NAM’s concern at Anti-Personal Mines

In recent years, mines have been used increasingly as weapons of terror against local civilian populations in an attempt to isolate them or force them from their communities by depriving them of access to farmlands, roads, and even necessities such as drinking-water and firewood. The antipersonnel mine is small and is set off either by a trip wire or a pressure switch that requires minimal pressure. It is designed to maim or kill anything that comes into contact with it, which often includes civilians, children and animals. Unfortunately, antipersonnel mines have a long life span: they can kill and maim indiscriminately for decades.

Non-Aligned Movement has deplored the use, in contravention of international humanitarian law of anti-personnel mines in conflict situations aimed at maiming, killing and terrorizing innocent civilians, denying them access to farmland, causing famine and forcing them to flee their homes eventually leading to de-population and preventing the return of civilians to their place of original residence. NAM leaders have called upon all States in the position to do so, to provide the necessary financial, technical and humanitarian assistance to landmine clearance operations, the social and economic rehabilitation of victims as well as to ensure full access of affected countries to material equipment, technology and financial resources for mine clearance.

The Heads of State and Government of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (the Mine Ban Convention) invited those States that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties to the Convention. The Convention was adopted on 18 September 1997 and it entered into force on 1 March 1999.To date, 162 States have formally agreed to be bound by the Convention. The Convention provides a framework for mine action, seeking both to end existing suffering and to prevent future suffering. It bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. In addition, States that accede to the Convention accept that they will destroy both stockpiled and emplaced anti-personnel mines and assist the victims of mines.NAM Heads of State and Government have expressed concern about the explosive remnants of the Second World War, particularly in the form of landmines which continue to cause human and material damage and obstruct development plans in some Non-Aligned Countries. They have called on the States primarily responsible for laying these mines and leaving explosives outside their territories during Second World War to cooperate with the affected countries and provide mine action support to affected countries, including information exchange, maps indicating the locations of mines and explosives, technical assistance for mine clearance, defrayal of the costs of clearance and compensation for any losses caused by mines laid.

As an important member of the Non-Aligned Movement, India supports the vision of a world free from the threat of anti-personnel mines, but at the same time is not a part of the Mine Ban Treaty. India has been an observer to the Mine Ban Treaty since 2003. While it is important that anti-personnel mines should be banned, it is also important to recognize and understand the constraints behind India’s landmine policy. India’s principled position is based on three premises: First, India regards landmines as important in defending its long borders; Second, India has co reiterated since 2005 for the availability of cost effective -alternative technologies and proposes that once such technologies are available it would ban anti-personnel landmines. Third, India has always argued that it perceives landmines as defensive weapons and believes that they are primarily laid to check infiltration and stop hostile movement from across the Line of Control.

The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty remains one of the great success stories in disarmament and in broader global humanitarian efforts, as demonstrated by its impressive implementation and the widespread adherence to the norm it is establishing against antipersonnel landmines. NAM Member States, in particular those in Africa and in the Middle East, have contributed towards the success of ban on anti-personal mining.

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