20th anniversary of the Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines

The Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines celebrates its 20th anniversary. Its signing started indeed on the 3rd and 4th of December 1997 in Ottawa, Canada. Belgium was a pioneer in the fight against mines. Our country was the very first country worldwide to adopt a national legislation banning these weapons in 1995. The Brussels Declaration of June 1997 was a catalyst in the process of the adoption and signature of the Ottawa Convention.

20 years later, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders participates in the celebrations of the success of the Convention. Belgium remains active in the fight against mines, assistance to the victims and promotion of risk-awareness. A sum of about 800.000 EUR was dedicated this year to this purpose. With the support of the Special Envoys on the Ottawa Convention, Princess Astrid and Prince Mired of Jordan, Belgium continues to campaign for the universalization of the Convention. Today, the Convention counts 162 States-Parties. Assistance to the victims, their families and the community remains a priority.

In spite of this, mines continue to make victims. The Minister keeps condemning the use of anti-personnel mines. He hopes that the world can be cleared of anti-personnel mines by 2025, so that these do not make any new victims.

Minister Reynders and Princess Astrid will commemorate tonight this anniversary together with Handicap International. The NGO organizes a fund-raising dinner. The organization will also be celebrating 35 years of work with persons with an handicap and 20 years of its Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the campaign which led to the signature of the Ottawa Convention.

The Ottawa Convention shows that a multilateral approach with concrete results contributes to stability, security and peace. It is with this conviction that Belgium campaigns for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council under the motto “Forging Consensus, Acting for Peace”.