facto compliance with the treaty even though they are not legally bound by it. Continuing to strengthen this stigma — and ensure no use of antipersonnel mines by any actor, anywhere — is also key to universalizing the ban norm. Is the treaty worthwhile without China, Russia, the US, and others on board? It is regrettable that these countries as well as all other states not parties remain outside of the treaty. However, this does not take away from the importance of the treaty, nor weaken its achievements as one of the few current success stories in International Humanitarian Law and multilateral diplomacy.

Eighty percent of the world's states have joined the treaty, and even without China, Russia, and the US, great progress is being made in implementing and promoting its provisions. In sum, the ban and the treaty are working, even without these holdout countries.

Treaty in Detail

It is significant that most states not party to the treaty are responding to international pressure on this issue. Many are in de facto compliance with the treaty even though they are not legally bound by it. In , the US government announced that it would officially stop the production and acquisition of antipersonnel mines, accelerate the destruction of stockpiles, and ban use of the weapon except on the Korean Peninsula.

The US had not actually laid antipersonnel mines anywhere since and had not exported any since The US is also the world's largest individual contributor to mine clearance efforts. The ICBL urges those countries that have not yet joined to embrace a ban on antipersonnel landmines and take steps towards joining the Mine Ban Treaty. We especially urge the remaining users of this indiscriminate weapon to cease use and those that still manufacture mines to halt production. What about non-state armed groups and the treaty? Non-state armed groups may not become States Parties since only recognized governments may join.

However, these groups may make use of mechanisms, like Deeds of Commitment or Codes of Conduct, to declare their commitment to stop the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines, destroy stockpiles, and cooperate in victim assistance and mine clearing activities. Many NGOs involved with the ICBL work to educate and convince non-state armed groups about the importance of banning antipersonnel mines.

The ICBL has also urged States Parties to pay greater attention to the issue and support efforts to obtain strong ban commitments from non-state armed groups. How can we be sure that States Parties respect their commitments? States Parties' record of compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty has been generally very good. This reflects the high level of respect with which it is treated and the cooperative approach surrounding the treaty's implementation. The treaty aims to promote transparency and trust amongst States Parties.

NGOs therefore have an important role in monitoring and encouraging compliance. See the information kit on national legislation from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Annual transparency reports are sent by States Parties to the UN Secretary-General on the type and quantity of mines in stock, the progress of mine destruction programmes stockpiles and clearance , details of all mined areas, and national implementation measures among other issues. Meetings of States Parties and the intersessional work programme are important occasions for reviewing and monitoring progress on the treaty.


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Article 8 of the treaty describes several informal and formal steps that can be taken to address possible cases of non-compliance, including requests for clarification, fact-finding missions, and special Meetings of States Parties. But so far, States Parties have favored using a collaborative and informal system addressing compliance issues as described under Article 8.

What role do NGOs play in treaty implementation? NGOs play a crucial role in encouraging full implementation of the treaty. We also do this through our campaign activities worldwide and direct outreach to governments at the national and international level.

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The Landmine Monitor is an innovative initiative by the ICBL to monitor implementation of and compliance with the treaty, and more generally to assess the efforts of the international community to resolve the landmines and explosive remnants of war problem. The Landmine Monitor report has become the de facto monitoring mechanism for the treaty and an essential tool in holding governments accountable to their legal obligations and political commitments.

Many of these States were reluctant to embrace the Ottawa Process and stressed their support for a primary role for the CD in any negotiations. The conference itself, A Global Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines: Central Asia Regional Conference, which took place on 10—12 June , demonstrated the difficulties of attracting adherence to a future ban treaty in the region.

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Pakistan proved particularly reluctant to endorse a total ban on anti-personnel mines and demanded a redraft of the conference declaration to reflect its position. Argentina would join shortly afterwards. It primarily consisted of a comparison of the defence of South Korea including both anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, as against defence with no mines at all. Since the Convention being prepared did not propose to ban anti-tank mines, the US presentation seemed unpersuasive and irrelevant. During the Brussels Conference, the CD appointed a Special Coordinator on Landmines tasked with exploring the possibility of future negotiations in the Conference on landmines.

The Brussels Declaration also referred to the convening of the diplomatic conference to adopt the treaty and confirmed that the third Austrian draft would be the basis of negotiations at the conference. At the close of the conference, Canada announced that the treaty signing conference would be held in Ottawa on 2—4 December Last October I invited the international community to return to Ottawa before the end of with the goal of signing a treaty banning anti-personnel mines.

It is now clear that we will reach this goal. In Ottawa, from December 2 to 4, we will be able to establish a new global norm against these terrible weapons. This upset African governments in general, and South Africa in particular, which refused to sign the Declaration as a result, deciding merely to associate itself with it.

A first draft of the rules was prepared by Gro Nystuen, a legal adviser at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the draft drew on an extensive range of sources. The revised draft was formally presented to States at the closing session of the Brussels Conference. With respect to the latter, voting rights were accorded only to States that had adhered to the Brussels Declaration, either by signing or associating themselves with it.

Indeed, the barrier would prove critical to the failure of the USA to secure the text of a treaty to which it felt it could adhere. This posed a number of problems, not least the cost, organization given the short time , and logistics finding an appropriate venue. There was also an impending general election that would occur during the diplomatic conference itself.

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It was ultimately agreed that the Conference would be held in one three-week session. He then proposed the draft rules of procedure for adoption by the conference. The rules of procedure were then duly adopted by consensus, in accordance with tradition at international conferences. This represents an obstacle to the interpretation of certain articles, and one which has been exploited by opponents of the Ottawa Process as evidence of its lack of seriousness.

These discussions multiplied as the USA became increasingly frustrated at its inability to make headway on its five demands.

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By the end of the second week, most of the other outstanding issues in the Convention had been resolved amicably. Under instructions from the Canadian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, both of whom were keen to have US support for the Convention, the Canadian delegation drafted an amendment and handed it in to the Secretariat in order to give the USA more time to consider its position. This gesture, and the lobbying that accompanied it, both in Oslo and in capitals, earned the Canadian delegation considerable opprobrium from the NGOs and from many other delegations.

It is clear, however, that Canada was not the only State participating in the Diplomatic Conference willing to make significant compromises to secure US support for the treaty. With the Core Group having been battered by US pressure, it looked to some as if the USA might obtain at least some of the demands it had been pushing for. But on 18 September , the US delegation announced to the plenary that it was withdrawing its proposals as it had been unable to garner the necessary support for them. After extensive consultations with many countries, the President believes that the Conference on Disarmament offers the most practical and effective forum for achieving our aim of a ban that is global.

Both the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention were successfully negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament … At the same time, the United States welcomes efforts outside that forum, including the free-standing process initiated by Canada, that can help provide momentum to our common goal.

On 14 August , the Special Coordinator declared that there was little point in the CD taking any decisions on a possible mandate until the outcome of the Ottawa Process was known in December As in , however, the only progress made was in the appointment of a Special Coordinator once more, Australian Ambassador John Campbell to examine the possibility of further p.

Attempts to secure agreement on the creation of an ad hoc committee to negotiate on mines were again unsuccessful. With the success of the Anti- Personnel Mine Ban Convention and current deadlock in the CD , proposals to initiate negotiations in the CD on landmines appear infeasible for the foreseeable future.

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Following a decision at the First Meeting of States Parties in , intersessional Standing Committees meetings have been organized regularly to support universality and implementation of the Convention as p.

Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics
Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics
Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics
Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics
Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics
Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics
Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics

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