Anti-personnel mines - Ottawa Convention

 

The main international instrument in the field of anti-personnel mines is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, also known as “Ottawa Convention”, opened for signing on 3 and 4 December 1997 and entered into force the first of March 1999. The Convention gathers 162 States Parties, including all the European Member States. Belgium signed it on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 4 September 1998.

Its objective is “to put an end to the suffering and human casualties caused by anti-personnel mines”.

To reach this goal, the Convention has defined four fundamental objectives:

  1. the prohibition of anti-personnel mines,
  2. the destruction of stockpiles,
  3. the clearance of mined areas,
  4. the assistance to the victims.

In this field as well, our country has played a pioneering role. On 9 March 1995 Belgium was the first country to enact national legislation banning anti-personnel landmines.

At the international level, Belgium was engaged in all steps leading to the conclusion of the Convention.

Also noteworthy is the intense cooperation between on the one hand the FPS Foreign Affairs and its diplomatic network and, on the other hand, civil society through NGOs, in order to determine a financing policy for projects to promote the objectives of the Ottawa Convention. This interaction existed during the whole Ottawa process and continues to the present. Our country is a tireless advocate of the Convention, siding with victims and civil society.

The Maputo Plan, adopted during the 3th Review Conference of the Convention in 2013 in Mozambique, guides the action of the Convention during the 2014-2019 period, with the goal of a world without anti-personnel landmines in 2025. The universalization of the Convention remains a key objective for Belgium. Mine-clearance must also be pursued. States parties must fulfill their commitments with regards to the destruction of stockpiles in accordance with the established deadlines. Belgium supports projects of mine clearance and education on mines’ risks as well as initiatives focusing on the improvement of mines’ detection techniques. Our country is strongly involved in specific assistance measures directed to victims on a global scale.