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Treaty Working Group, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

Treaty Working Group

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 Mine Ban Treaty and dealing with other mine-oriented international bodies and instruments, such as CCW Amended Protocol II, as well as with national laws and measures. The TWG includes approximately twenty-four ICBL member organizations and is chaired by Human Rights Watch. While the TWG did not meet on a formal basis in 2002 or the first half of 2003, its members consulted and met often during key meetings, including drafting common ICBL statements or positions.

Actions Taken

Universalization: Efforts to convince hold-out governments to join the treaty remained a key element in the TWG’s work in 2002 and 2003. Members of the TWG participated in regular meetings of the Universalization Contact Group. TWG members were centrally involved in the four regional ICBL/Landmine Monitor meetings between November 2002 and January 2003, including the three held in non-States Parties (Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka). Members of the TWG participated in other regional landmine conferences, including in Armenia and Russia, and visited target countries to press for accession to the treaty, including Finland, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Turkey, and Ukraine. They spoke on multiple occasions in regional and international fora, such as the United Nations both in New York and Geneva, the European Community, NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of American States, and the Fifth Conference of the Ministers of Defense of the Americas.

Ratification: TWG members continued to press for the remaining signatories to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty. The TWG monitors the ratification process, coordinates advocacy efforts with key governments and international organizations, and sends out periodic updates and alerts through the ban movement network.

Implementation and Monitoring: The TWG works closely with national campaigns and other ban partners on the implementation and monitoring of the Mine Ban Treaty. It monitors and reports on progress made by States Parties in submitting Article 7 reports and also closely tracks developments in national implementation measures (Article 9), including commenting on draft legislation. The TWG chair serves as the coordinator of the Landmine Monitor. The work of the TWG and the ICBL has been reinforced by Landmine Monitor’s data gathering process, as persistent inquiries from researchers have helped convince governments to ratify and to better implement the treaty, and non-state actors to recognize the norm established by the treaty.

Fourth Meeting of States Parties: Nearly all TWG members participated in the 4MSP in Geneva in September 2002. Along with the release of the Landmine Monitor Report 2002, TWG members used the meeting to educate and encourage governments to address issues of concern. The TWG chair served as the Head of the ICBL delegation to the 4MSP and delivered the ICBL statement to the Plenary. TWG members made interventions in other working sessions and also participated an opening and closing day press briefing and several media events.

Intersessional Work: The TWG chair was tasked with organizing the ICBL’s participation in two intersessional groups, the Standing Committees on Stockpile Destruction and on General Status and Operation of the Convention. This was done through close coordination with the ICBL's Intersessional Program Officer. The ICBL played a prominent role in these SCs by providing relevant information, by clearly stating NGO positions and concerns, and by recommending specific actions that the SCs and participating States Parties could carry out.

General Status: The TWG chair and the Intersessional Program Officer closely worked with SC co-chairs Austria and Peru to include discussion on key items of interest to the ICBL in this SC’s meetings including Article 1 (interpretation of “assist”), Article 2 (definitions, particularly antivehicle mines with antihandling devices and sensitive fuzes), Article 3 (mines retained for training), Article 7 (transparency reporting), Article 8 (compliance) and Article 9 (national implementation measures). Prior to the February and May 2003 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 prepare seriously for discussion at the SC. The TWG chair challenged States Parties to reach common understandings on these issues of concern by the time of the Review Conference in 2004, if not sooner. At the two SC meetings, a TWG representative gave a presentation on each issue. TWG chair Human Rights Watch, on behalf of Landmine Monitor, distributed fact sheets on Article 7 Reporting, Claymore Mines, National Implementation Measures, Mines Retained for Training, Foreign Stockpiling and Transit, and Joint Military Operations.

Stockpile Destruction: The TWG chair and the Intersessional Program Officer closely worked with SC co-chairs Romania and Switzerland to develop the agenda for the SC meetings. The TWG chair presented a global overview of stockpiles and stockpile destruction efforts at both meetings, and Landmine Monitor fact sheets on stockpile destruction progress and challenges were distributed.

United Nations General Assembly: In November 2002, the ICBL circulated updates to its membership on UNGA Resolution 57/74, which urged universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. The resolution secured 143 votes in favor (including 29 non-States Parties), none against, and 23 abstentions.

Convention on Conventional Weapons: The ICBL believes the CCW can be an important international instrument for addressing humanitarian and conventional weapons issues, if work is conducted in an efficient manner and if there is political will. In December 2001, the ICBL announced its support for calls to establish a moratorium on the use, production and trade of cluster munitions, and challenged states to create new international humanitarian law on the wider problem of explosive remnants of war, including cluster weapons, by negotiating of a new protocol in the CCW. In December 2002, CCW members agreed to a negotiating mandate on Explosive Remnants of War and the ICBL has called on CCW States Parties to conclude a strong, effective legally binding instrument by December 2003. CCW members also agreed to start discussions on “Mines Other Than Antipersonnel Mines;” the ICBL has urged member states to negotiate a legally binding instrument to end the civilians casualties caused by antivehicle mines, and has encouraged all States to examine their national stocks to take steps to eliminate antivehicle mines with sensitive fuses or antihandling devices that cause the mine to function like an antipersonnel mine, as these are already prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty.

During the 2002 and 2003 CCW meetings, the ICBL and NGOs organized bilateral meetings with a number of other non-signatories, as well as various briefings for Conference delegates and the press. TWG members prepared a number of documents for the deliberations. Landmine Action UK issued several reports on explosive remnants of war. In December 2002, TWG-member HRW issued a fact sheet in which detailed its concerns about actions by Amended Protocol II States Parties. As of June 2003, only ten of the sixty-nine States Parties to Amended Protocol II (Landmines) were not signatories or party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty: China, Estonia, Finland, India, Israel, Latvia, Morocco, Pakistan, South Korea, and the United States.

Conference on Disarmament: The TWG continued to monitor the CD, which has not been able to agree on a negotiating mandate since 1997. The ICBL strongly opposes any effort to deal with antipersonnel mines in the CD. By 2003, the number of governments supporting landmine negotiations in the CD had dwindled to a handful.