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Country Reports
COOK ISLANDS, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


The Cook Islands signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and although it has yet to ratify, there appears strong intention to do so. In a 15 February 2000 letter to Landmine Monitor, an official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said that the Cook Islands intends to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty “in the near future” but “given our country's limited resources, the process of ratification...has admittedly been slow.” [1] He added, “The process of preparing our domestic implementing legislation has begun.”

In a separate letter sent to the ICBL Coordinator, the Foreign Ministry official stated, “The Cook Islands intends to honour its legal obligations by ratifying the Landmines Treaty in the near future and notes the importance of having domestic implementing legislation that will ensure that our Government's signature of this important Treaty is more than a statement of good intent."[2]

The official also “noted your offer of assistance and would therefore greatly appreciate of your advising of assistance that your organisation, ICBL, may be able to provide to our Government.”[3] Human Rights Watch, Chair of the ICBL’s Treaty Working Group, replied to this letter and forwarded the ICRC’s “Ratification Packet” and also sent the Cook Islands letter to the Governments of Canada and New Zealand, as well as to the ICRC’s legal division, with a request for further assistance.[4] The UNICEF regional office in Nadi, Fiji, has also provided the Cook Islands with information on ratification.[5]

The Cook Islands is not a member of the United Nations and therefore has not participated in any of the relevant UN General Assembly resolutions on landmines. The Cook Islands did not attend the First Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Maputo nor any of the intersessional meetings of the FMSP, most likely due to resource constraints.

It is believed that the Cook Islands has never produced, transferred, stockpiled or used AP mines, nor does it contribute to humanitarian mine action programs. Its larger neighbor, New Zealand, is responsible for its foreign affairs and defense.


[1] Letter from Edwin Pittman, Secretary, Office of International Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Cook Islands, to Landmine Researcher, 15 February 2000.
[2] Fax from Edwin Pittman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Elizabeth Bernstein, ICBL Coordinator, 15 February 2000.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Fax from Mary Wareham, Senior Advocate, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch, to Edwin Pittman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 March 2000.
[5] UNICEF, Report on the Pacific visit of Tun Channareth, International Campaign to Ban Landmines Ambassador, 22-31 March 2000, p. 7.