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Country Reports
COOK ISLANDS, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Sir Geoffrey Henry, signed the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa on 3 December 1997. In a statement to the signing ceremonies, he described how the Cook Islands and other nations of the Pacific had first learned “almost instantaneously” of the landmine problem through the media, especially radio and television, and that shocked and appalled at the terrible problem, “[t]he Cook Islands and other countries of the Pacific ... were determined to lend their voices of opposition to the continued use of anti-personnel mines.”[1]

The Cook Islands has not yet ratified the ban treaty despite a pledge by Henry to the treaty signing conference that “before the next session of our Parliamenrt rises in the Cook Islands we will have given legislative effect to the Ottawa Treaty.”

The Cook Islands is not a member of the United Nations and therefore did not vote on key pro-ban United Nations General Assembly resolutions but as a state it was eligible to sign the treaty.

It did not participate in any of the Ottawa Process preparatory meetings or the formal negotiations.

It is believed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the Cook Islands has never produced, transfered, stockpiled or used antipersonnel landmines. Its larger neighbor, New Zealand, is responsible for its foreign affairs and defense.

The Cook Islands is a member of the sixteen-member South Pacific Forum and at the December 1997 treaty signing Henry noted that as Chairman of the South Pacific Forum, he was “proud to say that many Forum member countries are represented here ready to sign the Convention. I am confident that all will in due course.”


[1] Hon. Sir Geoffrey Henry, KBE, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Statement to the Signing Ceremony for the Landmines Convention, Ottawa, 2-4 December 1997.