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Ottawa Treaty
(Mine Ban Treaty)
Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
Ottawa Treaty members.svg
  States that are party to the Ottawa Treaty
Drafted 18 September 1997
Signed 3 December 1997
Location Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Effective 1 March 1999
Condition Ratifications by 40 states
Signatories 133
Parties 161 (Complete List)
Depositary Secretary-General of the United Nations
Languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish

The Ottawa Treaty, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or often simply referred to as the Mine Ban Treaty, but officially known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, aims at eliminating anti-personnel landmines (AP-mines) around the world. To date, there are 161 States Parties to the treaty. One state has signed but not ratified (The Marshall Islands) while 35 UN states are non-signatories, making a total of 36 United Nations states not party.[1]


1939 Landmines are first used widely in World War II.

1977 During the Geneva Convention, one provision is amended to prohibit the targeting of civilian populations by indiscriminate weapons in wartime.

1980 The Convention on Conventional Weapons even limits the use of landmines against persons.

1991 Six NGOs supporting a ban of landmines begins organizing ICBL (The International Campaign to Ban Landmines).

1993 The first international meeting of NGOs is held in London. The ICBL issues the study Landmines:A deadly Legacy., and the US Department of State publishes its report Hidden Killer: The Global Problem with Uncleared Landmines.[3]

1995 The first national law to ban antipersonnel is passed in Belgium.

1996 Canada launches the Ottawa process to ban landmines by hosting a meeting among like-minded, anti-landmine states.

1997 Mine Ban Treaty is adopted and opened for signature. Jody Williams and the ICBL are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1998 By securing the 40th ratification of Mine Ban Treaty, the treaty comes into effect and the ICBL launches Landmine Monitor.

1999 Mine Ban Treaty becomes binding international law on 1 March 1999.

2003 First stockpile destruction deadlines are set by all states parties with stockpiles.

2012 20th anniversary of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.[4]


Treaty terms

Besides ceasing the production and development of anti-personnel mines, a party to the treaty must destroy its stockpile of anti-personnel mines within four years, although it may retain a small number for training purposes (mine-clearance, detection, etc.). Within ten years after ratifying the treaty, the country should have cleared all of its mined areas. This is a difficult task for many countries, but at the annual meetings (see below) they may request an extension and assistance. The treaty also calls on States Parties to provide assistance to mine-affected persons in their own country and to provide assistance to other countries in meeting their Mine Ban Treaty obligations.[5][6]

The treaty covers only anti-personnel mines. It does not address mixed mines, anti-tank mines, remote controlled claymore mines, anti-handling devices (booby-traps) and other "static" explosive devices.

Destruction of stockpiles

According to the 2012 Landmine Monitor Report, signatory nations have destroyed more than 46 million stockpiled mines since the treaty's entry into force on 1 March 1999. Eighty-seven countries have completed the destruction of their stockpiles, and another 64 countries have declared that they did not possess stockpiles to destroy.[7]

Retention of landmines

Article 3 of the treaty permits countries to retain landmines for use in training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques. Seventy-two countries have taken this option. Of this group, 26 States Parties retain fewer than 1,000 mines. Only two have retained more than 10,000 mines: Turkey (15,100) and Bangladesh (12,500). A total of 83 States Parties have declared that they do not retain any antipersonnel mines, including 27 states that stockpiled antipersonnel mines in the past.[8]

Landmine-free countries

Through 2008, eleven States had cleared all known mined areas from their territory: Bulgaria, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Macedonia, Malawi, Suriname, Swaziland, and Tunisia.[9]

At the November–December 2009 Cartagena Summit for a Mine-Free World, Albania, Greece, Rwanda, and Zambia were also declared mine-free.[10] On 2 December 2009, Rwanda was declared free of landmines.[11] It followed a three-year campaign by 180 Rwandan soldiers, supervised by the Mine Awareness Trust and trained in Kenya, to remove over 9,000 mines laid in the country between 1990 and 1994.[11] The soldiers checked and cleared 1.3 square km of land in twenty minefields.[11] The official Cartagena Summit announcement came after the Rwandan Ministry of Defence's own announcement of the completion of the demining process on 29 November 2009.[12] Under Article 5 of the Ottawa Treaty, Rwanda was requested to become mine-free by 1 December 2010.[12]

On 18 June 2010, Nicaragua was declared free of landmines.[13]

Two more countries became free of landmines in 2011. On 14 June 2011, Nepal was declared a landmine-free zone, making it the second country (after China) to be landmine-free in Asia.[14] In December 2011, Burundi was declared landmine free.[15]

On 5 December 2012 at the 12th Meeting of the States Parties, six states declared themselves landmine-free. These were the Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, and Uganda.[16]

Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor (“the Monitor”)

Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor("the Monitor") is an initiative providing research for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). It is the de facto monitoring regime for both ICBL and CMC.

As an initiative of ICBL which was founded in 1998, the Monitor gives monitoring on the humanitarian development and uses of landmines, cluster munitions, and explosive remnants of war (ERW). It provides reports on all aspects of the landmine,cluster munitions, and ERW issues. It issues annual report updates on all countries in the world, keeps an international network with experts, provides research findings for all mediums, and remains flexible to adapt its reports to any changes. The Monitor has earned respect with its transparency whose states must be provided under the relevant treaties for independent reporting. Its main audiences are not only governments, NGOs, and other international organizations, but also media, academics and the public.[17]


The original international citizens initiative launched in 1997 by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines gained 855,000 signatories worldwide. The Convention gained 122 country signatures when it opened for signing on 3 December 1997 in Ottawa, Canada. Currently, there are 161 States Parties to the Treaty.[18] Thirty-five countries have not signed the treaty and one more has signed but did not ratify. The states that have not signed the treaty includes a majority of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: China, the United States and Russia. South Korea, like North Korea, has not signed the treaty, believing the use of landmines to be crucial to the defense of their territory against the other.


Ratification has not been universal, and those states that do not currently intend to ratify the treaty possess large stockpiles of anti-personnel mines.[19] So far 35 countries have not signed the treaty; nonsignatories include the United States, Russia, China, Myanmar, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Egypt, India, Israel and Iran.[20] Furthermore, organized state actors are capable of mapping and marking of minefields and demining after the conflict has ended, which reduces the hazards to civilians.[21] In contrast, indiscriminate dispersal is typically done by parties that already flout the laws of war, as in using mines as a weapon for state terrorism in a protracted civil war, where international treaties have little effect.

Opponents of banning landmines give several reasons, among them that mines are a cheap and therefore cost-effective area denial weapon. When used correctly, it is a defensive weapon that harms only an attacker,[22] unlike ranged weapons such as ballistic missiles that are most effective if used for preemptive attacks. In addition, the psychological effect of mines increases the threshold to attack and thus reduces the risk of war.[21]

The Ottawa treaty does not cover all types of unexploded ordnance. Cluster bombs, for example, introduce the same problem as mines: unexploded bomblets can remain a hazard for civilians long after a conflict has ended. A separate Convention on Cluster Munitions was drafted in 2008 and was adopted and entered into force in 2010. As of January 2013, there are 77 state parties of the CCM.[23] In theory, mines could be replaced by manually triggered Claymore mines, but this requires the posting of a sentry and makes this much more expensive than using other indiscriminate weapons such as cluster bombs or artillery bombardment.

Review conferences

  • First Review Conference: 29 November – 3 December 2004, Nairobi, Kenya: Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World.[24]
  • Second Review Conference: 29 November – 4 December 2009, Cartagena, Colombia: Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World.[25]

Annual meetings

Annual meetings of the treaty member states are held at different locations around the world. These meetings provide a forum to report on what has been accomplished, indicate where additional work is needed and seek any assistance they may require.

  • 1st annual meeting in May 1999 in Maputo (in mine-affected Mozambique)[26]
  • 2nd annual meeting in September 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland[27]
  • 3rd annual meeting in September 2001 in Managua (in mine-affected Nicaragua)[28]
  • 4th annual meeting in September 2002 in Geneva, Switzerland[29]
  • 5th annual meeting in September 2003 in Bangkok, Thailand[30]
  • First Review Conference in November/December 2004 in Nairobi, Kenya[24]
  • 6th annual meeting in November/December 2005 in Zagreb, Croatia[31]
  • 7th annual meeting in September 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland[32]
  • 8th annual meeting in September 2007 at the Dead Sea, Jordan[33]
  • 9th annual meeting in November 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland[34][35]
  • Second Review Conference in December 2009 in Cartagena, Colombia[36]
  • 10th annual meeting in November/December 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland[37]
  • 11th annual meeting in November/December 2011 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia[38]
  • 12th annual meeting in December 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland[39]

UN General Assembly Annual Resolutions

A recurrent opportunity for States to indicate their support for the ban on antipersonnel mines is their vote on the annual UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. UNGA Resolution 66/29, for example, was adopted on 2 December 2011 by a vote of 162 in favor, none opposed, and 18 abstentions.[40]

Since the first UNGA resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the number of states voting in favor has ranged from a low of 139 in 1999 to a high of 165 in 2010. The number of states abstaining has ranged from a high of 23 in 2002 and 2003 to a low of 17 in 2005 and 2006.

Of the 19 states not party that voted in support of Resolution 66/29 on 2 December 2011, nine have voted in favor of every Mine Ban Treaty resolution since 1997 (Armenia, Bahrain, Finland, Georgia, Oman, Poland, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates); 10 that consistently abstained or were absent previously now vote in favor (Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Marshall Islands, Micronesia FS, Mongolia, Morocco, and Tonga). Somalia, now a State Party, was absent from the 2011 resolution, but has voted in favor in previous years.[41]

The number of states abstaining from supporting the resolution has ranged from a high of 23 in 2002 and 2003 to a low of 17 in 2010, 2005 and 2006. The group of states that could be described as most opposed to the Mine Ban Treaty are the 15 states not party that have voted against consecutive resolutions since 1997: Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Libya (since 1998), Myanmar, North Korea (since 2007), Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Syria, Uzbekistan (since 1999), the US, and Vietnam (since 1998) 61 Of those, there appear to be positive developments in Libya (post-Gaddafi), Myanmar, and the US.[41]

Key figures

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Jody Williams

The organization the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and its founding coordinator, Jody Williams, were instrumental in the passage of the Ottawa Treaty, and for these efforts they jointly received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Diana, Princess of Wales

The Ottawa Treaty was ardently championed by Diana, Princess of Wales. In January 1997, she visited Angola and walked near a minefield to dramatize its dangers.[42] In January 1997, Angola's population was approximately 10 million and had about 10–20 million land mines in place from its civil war.[43] In August 1997, she visited Bosnia with the Landmine Survivors Network. Her work with landmines focused on the injuries and deaths inflicted on children.

When the Second Reading of the Landmines Bill took place in 1998 in the British House of Commons, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook praised Diana and paid tribute to her work on landmines:

All honourable Members will be aware from their postbags of the immense contribution made by Diana, Princess of Wales, to bringing home to many of our constituents the human costs of landmines. The best way in which to record our appreciation of her work, and the work of NGOs that have campaigned against landmines, is to pass the Bill, and to pave the way towards a global ban on landmines.[44]

Lloyd Axworthy

In his Canadian Foreign Affairs portfolio (1996–2000), Lloyd Axworthy became internationally known for his advancement of the concept of human security and, in particular, of need to ratify the Ottawa Treaty. For his leadership against landmines, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (1997).[45][46]

Bobby Muller

Robert O. (Bobby) Muller (born 1946) is an American peace advocate. He participated in the Vietnam War as a young soldier, and after returning from Vietnam, Muller began to work for veterans' rights and became a Peace activist. Since then, Muller founded Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) in 1978 and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) in 1980. The VVAF co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won a 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.[47]

See also


  1. ICBL Website,
  2. "Ban History". ICBL. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  3. "Campaign History". ICBL. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  4. "20 years in the life of a Nobel Peace Prizewinning campaign". ICBL. 
  5. ICBL, "Mine Ban Treaty: Victim Assistance,"
  6. ICBL, "Mine Ban Treaty: Other Obligations,"
  7. Landmine Monitor Report 2012, p.6.
  8. Landmine Monitor Report 2012, p. 8.
  9. Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 1.
  10. ICBL, "Four New Countries Declared Mine-Free at Landmine Summit," (4 December 2009)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Rwanda – first landmine-free country". BBC News. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Rwanda: Country Declared Mine-Free". All Africa. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  13. Urquhart, Wendy (20 June 2010). "Nicaraguan landmines finally removed after 80s war". BBC. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  14. "Nepal's PM detonates its last landmine". CNN. 15 June 2011. 
  15. [1][dead link]
  16. "Day 3 | Wednesday 5 December". AP Mine Ban Convention. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  17. "What is the Monitor?". Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  18. States Parties, International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  19. "Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  20. "English / Treaty Text in Many Languages / MBT / Treaty / Home - International Campaign to Ban Landmines". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Maamiinat säilytettävä | Helsingin Kansalliset Nuoret". Archived from the original on 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  22. "Julkaisutyökalu | Eduskunta". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  23. "Where global solutions are shaped for you | Disarmament | Signatories and Ratifying States". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World". Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  25. "Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World". 2010-06-14. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  26. [2][dead link]
  27. [3][dead link]
  28. [4][dead link]
  29. [5][dead link]
  30. [6][dead link]
  31. "English / Treaty Text in Many Languages / MBT / Treaty / Home - International Campaign to Ban Landmines". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  32. "English / Treaty Text in Many Languages / MBT / Treaty / Home - International Campaign to Ban Landmines". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  33. "English / Treaty Text in Many Languages / MBT / Treaty / Home - International Campaign to Ban Landmines". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  34. "Ninth Meeting of States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention / Calendar / Home - International Campaign to Ban Landmines". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  35. "English / Treaty Text in Many Languages / MBT / Treaty / Home - International Campaign to Ban Landmines". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  36. [7][dead link]
  37. "". 10MSP. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  38. "11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty". Retrieved 18 January 2012. 
  39. "Twelfth Meeting of the States Parties". AP Mine Ban Convention. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  40. "Where global solutions are shaped for you | Disarmament | UNGA resolution on APLC". 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  41. 41.0 41.1 Landmine Monitor Report 2012, p. 12.
  42. Landler, Mark (7 May 2010). "White House Is Being Pressed to Reverse Course and Join Land Mine Ban". The New York Times. 
  43. Angola's Landmines[dead link]
  44. "Charity – Diana, Princess of Wales". Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  45. cities plus – Bio Sheets[dead link]
  46. "Axworthy, Lloyd". Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  47. Simon, Cecilia Capuzzi (1 March 2006). "The Humanitarian: Bobby Muller". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 

External links

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