Updates from the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention: Ukraine, Bosnia, and More

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For the last few years, states parties to the Ottawa Treaty have met annually to discuss the challenges and success of Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) clearancearound the world. Generally, these meetings celebrate states which have joined the Treaty or accomplished clearance goals, discuss deadline extensions for states that are struggling with clearance obligations, and put pressure on those who are not compliant.

During the 17th Meeting of the State Partiesfrom Nov 26 to Dec 1, 2018, the membership affirmed the following decisions:

Courtesy Ottawa Convention ISU

Clearance Goals:

  1. Oman confirmed that it has completed the destruction of APM stockpiles in compliance with Article 4 of the Ottawa Treaty.
  2. Mauritania has completed the clearance of all APM mines within its territory in compliance with Article 5 of the Ottawa Treaty

Deadline Extensions for Landmine Clearance Obligations

  • The United Kingdom was given an extension until April 1 2024. Although there is no landmine contamination in the UK itself, the state does claim sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, which were partially mined during the Argentine invasion in 1982. Some of these minefields (especially in coastal areas) have since developed into pristine ecosystems which locals argue would be damaged by demining operations. Yet the UK’s commitment to the Ottawa Treaty binds it to clearing all contaminated under its control, including the Magellan penguin nesting grounds of Yorke Bay.
Courtesy Ottawa Convention ISU
  • Ukraine was given an extension until June 1, 2021. The 15th and 16th Meetings of State parties had previously expressed concern that Ukraine was in a position of non-compliance with its Article 5 obligations, but the continuing conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region has both created zones of new contamination and complicated demining efforts. Consequently, Ukraine is in a unique position among States Parties, since the mined zones have been created since Ukraine joined the Ottawa Treaty, and often by non-state actors in areas outside the effective control of the Ukrainian government.
  • Croatia was given an extension request until March 1, 2026. This is technically in contradiction of the Maputo + 15 Declaration from the Convention’s Third Review Conference in 2014, which declared that all States Parties were required to meet their clearance obligations by 2025. To resolve this contradiction “the Meeting acknowledged that Croatia had declared that it would finalise all operations and verification by 31 December 2025 and hence fulfil its Article 5 obligations in line with the aspiration of the States Parties in the Maputo + 15 Declaration.”
Courtesy Ottawa Convention ISU
  • Cyprus was given an extension request until July 1, 2022. Since the remaining mined areas in Cyprus are within the 180-km buffer zone that has existed since 1974 between Turkish and Cypriot Greek forces, their clearance is largely contingent upon an improvement in the political situation. According to the Landmine Monitor, only about 1.7 kmof mine-contaminated land remains on the island, most of which is populated by Anti-Vehicle Mines.
Courtesy Ottawa Convention ISU
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina was given an extension until March 1 2021. The meeting committee noted that “it is unfortunate that after almost twenty years since entry into force, Bosnia and Herzegovina is unable to specify how much work remains and how it will be carried out,” yet also affirmed that the state will probably need another extension in 2021 to fully complete its mine clearance obligations.
  • Serbia was given an extension until July 1, 2023.
  • Sudan was given an extension until April 1 2023.

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