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HOLY SEE, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


The Holy See signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 17 February 1998. The Holy See has been vocal in its opposition to landmine proliferation for several years. In April 1996, immediately prior to the Geneva review conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, Pope John Paul II publicly called for a total ban on antipersonnel landmines,[1] and the Vatican strongly criticized the conference when it failed to produce such a ban.[2] Subsequently, Pope John Paul II embraced the Ottawa Process. On the eve of the Mine Ban Treaty coming into force, the Pontiff said, “I pray to God to give all people the courage to make peace, so that the countries that have not yet signed this important instrument of international humanitarian law do so without delay, and so that they persevere with the work of clearing landmines and rehabilitating the wounded."[3]

The Holy See is a state party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, but has not ratified the 1996 amended Protocol II on mines. The Holy See does not produce, transfer, or stockpile antipersonnel landmines, and is not mine affected.

The Holy See has donated $4,000 to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance.[4] At the Mine Ban Treaty signing ceremony, the Holy See pledged to donate $100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for mine victim assistance.[5]


[1]"Pope Calls for Total Ban on Landmines,” Reuters News Service, 21 April 1996.

[2]"Vatican Condemns Decision of Landmine Conference,” Reuters News Service, 6 May 1996.

[3]"Pope Urges all Countries to Sign Anti-Mine Treaty,” Reuters News Service, 28 February 1999.

[4]United States Department of State, Hidden Killers, September 1998, p. C-1.

[5]Statement of His Excellency Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Secretary for Relations with States, on the occasion of the Signing Conference of the Convention on the Global Banning of Antipersonnel Landmines, Ottawa, 3-4 December 1997.