For Immediate Release

A Mine-Free World: Mission Possible

WASHINGTON - The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force on 1 March 1999, after the 40
required ratifications were deposited to the UN Secretary General. Ten
years since its entry into force the Treaty has clearly made a difference in the lives of individuals and communities living in mine-affected areas.

Over the past 10 years, the number of countries joining the treaty has
continued to grow - from 40 in 1999 to 156 in 2009. States Parties have
cleared and returned to productive use large tracts of land; educated
mine-affected communities about the risk of antipersonnel mines and
other unexploded ordnance; provided support to and protected the rights
of landmine survivors; and destroyed millions of stockpiled
antipersonnel mines, ensuring they can never be planted in the earth
again. Today, use of antipersonnel mine is the exception rather than
the rule, and the trade in these weapons has virtually stopped. Thanks
to the advance of mine clearance and risk education programmes, the
number of new landmine victims has steadily decreased. However, many
challenges still remain on the road to a mine-free world, especially -
but not exclusively - in the area of ensuring real and lasting change
in the lives of landmine survivors in dozens of countries.

To review and asses the impact the treaty has made on the ground
over the past 10 years and to plan for the work ahead, states, civil
society and all other stakeholders in the mine ban community will
gather in Cartagena, Colombia on 30 November-4 December 2009 for the
2nd Review Conference of the Treaty.

To mark the 10 years of the treaty working on the ground and to launch the "road to Cartagena", the ICBL is holding a March 1st Action Alert in the week between 23 February and 1 March,
with some actions continuing later in March. In this period the ICBL
campaigns and activists around the world will be holding events,
sending letters, and doing media work to draw the world's attention to
the horrific impact of landmines and calling on countries' leaders to step up their efforts
towards the goal set out in the preamble of the treaty: "to put an end
to the suffering and casualties caused by antipersonnel mines".

At the same time we are calling on all states to sign the new
Convention on Cluster Munitions opened to signature on 3-4 December
2008 and to ratify it without delay to ensure its rapid entry into
force (30 ratifications required).

Our aim is to arrive in Cartagena at the 2nd Review Conference with
a strong recommitment to continue pursuing our shared goal of a mine-
and cluster munitions-free world until it becomes a reality. Looking back at how far we have come in the last 10 years, we have no doubt that a mine-free world is "Mission Possible."

See also:

ICBL Advocacy materials and templates for March 1st


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