What is the UN resolution on the Mine Ban Treaty?
Each year since 1997, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a “Resolution on the Implementation of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction,” commonly known as the Mine Ban Treaty or Ottawa Convention. This resolution provides an important opportunity for all states, especially those still outside the Mine Ban Treaty, to reaffirm their support for the ban on antipersonnel mines and the objective of the treaty’s universalization and implementation.
How do states vote on the UNGA resolution?
Over the past 15 years the UN Resolution on the Mine Ban Treaty has enjoyed broad support. In 2010, 2012 and 2013, a total of 165 states voted in support of the resolution, the highest number to vote in support since 1997 (the lowest was 138 in 2001).
About half of the 35 states that remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty usually vote in favor of the UN Resolution, including six that have voted in favor of every resolution since 1997: Armenia, Bahrain, Georgia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Over time, several states have softened their stance on the resolution.
Ten states not party that used to consistently abstain or be absent now vote in favor: Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Lao PDR, Marshall Islands, FS Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco and Tonga. A number of countries have acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty after voting in support of consecutive UNGA resolutions, including Belarus, Bhutan, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Nigeria, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Somalia and Turkey.
The number of states abstaining from supporting the resolution has ranged from a high of 23 to a low of 17. A group of states that could be described as most actively opposed to the Mine Ban Treaty are the 14 states not party that have abstained on consecutive resolutions since 1997 (unless noted in parentheses): Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea (since 2007), Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Syria, Uzbekistan (since 1999), the US, and Vietnam (since 1998).
Despite being the first country to introduce a resolution to ban antipersonnel landmines in 1996, the US has abstained on every UNGA resolution on the Mine Ban Treaty.
After voting in support of the resolution, Lebanon became the first and only country to ever vote against the annual resolution in 1999. It has since abstained from voting each year.
The voting record on annual resolutions is available on the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs' database.
What is the process for adoption of the UN Resolution?
In recent years, the resolution has been co-sponsored by three states: the current, previous and incoming presidents of the Mine Ban Treaty. In late October, the draft resolution is introduced for debate and an initial vote by the UNGA First Committee on disarmament and international security.
It is then voted on and adopted for a final time by the entire UNGA in early December. Both the initial and final votes are open to all UN member states present.
Why should states vote in favor of the UN Resolution?
All States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty should always vote in favor of the annual resolution as their vote constitutes a public sign of support and understanding of the need for full universalization and effective implementation of the treaty.
All states that have not joined the Mine Ban Treaty should vote in favor of the annual resolution to express their support for the treaty’s humanitarian objective of a world free of antipersonnel landmines. Such a vote provides an important signal of support for the Mine Ban Treaty and is considered an interim, confidence-building step towards their eventual accession or ratification of the treaty.