IRELAND BECOMES SECOND COUNTRY TO RATIFY LANDMINES TREATY
IRELAND BECOMES SECOND COUNTRY TO RATIFY
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, T.D., handed Ireland's instrument of ratification of the international convention banning landmines to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan, in Ottawa today. By doing so Ireland became the second country to ratify the Convention.
In a statement beforehand the Minister announced that Ireland will host an international meeting in Dublin in the autumn of 1998, in conjunction with the Government of Canada and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
The Minister continued "Ireland is honoured to have been so closely associated with the "Ottawa Process" and with the other "core countries" that have worked so tirelessly to bring us to this juncture. While celebrating the culmination of the first part of the process, this is only the starting point of our pursuit of a world free of these barbaric devices. International public opinion will not tolerate for much longer the absence of countries, in particular of significant states, from the roll call of those who have committed themselves to this treaty for the abolition of lethal devices which serve no military purpose."
Minister Andrews said those who pressed for the convention "can today stand proud of its achievement. In its 1997 award, the Nobel Prize Committee has, I believe, captured the debt we all owe to the efforts of the non-governmental community, in particular of the International Committee to Ban Landmines and the inspired leadership of Ms Jody Williams."
The Minister added that "The humanitarian challenge has to be met on two levels - we must continue to assist the victims of mines to pick up the threads of their lives and to become independent members of their communities once again. We must also help affected communities to resume normal living through the removal of mines. Ireland is steadily increasing its funding for mine clearance and victim assistance and in 1997 we have doubled our disbursements in this area and we are committed to a further increase in 1998."
Note for Editors: Following the Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in May 1996 a significant shift of focus occurred in international action in the field of anti-personnel mines. A small group of countries (the core group), including Ireland, began actively to pursue the early conclusion of a global Convention to ban anti-personnel mines for all time without reservations and without exceptions.
This initiative culminated in the convening of a Diplomatic Conference in Oslo at the beginning of September 1997, at which the text of a Convention was adopted by the representatives of more than one hundred participating governments.
The Convention prohibits the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines; requires the destruction of all stocks of anti-personnel mines with the exception of a small number of devices required for mine detection, mine clearance and mine destruction techniques and provides for the clearance of all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under national jurisdiction and control in accordance with a specified timetable.Top