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Introduction, Landmine Monitor Report 2004


The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (“Mine Ban Treaty”) entered into force on 1 March 1999. Signed by 121 governments in Ottawa, Canada in December 1997, the Mine Ban Treaty now has 143 States Parties.[1] An additional nine states have signed but not yet ratified. A total of 42 states remain outside the treaty. States Parties, observer states, and other participants will meet for the treaty’s First Review Conference in Nairobi (the “Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World”) from 29 November to 3 December 2004 to review the progress and problems of the past five years, to assess the remaining challenges and to plan for the future.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) considers the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty the only viable comprehensive framework for achieving a mine-free world.[2] The treaty and the global effort to eradicate antipersonnel mines have yielded impressive results. A new international norm has emerged, as many governments not party to the Mine Ban Treaty are taking steps consistent with the treaty, and an increasing number of armed non-state actors are also embracing a ban. New use of antipersonnel mines continues to decline, with compelling evidence of new use by just four governments in this Landmine Monitor reporting period (since May 2003). There were no confirmed instances of antipersonnel mine transfers, as the de facto global ban on trade held tight. Some four million stockpiled antipersonnel mines were destroyed, bringing the global total to about 62 million in recent years. New survey and clearance operations were initiated in a significant number of countries, and there were substantial increases in the amount of land cleared in many countries. The number of reported new mine casualties dropped significantly in some heavily mine-affected countries. The Mine Ban Treaty has had an impact in raising awareness of the rights and needs of mine survivors, and new survivor assistance programs have been implemented in many mine-affected countries.

However, daunting challenges remain to universalize the Mine Ban Treaty and strengthen the norm of banning antipersonnel mines, to clear mines from the ground, to destroy stockpiled antipersonnel mines and to assist mine survivors. The ICBL believes that the only real measure of the Mine Ban Treaty’s success will be the concrete impact that it has on the global antipersonnel mine problem. As with the five previous annual reports, Landmine Monitor Report 2004 provides a means of measuring that impact.

In anticipation of the five-year Review Conference, each detailed country report contained in this edition of Landmine Monitor Report includes a summary of key developments since 1999. This introductory chapter provides a global overview of both the current Landmine Monitor reporting period and the period since 1999. A section on banning antipersonnel mines is followed by sections on humanitarian mine action (including mine risk education) and on landmine casualties and survivor assistance.

[1] As of 1 October 2004.
[2] The ICBL generally uses the short title, Mine Ban Treaty, although other short titles are common as well, including Ottawa Treaty, Ottawa Convention, and Mine Ban Convention.