19 November 2013

An eight-member delegation of the ICBL was headed by Sylvie Brigot-Vilain, Executive Director of the campaign and Mr. Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Senior Editor of Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor Report, as well as five representatives from the national campaigns in Korea and Japan, including Mr. Yasushiro Kitagawa, the coordinator of JCBL and Dr. Cho Jai Kook, the coordinator of KCBL. In addition, Eden has invited Mr. John MacBride, former Senior Defence Advisor (Mines/ERW) at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, for the visit.

Despite the achievement on mine clearance, Taiwan’s current Act still allows the military to use landmines under certain circumstance and to keep stockpiles. The delegation called on the Taiwan government to fully incorporate the Mine-Ban Treaty into the Taiwanese domestic legal system, completely prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines and calling for their destruction in the seminar and the closed door meeting with MND.

The representative from MND, General Liao Jung-hsing, the Administrative Deputy Minister at the time, despite differences in opinion with ICBL delegates with regards to stockpile destruction and the use of landmines, was very interested in continuing discussions and is willing to explore further the possibility of adhering to all of the obligations of the Convention in the future.

The delegation was also invited to the Presidential Hall meeting President Ma to urge Taiwan to take a final step toward a complete ban on antipersonnel mines, to fulfill the promise made by the President himself in 2007 to ICBL Ambassador Tun Channerth, when he last visited the island.

On June 15, around 1,000 residents on Kinmen and international anti-landmine advocates walked over land that has been cleared of mines and witnessed the dream of “a mine-free homeland” come true. The participants completed their walk and tied yellow ribbons at the end of the trip to commemorate those who have been killed or injured by landmines.Ms. Brigot-Vilain, said that Taiwan deserves credit for its swift clearance of all known minefields within seven years, a self-imposed requirement which is three years less than that required of states party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

Taiwan's demining efforts and achievements set a model for neighboring countries in the Asia-Pacific region, where some of the world's most landmine-affected areas are located. Ms. Brigot-Vilain said Taiwan should now fulfill its promise to embrace a comprehensive ban on the use of antipersonnel landmines and work towards the ever closer goal of a mine-free world, with Taiwan and civil society around the world.

Visit the ICBL Flicker gallery to take a look at the photos from the visit to Taiwan.