We applaud the progress made in the struggle against the scourge of landmines since the Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Treaty was adopted 10 years ago. The steady decline in casualty rates, the return of formerly mined areas to productive civilian use, and the destruction of tens of millions of these indiscriminate weapons are encouraging.
The Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Treaty is a testament to what can be achieved when the international community works collectively to tackle a grave humanitarian and development challenge. The United Nations Mine Action Team of organizations pledges to do everything within our mandates to assist mine-affected countries in meeting their obligations to clear mined areas, assist victims, destroy stockpiled mines, and educate men, women, boys and girls about the dangers of mines and explosive remnants of war. Mine-affected countries themselves should also do everything in their power to meet their obligations. We call on those in a position to do so to support all aspects of mine action for as long as it takes to finish the job.
As Member States gather today for the beginning of the 62nd General Assembly, we hope that the successes of the Treaty will inspire the international community to rise to the challenge of protecting the rights of the estimated 400,000 people who have survived mine and explosive remnant of war accidents and call on all States to ratify the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Also, we strongly urge Member States to develop a legally binding instrument prohibiting cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.
As the world reflects on the progress made by mine-affected countries in the past 10 years, we also look forward to the next decade, envisioning a world free from the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines.
Principals of the United Nations Mine Action Team
For more information, contact:
Richard Kollodge, United Nations Mine Action Service, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in New York at +1-212 963-5677, e-mail: email@example.com