Thank you, Mr. President.
Human Rights Watch co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines exactly 30 years ago and we provide research to its Landmine Monitor verification initiative, which will release its next annual report this Thursday.
There are 106 states are party to the CCW’s Amended Protocol II on Landmines. However, for antipersonnel mines, this protocol is only relevant to the 10 states that have not yet joined the Mine Ban Treaty: China, Georgia, India, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, and the US.
All other CCW high contracting parties are bound by the much stricter and more comprehensive standards provided by the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which has 164 states parties. The Mine Ban Treaty comprehensively prohibits these indiscriminate victim-activated weapons, regardless of whether they were manufactured in a factory or improvised from locally-available materials.
We join others who have appealed to all CCW states that have not yet acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty to do so without delay. We note that most of those states appear to be acting in de facto compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty’s provisions, by not using, producing, or exporting antipersonnel mines. We welcome the decision this year by the United States to realign its landmine policy with most core provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty and set the ultimate goal of acceding to it.
We join others in firmly condemning the use of antipersonnel mines by any actor under any circumstance. One of the most disturbing developments for this Amended Protocol II in 2022 is seen in the widespread use of landmines in Ukraine.
According to our research, Russian forces have used at least seven types of antipersonnel mines in Ukraine since February 24, including remotely-delivered mines and victim-activated booby-traps. This new use raises serious concerns about the effective implementation of Amended Protocol II.
In conclusion, we encourage Russia to share details with this meeting about its use of landmines in Ukraine and especially the measures it is taking taken to comply with Amended Protocol II. This includes the “feasible precautions” or steps necessary to ensure the effective exclusion of civilians from the areas such as fencing, signs, warnings, and monitoring, as required by AP II’s Article 5.2.