26 June 2012

Under the Mine Ban Treaty, the lifesaving ban that the ICBL helped bring about, states contaminated by landmines have 10 years from the date they join treaty to ensure all mined areas are cleared, with the goal of making the land safe for all as quickly as possible.

Under the Mine Ban Treaty, the lifesaving ban that the ICBL helped bring about, states contaminated by landmines have 10 years from the date they join treaty to ensure all mined areas are cleared, with the goal of making the land safe for all as quickly as possible. However, many states are unable to meet this deadline for a variety of reasons, including the extent of the contamination, lack of funding , or ongoing disputes over territory. The Mine Ban Treaty requires States Parties that will not meet their deadline to formally request an extension, explaining their reasons for failing to do so and their plans for the extension period. These requests have to be submitted and then approved by the other States Parties to the Treaty at the annual global meetings. The ICBL’s experts on the Treaty and mine clearance have been providing comments and critiques on these extensions – which vary widely in quality – since the first requests were submitted in 2008. States Parties also developed a process to provide initial feedback to the requesting states and to create an analysis of each request.So far in the lifespan of the Treaty, 27 states have been granted extensions to their deadlines. This number is alarmingly high, and each year the ICBL calls on the whole international community to do everything possible to ensure mined areas are cleared without further delays. The ICBL also keeps close track of what states have been doing after receiving an extension to make sure commitments they made to get an extension are respected.This year, four more countries submitted requests to extend their mine clearance deadlines: Afghanistan, Angola, Cyprus and Zimbabwe. Afghanistan and Angola are amongst the world’s most heavily-mined countries, home to a growing number of landmine victims every year. Although it will be a huge challenge for them to complete their clearance, the ICBL believes that with full commitment from the national authorities, and support from the international community, these challenges can be met. In Afghanistan, the intense work backed by a well-run mine action center and significant international resources has meant that vast tracts of land have already been cleared and concrete plans on how to complete the task have been developed. On the other hand, Angola has made less progress on clearance and management, meaning that it still needs to provide much clearer information on how it plans to live up to its obligations to the Treaty, and to its people, to clear all its mined land.Read the ICBL’s responses to Afghanistan, Angola, Cyprus and Zimbabwe’s requests to see the concerns we have raised, as well as the positive comments we have made. Or visit the Mine Clearance section of our website for more detailed information on the importance of land release, and how clearing contaminated land can aid development.You can also find details of the landmine situation in every country in the world in the Landmine Monitor Country Profiles.