Europe united to end the suffering caused by anti‐personnel mines (03/06/2013)
Poland joined on 1st June the Ottawa Convention, the landmark treaty banning anti‐personnel mines, becoming binding law throughout the European Union. The entry into force of the Convention for Poland means that all EU Member States are now legally bound to, never under any circumstances, use, produce, stockpile or transfer anti‐personnel mines.
The European Union has become the first regional organization to see all of its member states join the Convention. At present, there are 161 States Parties to the Convention.
In the Americas, only the United States and Cuba have not acceded to the Convention.
In Africa, only Egypt, Libya and Morocco remain outside of the Convention.
The Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force on 1 March 1999. Since then, 25 States Parties have indicated they no longer have mined areas, including four EU member states: Bulgaria, Denmark, France and Greece. Together the States Parties have destroyed over 44.5 million stockpiled mines, including over 21 million mines destroyed by 24 EU member states.
The Convention also obliges States Parties in a position to do so to provide assistance for demining, stockpile destruction and victim assistance. During the period 1992 to 2011, the EU and its member states contributed nearly US$ 2.5 billion to mine action. The Convention’s Implementation Support Unit is currently implementing a two‐year EU Council Decision to further promote progress in the pursuit of the Convention’s aims in the lead up to the Convention’s third five‐year review in 2014.