On the 1st March global community celebrates the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines. Over the past two decades millions of these ammunition have been destroyed . Significant areas have been cleared in more than 30 countries around the world. But this dangerous weapon is not gone, it still brings death and leads to injuries in many countries, primarily in conflict zones.
"The Secretary-General commends the commitment of the States parties to rid the world of a weapon that kills and maims indiscriminately, while seriously impeding peace and development. " - the Secretary-General said in a statement on the twentieth anniversary of the Convention.
UN-Chief congratulated all states, which have got rid of anti-personnel mines and urged all those, which haven't joined that Condenvion yet, to do so as soon as possible.
The UN high Commissioner for human rights, Michel Bachelet, stressed that over the past 20 years, 53 millions of anti-personnel mines have been destroyed, many successful demining operations have been carried out, the production of such mines has significantly decreased, and the trade in these weapons has actually stopped.
António Guterres also affirmed, that, although the Convetion has saved many lpeople from injuries, ifes, anti-personnel mines have't disappered at all yet. In recent years, there has been a setback in mine action. The number of victims of anti-personnel mines and other explosive devices left over from military conflicts is increasing.
The Ottawa Trety, the full title of which is is the Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction, was adopted on 18 September 1997 in Oslo and came into force on 1 March 1999. It is called Ottawa because it was opened for signature in that canadian city. To date, 164 countries have signed this Convention.
"The Secretary - General called for intensified efforts to eliminate anti-personnel mines.he also enouraged states to provide the victims with the necessary help," - the statement said.
The United Nations has established a voluntary Trust Fund to assist victims of anti-personnel mines.The UN is also involved in the detection and clearance of mines and other unexploded devices, such as cluster bombs. Education is being provided to ensure that people in conflict zones and in post-conflict countries are aware of the dangers of unexploded ordnance.
"Some of the gains of the past two decades risk being offset by a deeply concerning increase in the use of explosive ordnance by non-State groups, often in the form of improvised explosive devices or IEDs" - Michelle Nachelet said. "This practice has been reported in at least eight countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand and Yemen. In Afghanistan alone, in the eight years to 2016, pressure-plate IEDs killed 2,111 civilians and injured more than two-and-a-half-thousand others".