23 September 2011

(Geneva, 23 September 2011) The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has acceded to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, the United Nations announced yesterday.

Tuvalu’s accession brings the total number of states now party to the lifesaving ban to 157. It is the first country to join since November 2007 when Palau, another Pacific nation, acceded to the ban. Kasia Derlicka, Director of the ICBL said: “It’s vital that even small countries ban landmines, as the more states that join the stronger the global norm that the use of antipersonnel mines by anyone is unacceptable.”

In June, representatives from Tuvalu for the first time attended an official Mine Ban Treaty meeting, and announced that a recommendation would be made to the Cabinet to accede to the Treaty. In early August Prince Mired of Jordan, the Mine Ban Treaty's Special Envoy on Universalization visited Tuvalu to discuss accession with government leaders.

“We congratulate Tuvalu for following up on its positive statement with positive action by acceding to this treaty and putting another country on the growing map of those committed to banning this inhumane, indiscriminate weapon,” Derlicka added. While announced yesterday, the UN reported the actual date of accession was 13 September.

Other countries in the Pacific region that are not yet party to the Mine Ban Treaty are the Marshall Islands (which signed the Treaty in 1997 but has yet to ratify it), the Federated States of Micronesia, and Tonga.

“We hope Tuvalu’s accession will set an example for other countries in the Pacifc region and elsewhere who have not yet joined the ban, and although Tuvalu is the first country in almost four years to aceede to theTreaty a number of others appear poised to do so, including Finland and Poland next year," Derlicka said.

For more information on Tuvalu's involvement in the Mine Ban Treaty process please visit the Landmine Monitor.