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Treaty Working Group, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

Treaty Working Group

While the entire ICBL coalition works to promote ratification, universalization, effective implementation, and strengthening of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, members of the Treaty Working Group (TWG) are tasked with taking the lead in developing and implementing the ICBL’s strategies and actions related to the treaty. The TWG also deals with other mine-oriented international bodies and instruments, such as CCW Protocol II, as well as with national laws and measures. It is chaired by Human Rights Watch.

In 1999, a Treaty section was established on the ICBL’s website where ICBL activities relating to the Mine Ban Treaty are housed. The Working Group’s electronic discussion group (egroup), established in July 1999, has some forty-five individual subscribers from ICBL member organizations.

The twenty-four ICBL members of the Working Group include nearly all the members of the ICBL Coordination Committee, three former members of the Coordination Committee (medico international, Mines Advisory Group and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation), national campaigns such as the Australia Network of the ICBL, German Initiative to Ban Landmines, Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines, New Zealand Campaign Against Landmines, and the U.K. Working Group on Landmines, and individual NGOs such as the Quaker UN Office (Geneva) and Mennonite Central Committee. ICBL Ambassador Jody Williams, Coordinator Liz Bernstein and Government Relations Liaison Susan Walker are also very actively involved.

Actions Taken

Ratification: Following the 1 March 1999 entry into force of the treaty, the Treaty Working Group members continued to press for all signatories to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty. The TWG monitors the ratification process, coordinates advocacy efforts with key governments and international organizations, such as the ICRC and UNICEF, and sends out through the ban movement network its “Ratification Updates.”

Universalization: The TWG and the Campaign overall continue work to bring those who remain outside the treaty on board. Targets for particular action identified at the ICBL’s Second General Meeting in Maputo are the states of the former Soviet Union, countries in the Middle East, and the United States. As the ICBL works to build new campaigns and strengthen existing ones, the TWG works closely with these campaigns on issues related to the treaty, helping to guide the NGOs as they press and/or work with their governments on issues related to the treaty. Members of the TWG have been centrally involved in regional landmine conferences in Croatia, Nigeria, Egypt, Georgia and Slovenia. Members of the TWG have visited target countries to press for these countries to sign the treaty. Members of the TWG have spoken on multiple occasions at regional and international bodies, such as the United Nations both in New York and Geneva, the European Community and the Organization of American States.

Implementation and Monitoring: The TWG works closely with national campaigns and other ban partners on the implementation and monitoring of the Mine Ban Treaty. The TWG monitors the progress by States Parties in submitting Article 7 reports, and sends out through the ban movement network regular “Reporting Updates.” The chair of the TWG also serves as the coordination point of the Landmine Monitor. The process of gathering data for Landmine Monitor has also served to reinforce the work of the TWG and the ICBL; persistent inquiries from researchers have helped convince governments to ratify and to better implement the treaty, especially in terms of submission of Article 7 transparency reports.

First Meeting of States Parties: Nearly all TWG members participated in the FMSP in Maputo in May 1999. Along with the release of the Landmine Monitor Report 1999, this presented great opportunities for educating and encouraging governments on issues of concern. The TWG chair served as the Head of the ICBL delegation to the FMSP and delivered the ICBL statement to the Plenary. TWG members made interventions in other working sessions of the FMSP, and also participated in several press conferences and media events.

Intersessional Work: The TWG chair was tasked with organizing the ICBL’s participation in two intersessional groups, the SCE on Stockpile Destruction and the SCE on General Status and Operation of the Convention. The ICBL was able to play a prominent role in these SCEs through (1) providing relevant information to enhance the work of the SCEs, (2) by clearly stating NGO positions and concerns, and (3) by making specific recommendations that the SCEs could carry out. All ICBL suggestions on the overall intersessional process were adopted.

General Status: The TWG chair worked with SCE co-chairs Canada and South Africa, to expand the agenda of this SCE’s meetings from examination of Articles 6 (international assistance for mine action/victim assistance) and Article 7 (reporting matters) to include discussion of a other key issues of concern to the ICBL. Prior to both SCE meetings, the TWG in conjunction with the ICBL Coordinator sent letters to all States Parties and signatories highlighting these issues with the aim of spurring the governments to seriously prepare for discussion at the SCE. These issues included antivehicle mines with antihandling devices, mines retained for training/development, comprehensive Article 7 reporting, national implementation measures, foreign stockpiles and transit, and joint operations with non-signatory states where AP mines could be used. At the two SCE meetings, a TWG representative gave a presentation on each issue. TWG members distributed fact sheets on antivehicle mines, Article 7 reporting and on non-state actors.

Stockpile Destruction: The TWG chair closely worked with SCE chair Hungary to develop the agenda for this SCE’s meetings. The TWG chair also served as the chair of the final work sessions of each SCE meeting, tasked with identifying “the way forward.” This was the first instance of an NGO chairing an intersessional meeting. A “Landmine Monitor Fact Sheet, Antipersonnel Mine Stockpiles and their Destruction” was distributed at the first meeting of the SCE in December 1999 and an update of the Fact Sheet to the second meeting in May 2000. Largely as a result of TWG interventions, a number of governments have reduced or eliminated altogether the number of AP mines they intend to keep for training.

United Nations General Assembly: In October 1999, the TWG chair prepared, in cooperation with other members, a paper entitled “UNGA Landmine Resolutions: Yes on Mine Ban Treaty, No on Mine Transfers” in response to two draft resolutions that were in circulation. The ICBL paper was key to government support for pro-Mine Ban Treaty UNGA Resolution 54/54B, as well as the withdrawal of the second resolution, which supported a transfer ban negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament.

Convention on Conventional Weapons: In December 1999, about a dozen NGOs from the TWG/ICBL, in a delegation led by the TWG chair, attended the open sessions of the First Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in Geneva. The chair of the TWG delivered a statement to the plenary which pointed out the weaknesses of the Protocol and stressed that it was not an acceptable option to the MBT. The ICBL took advantage of the Conference to organize bilateral meetings with a number of non-signatories (Belarus, India, Israel, Finland, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and U.S.) and gave a number of press briefings on the eve of the opening of the meeting, as well as various briefings for Conference delegates and the press during the course of the meetings.

Conference on Disarmament: Although no ICBL members participate or lobby directly at the Conference on Disarmament meetings in Geneva, the TWG monitors the CD’s continued lack of progress to reach agreement on beginning negotiations on an AP mine transfer ban. The ICBL strongly opposes any effort to negotiate a transfer ban, or any other mine-related measure, in the CD. The chair of the TWG, in cooperation with other members, has written a position paper on Landmines and the CD, which is available upon request.