FA 74

1 July 1999

Landmines Ban Convention Enters Into Force For Australia

It is with great pleasure that I announce the entry into force for Australia of the Ottawa Convention on landmines. The Australian Government ratified the Ottawa Convention on 14 January 1999. Under the Convention's provisions, our entry into force did not take effect until today.

The Australian Government has a serious long-term commitment to achieving a world without landmines. We are committed to the goals of the Ottawa Convention and complementary international efforts to rid the world of the scourge of landmines. To these ends, Australia participated actively at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention, held in Maputo, Mozambique in May.

The Government also encourages broader adherence to revised Protocol 11 on landmines of the Inhumane Weapons Convention and continues to encourage efforts in the Conference on. Disarmament in Geneva for a ban on the transfer of landmines. Negotiations for such a ban would include a number of key countries which are not party to the Ottawa Convention.

I am particularly pleased that the Maputo meeting spurred further adherence to the Ottawa Convention. Of the 135 countries which have signed the Convention, 81 have now ratified it. Ratified states have forsworn forever the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. The Australian Government encourages those countries which have not yet signed or ratified the Convention to do so quickly, with the aim of making the Convention universal.

Despite these efforts, there is an ongoing need for concerted and coordinated international action to combat the debilitating humanitarian and socio-economic effects of landmines. The Government is contributing significantly to international mine action efforts through a commitment of over $100 million for demining victim assistance and related activities in the decade to 2005.

As part of these efforts, the Government recently provided an additional $2.5 million to the UN Accelerated Demining Program (ADP) in Mozambique to support the ADP's operations and expand its mine survey and clearance activities.

With the entry into force for Australia of the Ottawa Convention, Australia's unilateral suspension of the Australian Defence Force's operational use of anti-personnel landmines, announced on 15 April 1996, will no longer apply. The unilateral suspension has been superseded by the domestic legislation enforcing Australia's obligations under the Ottawa Convention.

Media contact: Minister - Innes Willox 02 6277 7500
Department - Tony Melville 02 6261 1555

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:35:59 EST

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