THE MINE BAN TREATY
|The Mine Ban Treaty
calls for a complete ban on the use, stockpiling, production,
and transfer of landmines and for their destruction.
By signing the treaty, countries make a promise not to produce
any new landmines, and to destroy existing stockpiles of these
The Mine Ban Treaty is sometimes referred to as the Ottawa Treaty,
because it was opened for signature in Ottawa, Canada.
In 1996, a Canadian-sponsored strategy conference, Towards a
Global Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines, took place in Ottawa with
the active support of 50 governments, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL),
and the United Nations. At the close of this Conference, the
Canadian government invited all governments to come to Ottawa
in December 1997 to sign a treaty prohibiting the production,
stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines. Thus
the "Ottawa process" was officially launched.
In 1997, the Mine Ban Treaty was
officially created. It called
for countries to destroy all their stockpiled mines within four
years, and to remove all mines from the ground in their country
within 10 years, with extensions available for severely affected
countries. The treaty also includes mandatory reporting and
providing assistance with mine clearance and survivor assistance
to mine-affected countries to help deal with their mine problem.
The Mine Ban Treaty has become
binding law faster than any other international agreement in
history! In March 1999 the treaty
entered into force. To date, 155 countries have signed
the treaty and 152 have ratified it.
|What is the difference
between signing the Mine Ban treaty and ratifying it?
|Signing the treaty is a preliminary step
which shows that a country supports the terms of the treaty.
It is not legally binding but indicates that a country intends
to carefully examine the treaty in good faith. While signing
a treaty does not obligate a country to ratify it, it does create
an obligation not to do anything that would undermine the treaty.
When a country ratifies the treaty it agrees to be legally bound
|What is involved
in ratifying the Mine Ban treaty?
|Ratification involves two steps. First, the
Parliament, the Senate, the Crown (that is the King or Queen)
or the Head of State, make a formal decision to be a Party to
the Treaty. Second, the Government (normally the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs) deposits a formal letter, under seal, referring
to this decision and signed by the appropriate authority in
the country. This is called the instrument of ratification.
The original letter is submitted to the UN Office of Legal Affairs
in New York. The date of receipt is then registered as the official
date of ratification for that country.
for ratifying the Treaty are followed in each country?
|The formal procedures for ratifying the Treaty
differ enormously from country to country. In some countries
the Head of State is given the power to ratify a treaty. In
other countries, the agreement of legislative authorities is
required. In many cases, a combination of these two systems
is used. Before actually ratifying the Treaty, a country usually
makes a detailed review of the Treaty’s requirements and
gives careful consideration to what they must do to comply with
|Why did the Treaty
“enter into force” in March 1999, when it was created
|A treaty only enters into force (i.e., becomes
legally binding) when it has been ratified by at least 20 countries.