All European Union now on board -- the United States a lone hold out among NATO states
Ms Ewa Anzorge, First Counsellor, and Mr Lukas Zielinski, Chargé d’Affaires a. i., both from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland to the UN, with Mr Andrei Kolomoets, Deputy Chief of the Treaty Section in the UN Office of Legal Affairs, Ms Maria Vardis, Chief of Policy, UNMAS and Mr Aaron J. Buckley, Public Information Officer, UNMAS. Photo: UNMAS/Kaori Ozawa
Poland has become the 161st nation to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which comprehensively bans the use, production, trade, and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines.
Poland deposited its instrument of ratification at the United Nations in New York on 27 December 2012.
"We warmly welcome Poland as a full member of the mine ban community. Poland took a very long time to make this move, but its ratification shows that all countries can and should renounce antipersonnel landmines forever," said Kasia Derlicka, Director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).
Poland signed the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997 when it opened for signature, but it took 15 years to ratify the instrument, one of the last two signatory states to do so. During this time, it has fulfilled most of its obligations under the treaty, including destruction of close to one million of its stockpiled mines. As a result of the Second World War Poland was considered to be one of the most heavily mine-affected countries in the world. Today there are no remaining minefields in Poland.
With Poland's ratification, all of the European Union is on board the treaty and all of NATO, with the exception of the United States.
"We hope other countries will now follow in Poland's footsteps, particularly the US." Derlicka said. "There are no compelling reasons for the US to remain outside the treaty. It's time for it to join all of its NATO allies and reject these horrific weapons once and for all," Derlicka added. The United States has recently announced that its landmine policy review will be concluded "soon," which will include a decision on whether to join the Mine Ban Treaty.
The Mine Ban Treaty will enter into force for Poland on 1 June 2013.