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TREATY WORKING GROUP, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
Table of Contents
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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 Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), as well as with national laws and measures.

There are some twenty-four ICBL member organizations in the Working Group. The ICBL Ambassador Jody Williams, Coordinator Liz Bernstein, Government Relations Liaison Sylvie Brigot, Intersessional Officer Susan Walker and Advocacy Officer Sue Wixley are also very actively involved. It is chaired by Human Rights Watch.

In 2001, the Treaty section on the ICBL’s website, where ICBL activities relating to the Mine Ban Treaty are housed, was updated and expanded. Some of the activities of the TWG follow.

Universalization: The TWG and the Campaign overall continue work to convince the remaining non-signatories to accede to the treaty. At the ICBL’s Third General Meeting in Washington DC, a 2004 Action Plan was adopted, which includes a systematic and comprehensive universalization strategy, as well as year-by-year country targets. Members of the TWG participated in regular meetings of the Universalization Contact Group, an informal information sharing and strategy group consisting of several governments, the ICRC, UNICEF and the ICBL. Members of the TWG were centrally involved in the ten regional Landmine Monitor researcher meetings between October 2000 and January 2001, including the two meetings in non-signatory countries, Lebanon and Nepal. Members of the TWG played key roles in other regional landmine conferences, including Slovenia, Mali, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Poland and Mongolia. Members of the TWG have visited target countries to press for accession to the treaty, including India, and 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. Additionally, the Australian network has an agreement to work with the Australian government in advocating accession to the Mine Ban Treaty in Southeast Asia.

Ratification: On 26 July 2000, an important milestone was reached when Mauritania became the 100th signatory country to ratify the treaty. Following the 1 March 1999 entry into force of the treaty, TWG members continued to press for the two-dozen or so remaining signatories to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty. The TWG monitors the ratification process, coordinates advocacy efforts with key governments and international organizations, and shares relevant information through its regular “Ratification Updates.”

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 issues regular “Reporting Updates.” TWG members cooperated with VERTIC to produce a “Handbook on Transparency Reporting” for governments. TWG members closely tracked developments in national implementation measures (Article 9), including commenting on draft legislation, and worked with the ICRC to produce an “Information Kit on National Legislation.” In March 2001, several TWG members attended a Technical Expert meeting on antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or with sensitive anti-handling devices. TWG members, including the German Initiative to Ban Landmines, Human Rights Watch, and Landmine Action UK released several research reports on the development of alternatives to antipersonnel mines and antivehicle mines of concern.

The chair of the TWG serves as the coordination point of the Landmine Monitor and Landmine Monitor’s data gathering process has 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.

Second Meeting of States Parties: Nearly all TWG members participated in the SMSP in Geneva in September 2000. Along with the release of the Landmine Monitor Report 2000, this presented great opportunities for educating and encouraging governments on issues of concern to the ICBL. The TWG chair served as the Head of the ICBL delegation to the SMSP and delivered the ICBL statement to the Plenary. TWG members made interventions in other working sessions of the SMSP, and also participated an opening press conference and several media events.

Intersessional Work: The TWG chair was tasked with organizing the ICBL’s participation in two intersessional groups, the SC on Stockpile Destruction and the SC on General Status and Operation of the Convention. The ICBL played a prominent role in these SCs by providing relevant information, by clearly stating NGO positions and concerns, and by making specific recommendations that the SCs could carry out. All ICBL suggestions on the overall intersessional process were adopted.

General Status: The TWG chair worked with SC co-chairs Belgium and Zimbabwe to include discussion on key items of concern for the ICBL in this SC’s meetings including Article 1 (interpretation of “assist”), Article 2 (antivehicle mines with antihandling devices), Article 3 (mines retained for training), Article 7 (reporting matters), Article 8 (compliance) and Article 9 (national implementation measures). Prior to the December 2000 and May 2001 SC meetings, the TWG in conjunction with the ICBL Coordinator sent letters to all States Parties and signatories highlighting these and other issues with the aim of spurring the governments to seriously prepare for discussion at the SC. At the two SC meetings, a TWG representative gave a presentation on each issue. TWG members also distributed fact sheets on antivehicle mines, Article 7 reporting and joint operations.

Stockpile Destruction: The TWG chair closely worked with SC co-chairs Malaysia and Slovakia to develop the agenda for the SC’s meetings. The TWG chair also served as the chair of a session of each SC meeting. A “Landmine Monitor Fact Sheet: Antipersonnel Mine Stockpiles and their Destruction” was updated and distributed at both meetings of the SC. TWG interventions have contributed to convincing several governments to reduce or eliminate all together the number of antipersonnel mines they intend to keep for training.

United Nations General Assembly: In October and November 2000, the TWG chair circulated updates to the campaign on UNGA Resolution 55/33V, which urged universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. The resolution, introduced by Norway, Nicaragua and Mozambique, secured 143 votes in favor (including several non-signatories), none against and 22 abstentions.

Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW): In December 2000, about a dozen NGOs from the TWG/ICBL, in a delegation led by the TWG chair, attended the open sessions of the Second Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in Geneva. The chair of the TWG delivered a statement to the plenary, which urged all states to strongly object to any use of antipersonnel mines. The ICBL took advantage of the Conference to organize bilateral meetings with a number of non-signatories and gave a press briefing on the opening of the meeting, as well as various briefings for Conference delegates and the press during the course of the meetings. The TWG/ICBL also participated in an April 2001 preparatory meeting for the upcoming review conference of the CCW in December.

Conference on Disarmament (CD): No ICBL members participate or interact directly at the Conference on Disarmament meetings in Geneva, but 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 CD has not taken any meaningful action on antipersonnel mines.