Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign Condemns Libyan Antipersonnel Mine Use
(Geneva) March 31, 2011 — The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) strongly condemns the reported use of antipersonnel mines by the Libyan Armed Forces in recent fighting with rebels in eastern Libya.
On March 28,more than 50 antipersonnel and antivehicle mines were discovered near power pylons outside the town of Ajdabiya by electrical technicians. A Human Rights Watch investigation reported that the mines had recently been laid. The Libyan Armed Forces controlled the area from 17-27 March.
“The use of these inherently indiscriminate weapons poses a great threat to civilians,” said Kasia Derlicka, ICBL Director. “Landmines must not be used by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances.”
The ban on antipersonnel mines has become a widely accepted international norm since the adoption of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Myanmar (Burma) is the only other government in recent years to use antipersonnel mines. Libya is one of 39 states outside that remain outside the treaty.
The ICBL strongly urges Libya to halt any further use of mines; provide information on the location, quantities, and types of all mines laid to
enable rapid clearance; and to join the Mine Ban Treaty without delay.
During a meeting on March 25, in Benghazi, Gen. Khalifa Hufter, commander of the rebel forces in eastern Libya, made a pledge not to use any type of mines. The ICBL welcomes the commitment made by Gen. Khalifa Hufter on behalf of the rebel forces based in Benghazi that they will not use landmines.
The ICBL calls on all parties to the conflict in Libya to prohibit the use of antipersonnel mines by their forces and urges the clearance and destruction of all landmines in Libya.
A total of 156 nations have joined the Mine Ban Treaty since it was adopted in 1997, while two states have signed., but not yet ratified (Marshall Islands and Poland). Under the Mine Ban Treaty, states must renounce use of antipersonnel mines, destroy their stockpiles of the weapon, clear all their mined areas, and provide comprehensive assistance to landmine survivors.
The ICBL is a network with members in over 90 countries and areas, working for a mine-free world, where landmine survivors can lead fulfilling lives. The ICBL received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty.
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