05 November 2014
Purna Shova Chitrakar, NCBL founder and coordinator, speaking at a public outreach event. ©ICBL
Since 1995, the Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL) has worked to raise awareness within civil society about the loss of lives and property caused by landmines and to encourage the Government of Nepal to ban the production, transfer, use and stockpiling of the weapon.
This year, in celebration of the Mine Ban Treaty’s 15th anniversary, the NCBL initiated a joint program with the Ministry of Education to raise awareness on the dangers of antipersonnel mines among children and young people. As part of these efforts, the NCBL launched the “Zero Mine, Zero Victim” campaign including mine risk education (MRE) workshops and public information activities.
NCBL also met with national authorities in 2014 and issued an online petition to urge the government of Nepal to join the Mine Ban Treaty as well as the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as soon as possible.
Nepal has experienced first-hand the human suffering caused by landmines. The Landmine Monitor has identified 923 mine/ERW casualties in Nepal since 2003. Though the total number of casualties in the country remains unknown, at least 688 landmine survivors have been recorded.
Ban Landmine Campaign Nepal. ©ICBL
Although Nepal is not a State Party - it is one of 35 countries in the world, which remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty - the country has made significant efforts to abide by the treaty’s obligations. The Government of Nepal is currently preparing a voluntary Article 7 report on steps taken to implement aspects of the convention, for instance. Additionally the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) concluded at the end of the decade-long civil war in 2006, committed the government and the former Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists, to stop all use of mines and required the parties to assist each other to mark and clear mines.
As a result, Nepal was declared free of mines on 14 June 2011. Nepal has stated that it is now only using antipersonnel mines for training purposes, and that, in line with Article 3 of the treaty, only a minimum number of them have been retained. Nepal does not produce antipersonnel landmines and prohibits their transfer - key provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty.
Today, all of the major political parties in the Nepalese government have pledged support for accession to the Mine Ban Treaty. Now is the time for the country to join the global mine ban community and embrace the goal of a Zero Mine, Zero Victim Nepal with adequate assistance for all landmine victims in the country.