2004 Landmine Monitor report launched at NATO
<p>Representatives of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines came to NATO on 17 November 2004 to present a major report on the global landmine situation, saying they were “<em>winning the war against anti-personnel mines</em>”.</
Representatives of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines came to NATO on 17 November 2004 to present a major report on the global landmine situation, saying they were “winning the war against anti-personnel mines”.
The Landmine Monitor report reviews the international community's response to the 1997 treaty that bans anti-personnel mines.
Ms. Jody Williams, co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the campaign, and the editors of the report presented the 2004 edition at a special press conference organized by NATO.
“NATO hosting the launch of the report, reflects how much NATO as an Alliance and NATO nations believe in the efforts and the directions that the International Campaign has set out,” NATO Spokesman James Appathurai said at the press conference.
This was the second time that NATO has hosted the launch of an edition of the report, the first time being in 2002.
NATO in the war against landmines
“We are winning the war against anti-personnel mines. Astounding progress has been made over the course of the past five years and indeed the past 10 years in eradicating the anti-personnel mine,” said Steve Goose, executive Director of Human Rights Watch and chief editor of the report.
“Virtually every measure of progress that you can look at is positive. This does not mean that huge challenges don't remain.”
While not all NATO countries are signatories to the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines, NATO is active in efforts both to remove and to eliminate anti-personnel landmines.
In the Balkans, it is estimated that NATO troops have removed over 120,000 anti-personnel landmines, and cleared over 26-million square metres of that region. Troops from the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan are doing the same in the areas in which they are operating.
In addition to this, NATO has established a Trust Fund programme that helps partner countries destroy their mine stockpiles and meet their obligations under Article 4 of the Ottawa Convention. More than 2-million anti-personnel landmines in Albania, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine have already been destroyed under this programme.
“Last month we launched two new projects in Belarus and Serbia,” said Robert Simmons, Deputy Assistant Secretary General of Political Affairs and Security Policy, “Our project in Belarus alone will destroy more than 4-million anti-personnel landmines, the majority being so-called "butterfly" landmines which are among the most dangerous types.”
“I appreciate the part that NATO is playing. Most of the members of NATO are part of the mine ban treaty. It's an important contribution, [...] destroying stocks before they ever get in the ground to take new victims, and I appreciate that they have allowed us, two times now, to launch the Monitor here,” said Ms. Williams, paying tribute to NATO’s support.