20th anniversary of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

Detecting and clearing mines with the most modern equipment – Germany supports mine clearance efforts in Albania

Detecting and clearing mines with the most modern equipment – Germany supports mine clearance efforts in Albania, © Photothek

18.12.2017 - Article

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of a great achievement in the fight against landmines: this year, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Convention) turns 20.

The agreement that was reached by a group of countries, including Germany, in Ottawa in December of 1997 on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on the clearance of these weapons was a milestone in international law and in the effort to eliminate anti-personnel mines. With 162 countries meanwhile having signed the Convention, it is now nearly universally applied. Moreover, it has led other countries that have not yet become States Parties to implement important parts of the Convention even today.

The Convention is having an impact

The provisions of the Convention are having an effect. Global stockpiles are currently estimated to have dropped below 50 million, and trade in industrially produced anti-personnel mines has virtually stopped. 41 countries have completely halted production. As for Germany, it has destroyed 1.7 million anti-personnel mines, meaning that it no longer possesses any of these weapons.

As one of the first signatories to the Convention, Germany also supports other States Party as they work to meet their legal obligations. In connection with these efforts, the German Government has further increased its budget for the clearance of mines, IEDs and other ordnance. Germany has thereby become one of the largest global donors in this sphere. This year, Germany contributed approximately 75 million euros to these efforts, or more than doubled the amount that was allocated last year. The funds go to projects that span the entire spectrum of anti-landmine efforts, namely clearance, support for victims, awareness-raising among the population in the affected countries, and public relations work to educate the general public about the core elements of the Convention.

Germany's Focus: Areas in Iraq that have been liberated from IS

A special focus of the projects promoted by Germany in 2017 was on areas in Iraq that have been liberated from the so-called Islamic State, which are severely contaminated by landmines, IEDs and unexploded ordnance. These perfidious weapons pose a threat to life and limb for the local population and are preventing humanitarian access, as well as the safe return of internally displaced persons and refugees.

By providing assistance in Iraq, the German Government is also demonstrating its determination to help achieve the vision that is set out in the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, namely a world free of landmines by the year 2025.

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