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  • Monday, November 29, 2004

    Why the landmine ban plea won't be answered

    New plea for global landmine ban From the article: Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has opened an international landmine conference with an appeal for more countries to sign up to the treaty banning them. Mr Kibaki told the gathering in Nairobi that the mines were one of the world's most urgent humanitarian problems. The US, China and Russia are among 40 countries that have not signed the treaty, known as the Ottawa Convention, which came into force five years ago. According to this article There are currently 110 million active landmines in 83 countries around the world. Active landmines already exist on every continent and there are 250 million more waiting to be put in the ground. And Landmines kill 72 people a day, 90% of whom are civilians. You would have thought then that a civilised society would be interested in stopping all these deaths wouldn't you? Well, the answer to that is no, unfortunately. Although it is good news that 152 countries have signed up to the mine ban treaty, and more than 37 million mines destroyed, in February this year, the United States abandoned its long-held goal of eventually eliminating all antipersonnel mines and acceding to the Mine Ban Treaty. Instead, following a two and one-half year policy review, it became the first and only nation to assert that it intends to maintain certain types of antipersonnel mines indefinitely. Russia is one of the only countries in the world to have used landmines continuously between 1999 and 2004 according to Landmine monitor, and has approximately 50 million mines stockpiled. China also has a large number of landmine stocks, again, according to Landmine Monitor, it has about 110 million of the mines stockpiled. Some governments appear to believe that their policy goals are ultimately more important than actually taking action to prevent the loss of so many peoples lives. As long as policy goals have the upper hand over international obligations, then the pleas will fall on deaf ears.

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