Mine Ban Treaty

The Mine Ban Treaty is the international agreement that bans antipersonnel landmines. It is referred to as the Ottawa Convention. It is officially titled as "The Convention to the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction". This treaty was signed in December 1997 in Ottawa, Canada. After the 40th country to ratify the treaty in September 1998, and six months later in March 1999 the treaty became binding under international law.

Currently, 162 countries are state parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and 35 countries remain outside the treaty. Almost over 80% of the world's overall countries are state parties to the treaty.

NGOs role - International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and worldwide campaign activities NGOs role is to encourage compliance and universalization of the treaty. This is done through their monitoring and advocacy activities by public statements and campaign activities worldwide. International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) takes an important initiative by Landmine Monitor to monitor implementation and compliance with the treaty.

The Ottawa Process

Prior to the Ottawa Convention, the only treaty controlling the use of antipersonnel landmines was the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) adopted in 1980 and came into force in 1983.

However, this convention needed improvement and a review conference was urged by campaigners. French President called for a review conference which was held in 1995/1996, however, making no significant change to the CCW. Campaigners' worldwide believed that a total ban was the only solution, at the same time governments worldwide were facing growing public concern to address the landmine problem.

At the end of the CCW's review conference, 40 governments supported a total ban and began working with NGOs. This initiative began in October 1996 concluding with the signature of the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa, Canada in December 1997 which is often referred to as the "Ottawa Process". The Ottawa Process was historic and unique. The treaty bans rather than regulating the use of antipersonnel mines making it the only international treaty to do so with weapons that are in use. The process was very quick, the treaty was negotiated within a year. It did not depend on the superpowers but small and medium sized nations came together. The Ottawa Process took place outside the UN system. The treaty was a extensive work closely done between NGOs and governments. The ICBL participated and continues to do so in conferences unlike many other treaties where NGOs are either excluded or remained as observer.