Monday, April 21, 2003

Please don't think I'm turning into Michael Moore. My sense of humour is still intact and the usual light-hearted dispatches on life as an amputee landmine victim will return soon enough. However, as part as my "Stu gets up to speed on landmine issues" crusade I've been reading up on the Ottawa Treaty, the "convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines and on their destruction." It became part of international law on March 1st 1999.

Some facts:
* It is estimated that more than 110 million active mines are scattered in 68 countries with an equal number stockpiled around the world waiting to be planted.
* Landmines maim or kill one person every 22 minutes. That's more than 20,000 people a year.
* 30 to 40% of landmine victims are children.
* For every mine cleared, 20 are laid.
* Anti-personnel mines are priced at $3 to $30 each. The cost to the international community of neutralizing them ranges from $300 to $1000.

(source United Nations.)

Article 1 of the Ottawa Treaty commits countries never under any circumstances:
* To use anti-personnel mines.
* To develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, anti-personnel mines
* To destroy or ensure the destruction of all anti-personnel mines.

As of April 1st 2003, 146 countries had signed the Ottawa Treaty (source Landmine Survivors Network)

Countries which have not signed the Ottawa Treaty include Russia, China, India, Pakistan.....oh yes, and the United States (source United Nations.)

Discuss Northern Iraq -- and Beyond


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