Sri Lanka becomes 163rd nation to accede to landmine ban treaty

Sri Lanka has become the 163rd nation to accede to the anti-personnel mine ban convention, fulfilling the pledge it made last year to join the international community in supporting the ongoing landmine clearance programme, the foreign ministry said here today.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the UN Rohan Perera deposited the Instrument of Accession to the Convention of the Prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction, it said.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly referred to as the Mine Ban Treaty or Ottawa Treaty, was adopted on September 18, 1997 at the Diplomatic Conference on an International Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Land Mines at Oslo, Norway. The treaty, which came into force on March 1, 1999, prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines.

By joining the Convention each state undertakes to destroy all stockpiled anti-personnel mines it owns or that are under its jurisdiction or control, not later than four years after the acceding to this treaty.

“As a full state party, we look forward to taking our place in the promotion of this Convention, including through capacity-building and mine clearance,” Perera said at an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Ottawa Convention, titled ‘A World Free of Landmines’.

Sri Lanka, in March last year, had pledged that it will be acceding to the convention to become the 163rd state of the Convention. But the island nation had faced some criticism for the delay in acceding to the convention.

In view of its battle with the LTTE in the island’s north and east provinces, the Sri Lankan Army had defended itself that the use of mines by the military is strictly limited and restricted to defense purposes only, to demarcate and defend military installations.

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