1211 GENEVA 19


Resolution adopted without a vote* by the 96th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Beijing, 20 September 1996)

The 96th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Concerned that the widespread use of landmines is a considerable obstacle to the establishment of conditions for peace within and between States previously in conflict, as well as in States whose territories were the scene of an international conflict,

Acknowledging that landmines continue to disrupt refugee settlement, agricultural development and reconstruction of basic communications and transportation infrastructures long after armed conflict has ended,

Aware that the widespread loss of life and injury caused by landmines perpetuate inter-community and inter-State tensions,

Aware also of the tremendous loss of life and destruction that such weapons inflict on economies, especially those of young countries, which need all their human resources to win the battle for development,

Concerned that there are over 110 million anti-personnel mines laid in more than 60 countries - most of them in the developing world - and that a further 100 million remain in national stockpiles,

Deploring the fact that every year some 10 million anti-personnel mines are produced, and condemning the fact that 2 million new mines are laid annually, whereas mine clearance operations account for the removal of no more than approximately 100,000 mines a year,

Appalled at the fact that landmines have maimed at least 250,000 people in the world and kill more than 10,000 people each year, more than 90 per cent of whom are civilians, mostly women and children,

Aware of the dangers of landmines for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, and deploring the fact that 42 persons engaging in such activities have been killed and 315 injured,

Noting that a further danger of anti-personnel mines is that their low cost of manufacturing (US$ 3-5 per mine) makes them affordable to even the poorest countries, and pointing out that, by contrast, the human and financial cost of mine clearance is particularly high (US$ 900-1000 per mine),

Convinced that mine clearance and support measures, namely the re-establishment of security and the facilitation of reconstruction measures in affected areas, require international solidarity and greater involvement of the States affected by the landmine problem, as well as understanding and co-operation on the part of States responsible for laying them,

Welcoming the contributions already made by States to mine clearance, and the notable achievements of many international and non-governmental organizations in tackling the mine problem worldwide, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,

Acknowledging the efforts of the Review Conference of the 1980 United Nations Convention on Prohibition or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), as well as United Nations General Assembly resolution 50/70(0) of 12 December 1995,

Recalling the contribution of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to promotion of international humanitarian law and a total ban on anti-personnel mines, particularly the resolutions on these subjects adopted at the 90th, 93rd and 94th Conferences,

Welcoming the unilateral steps taken by a number of States to ban the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines,

Concerned that, often, the instability of the terrain in which landmines are laid makes their location and removal or deactivation impossible,

1. Calls on parliamentarians to urge their governments to ban anti-personnel mines, develop comprehensive programmes for destroying existing stockpiles and support international efforts to achieve a binding international agreement on a global ban;

2. Also calls on States to accede at least to revised Protocol II (landmines) of the CCW which was adopted on 3 May 1996 at the Review Conference in Geneva;

3. Further calls on States to accede to Protocol IV (Blinding Laser Weapons) of the CCW;

4. Urges those States which are not yet parties to the CCW to take the necessary steps to accede to it, and calls on all States to strengthen and promote universal adherence to that instrument;

5. Requests the United Nations to strengthen its efforts to secure the elimination of anti-personnel landmines;

6. Calls on the international community, in the meantime, through the United Nations, to draw up an international register of transfers of and trade in anti-personnel mines;

7. Welcomes the establishment in September 1994 of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance, and calls on the international community to provide ongoing financial support since present funding is inadequate, only US$ 20 of the 75 million sought having been so far made available;

8. Calls on States to provide financial assistance for mine clearance on a bilateral and multilateral basis, take measures to raise awareness of the dangers of landmines and train mine-clearance personnel;

9. Urges States with expertise in mine clearance to provide technical assistance and advice to countries requiring them and to develop local mine-clearance capabilities in these countries, and recommends to this end the following support measures:

(a) Development of training in mine detection, mine clearance and munitions destruction for former soldiers or other suitable personnel in the affected areas, which will also facilitate their reintegration following demobilization;

(b) Participation in programmes to catalogue, map and mark mines and minefields;

(c) Exchange of data with landmine documentation centres and exchange of information on mines and explosive devices that have been planted during conflicts after the cessation of hostilities;

(d) Initiation of and support for programmes to raise awareness and educate local populations;

(e) Promotion of integrated programmes to provide assistance for landmine victims (setting-up and funding of orthopaedic workshops and surgery centres, rehabilitation of landmine victims);

(f) Support of non-governmental organizations in such activities and improvement of the conditions under which they operate in the countries concerned;

(g) Promotion of technical improvements to maximize the effectiveness of mine detection and humanitarian mine-clearance operations and the ensuring of the fullest possible exchange of equipment for this purpose;

10. Calls on States to assist humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in their activities, particularly their current programmes to make the civilian population aware of the dangers posed by mines, and in providing aid to the victims of anti-personnel mines;

11. Notes the important work being done by the IPU's Ad Hoc Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL), especially the survey it is conducting on parliamentary action to ensure application at the national level of IHL and of the IPU's recommendations concerning anti-personnel mines, thanks those Parliaments which have already replied, and urges all IPU members which have not yet done so to supply promptly the information requested;

12. Calls for the IPU, in conjunction with other international organizations, to work towards a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines.

* The Chinese delegation expressed a reservation to operational paragraph 1, while the Cuban, Libyan and Vietnamese delegations expressed reservations to the text as a whole.

IPU Statutory Conferences | Home page | Main areas of activity | Structure and functioning