24 June 2011

Press Release -- for immediate release (Geneva, 24 June 2011). Nigeria, which joined the Mine Ban Treaty in 2002, declared that it is free of antipersonnel landmines during an international meeting held in Geneva this week. "We welcome Nigeria's completion of mine clearance and the work that continues around the world to clear mine-affected land," said Kasia Derlicka, director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). "But at the same time, we are deeply disturbed that landmines continue to be laid in Burma, Libya, and, apparently, southern Sudan," she added.

This week, representatives from 100 governments as well as the United Nations, international organizations and the ICBL met in Geneva for annual "intersessional" meetings of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The week has seen a mixture of good and bad news:

  • Germany announced that it had discovered an area suspected to contain landmines and cluster munition remnants at a former Soviet firing range at Wittstock in the east;
  • The Pacific nation of Tuvalu participated for the first time in a meeting of the Mine Ban Treaty, and said it intends to join;
  • ICBL member Human Rights Watch confirmed antipersonnel landmine use by Libyan government forces in the Nafusa mountains;
  • The southern Sudan Demining Authority said that landmines have been used recently in the region by "renegade" rebel groups, but also said that southern Sudan intends join the Mine Ban Treaty after it formally becomes an independent state on 9 July;
  • Turkey, which missed its stockpile destruction deadline in 2008, declared that it will complete the destruction of its remaining antipersonnel mines by the end of August 2011;
  • Belarus, Ukraine and Greece, the other States Parties that also missed their stockpile destruction deadlines, described the measures they are taking to destroy their mines;
  • Algeria, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Eritrea requested extensions to their treaty-mandated deadlines to clear all their mined areas.

"Germany's identification of a potentially mined area is surprising, but shows the government is transparent, and we are pleased that Germany will assess the area to determine if clearance is required," Derlicka said.

Cambodia will host the Mine Ban Treaty's 11th Meeting of States Parties in Phnom Penh from 28 November - 2 December 2011. The ICBL is a coalition of non-governmental organizations that is working to create a landmine-free world. In 1997, it received the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in the creation of the Mine Ban Treaty. A total of 156 countries have joined the Mine Ban Treaty, while 39 states remain not party.

Media contact: Kate Wiggans, Media & Communications Manager (In Geneva, GMT +1), Email: kate@icblcmc.org, Mobile: +41 78 685 1146

Background: For information and updates on States Parties obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty, please visit the Landmine Monitor website. For more details of the ICBL’s work at the intersessionals this week, please visit the official website for the conference.