Andrews Launches Landmine Monitor Group
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. David Andrews, T.D., officially opened a week-long conference to launch the Landmine Monitor initiative. The Conference in Dublin Castle, which the Government is hosting for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), was addressed by the Minister at 9.30 am on Tuesday 15 September 1998.
The Minister welcomed ICBL representatives as well as more than 150 delegates representing non-governmental organizations from over fifty countries, including the most seriously mine affected countries, together with representatives of the United Nations, other international organizations and invited governments.
Mr Andrews congratulated the coalition of organizations, which make up the Campaign, on their unrelenting efforts to secure governmental commitments to the rapid negotiation of a total ban on anti-personnel mines, as agreed in the Ottawa Convention.
The Minister expressed particular satisfaction that with thirty eight of the required forty instruments of ratification already deposited we are on the threshold of triggering the entry into force of the Convention, saying "Ireland's example of being the first after Canada to ratify the convention has been a major stimulus for other countries to expedite their ratification."
"This day represents a further and definitive landmark in the fight to eradicate these obscene instruments of death from our midst for once and for all. We now have a secure starting point to begin the task of alleviating the awful affliction which landmines have caused to so many innocent victims, particularly children", the Minister added.
Mr Andrews told the Conference that it was imperative that the coalition of governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations, which had been at the heart of the Ottawa Process, be maintained intact after the entry into force of the Convention. "This conference is a demonstration, if any were needed, that our coalition was not a passing event. With firm foundations in the Convention, we can now jointly meet the challenge of achieving its objectives."
Concerning the work of the conference which he had opened, the Minister said that "the unique capacity which you are proposing to develop in the Landmine Monitor initiative will, I believe, become the benchmark for the evaluation of progress in achieving the objectives of the Convention".
Mr Andrews announced at the meeting that the Government would contribute US$150,000 towards the publication costs of the first Annual Report of the Landmine Monitor.
Note for information:
The purpose of the Dublin Conference is to develop a civil society based Landmine Monitor, which will collect data, report on events and developments relating to the various aspects of the landmine crisis and which will publish an annual report on the state of implementation of the Landmines Convention.
The Landmine Monitor initiative is the result of an initiative launched by Minister Andrews at Ottawa in December 1997, on the occasion of the signature of the Landmines Convention, and together with the ICBL and the Governments of Canada and Norway, to develop a civil society based monitoring mechanism, which would evaluate progress in the implementation of the Convention. The Governments of Canada and Norway have co-sponsored the participation of many of the delegates to the Dublin Conference.
The ICBL, was the recipient, with Landmine Ambassador, Ms Jody Williams, of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Ottawa Convention is the colloquial name for the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and On their Destruction. This convention was signed at Oslo on 19 September 1997, one year ago this week, The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews, T.D., signed the Convention for Ireland in Ottawa on 3 December 1997. Ireland's ratification instrument was handed to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan, on the same day making Ireland one of the first states to ratify the Convention