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TREATY WORKING GROUP, Landmine Monitor Report 2005

Treaty Working Group

The ICBL’s Treaty Working Group consists of over 20 ICBL members, plus staff. While the group does not meet formally, its members consult informally and often draft common ICBL statements, discuss positions on ICBL issues of concern and develop strategies and actions related to the Mine Ban Treaty. It also addresses other mine-oriented international bodies and instruments, such as the CCW Amended Protocol II, as well as national laws and measures. The TWG chair is Human Rights Watch.

In 2004, the TWG continued to advocate for a “common understanding” among States Parties on Articles 1, 2 and 3 in order to prevent a weakening of the treaty through competing interpretations. In 2005, it focused on identifying State Parties’ policies and practices that diverged from what ICBL believes is the generally accepted interpretation of the those articles. It also called on States Parties to comply with Article 9 of the Mine Ban Treaty, stressing the need for them to create a legal basis for full implementation of the Convention.[1] The TWG also continued to advocate for States Parties to provide, on-time, comprehensive reports as part of their obligations under Article 7 of the treaty. It suggested that States Parties use the voluntary Form J for reporting on victim assistance matters, the intended purpose and actual use of mines retained under Article 3, Claymore mines and steps taken to ensure they are used in command-detonated mode, and foreign stockpiles of antipersonnel mines (as done by Tajikistan in their initial Article 7 report).


Mine Ban Treaty universalization efforts continued in 2004 and 2005, as ICBL placed special emphasis on using the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World as a deadline to encourage countries to join the treaty. Members of the TWG participated in regular meetings of the treaty’s Universalization Contact Group. They also represented ICBL in regional landmine conferences in non-signatory countries, including in China, and visited target countries to press for accession to the treaty, including Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Georgia and Libya (see Other Events, Field Missions and Advocacy Efforts above). Throughout the year, ICBL has been in close contact with both the European Commission and Ukrainian government to urge them to finalize an agreement under which the EC would fund the destruction of the Ukrainian stockpile of antipersonnel mines.

TWG members also spoke about the need to encourage universalization on multiple occasions in regional and international fora, such as the United Nations in Geneva and New York, the European Union, the Political Committee of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Organization of American States, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Because of its strong commitment to the ban on landmines, at both the political level and as a major donor for mine action, survivor assistance and stockpile destruction, ICBL asked the EU to play a special role during this year of the Nairobi Summit and EU enlargement. The TWG also supported efforts taken to engage Non-State Actors, as this is essential to obtaining truly global adherence to the antipersonnel mine ban.

Under the guidance of the TWG and ICBL staff, campaigners and researchers in countries including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Poland, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan engaged in public education about the treaty and contacted their governments and members of Parliament to press them to ratify or accede to it. They also asked States Parties to influence these governments, particularly EU members and their European parliamentarians.

ICBL Diplomatic Advisor Ambassador Satnam Singh actively promoted treaty universalization on behalf of ICBL in trips to China, Jordan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Singapore, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. He also worked closely with high level diplomats while participating in regional conferences, intersessional Standing Committee meetings, and the Nairobi Summit, and was in regular contact with senior officials in India about a step by step approach to its eventual accession to the treaty.

Since Landmine Monitor Report 2004 was published, four countries have ratified or acceded to the treaty: Ethiopia, Latvia, Bhutan and Vanuatu, in that order. Ukraine’s parliament has ratified the convention, but it has not yet deposited its instrument with the United Nations. There was encouraging progress toward ratification or accession to the Mine Ban Treaty in more than 15 other countries, including Indonesia, Iraq, Micronesia, Mongolia, Poland, Somalia and several Gulf states.

Intersessional Work

In close coordination with ICBL staff, the TWG chair continued to organize ICBL participation in two intersessional committees, the Standing Committees on General Status and Operation of the Convention and on Stockpile Destruction. The ICBL played a prominent role in these SCs, providing relevant information, clearly stating NGO positions and concerns, and recommending specific actions that the SCs and participating States Parties could carry out.

General Status: The TWG chair and ICBL staff closely worked with SC co-chairs and co-rapporteurs to ensure that key items of interest to the ICBL were discussed in this SC’s meetings, especially those including Article 1 (interpretation of “assist”), Article 2 (definitions, particularly antivehicle mines with anti-handling devices and sensitive fuzes), Article 3 (mines retained for training), Article 7 (transparency reporting), Article 8 (compliance), and Article 9 (national implementation measures). The chair spoke and issued Landmine Monitor fact sheets on Articles 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 at the 2005 meeting. Another TWG member made a presentation to the SC on mines with sensitive fuzes, and an ICBL staff member spoke about universalization during the June 2005 meeting.

Stockpile Destruction: The TWG chair presented a global overview of stockpiles and stockpile destruction efforts at both SC meetings at the invitation of the SC co-chairs, a standard practice since 1999. Landmine Monitor also issued fact sheets on stockpile destruction progress and challenges in 2004.

Nairobi Summit

During the preparations for the Nairobi Summit, the TWG and ICBL staff strongly encouraged States Parties to reach a common understanding on Articles 1, 2 and 3 by the end of the summit, reminding States Parties that an absence of clarity on these matters risked undermining treaty implementation in general. The TWG chair, together with the ICRC, urged States Parties to use a Dutch non-paper on Articles 1, 2 and 3 as the basis for discussions on such an agreement. While a common understanding was not reached by Nairobi, Action #55 of the Nairobi Plan does call for states to continue to share their views and experiences on Articles 1, 2 and 3 “to continue to promote effective and consistent application of these provisions.” Argentina and Chile made a proposal for expanded reporting related to Article 3, in keeping with the ICBL’s recommendations.

Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW)

Several ICBL members, including the TWG chair, participated in CCW meetings on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines (MOTAPM) during 2004 and 2005, as well as the Sixth Annual Conference of the States Parties to Amended Protocol II on 17 November 2004. The ICBL has stated its view that the CCW is a useful international instrument for addressing humanitarian and conventional weapons issues if its work is efficiently conducted and accompanied by political will. On 8 August 2005, the ICBL addressed the Group of Governmental Experts on MOTAPMs, reminding States Parties to the CCW that those countries that were also party to the Mine Ban Treaty were already prohibited from using MOTAPMs with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices because they were covered under the Mine Ban Treaty definition of “antipersonnel” mines.

[1] See http://www.icbl.org/news/archive/old/506 and http://www.icbl.org/news/summit_update_2/challenges.