International cooperation vital in tackling scourge of landmines

Statement by David Clay MBE, UK Deputy Political Coordinator to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on Mine Action.

David Clay MBE

Thank you Mr President and thank you to ASG Zouev for you your briefing and through you I’d like to extend the UK’s appreciation for all the work carried out by UN staff working on mine action, especially in UNMISS.

Mr President, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the implementation of Resolution 2365. The United Kingdom reiterates its support for this resolution in which, for the first time, the Council calls for action against the lasting threat posed by landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices to civilians and peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel.

Twenty years after the adoption of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention landmines remain a major threat. As discussed in the Secretary-General’s report, landmines continue to kill and maim indiscriminately. It is civilians, and all too often children, that are the victims of these brutal weapons.

Although a great deal has been done and achieved to rid the world of these horrific weapons, it is clear that there is more to do. Mr President, the United Kingdom fully agrees that instruments of international law provide protection against the proliferation of explosive weapons. We remain fully committed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which we chaired in 2017; the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention; and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We call on any states not already party to these Conventions, to accede to these key international disarmament initiatives without delay. It is only when we stop producing these atrocious weapons, that people will stop being killed by them.

The UK will continue to uphold our own commitments under the Convention. We are working to clear landmines in the Falkland Islands, the only part of our territory that is contaminated with landmines. We are also proud to offer substantial international assistance. Last year, we tripled our funding for Mine Action and will spend $130 million over three years to tackle the humanitarian and development impact of landmines and other explosive remnants of war. This support is making 150 square kilometres of land safe, which will help 800,000 people, and ensure that every year, over 100,000 people – especially children – fully understand the dangers posed by landmines and how to avoid them.

Mr President, we welcome the significant role played by the UN and in particular, the UN’s focus on Strengthening National Capacity and the importance of Partnerships. In support of this, we provide funding to the Voluntary Trust Fund of the United Nations Mine Action Service and, through the UK military’s Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search branch, have supported the UN to develop the United Nations Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Standards. We welcome their completion and recognise the role they will play to ensure the safety of UN personnel who take part in demining activity.

As identified in the SG’s report, there is an appalling trend of increased use of improvised explosive devices by non-state actors. The United Kingdom supports Resolution 2370 which restricts terrorist actor’s access to weapons. We the call for more stringent national measures to deny terrorists ready access to weapons and explosive precursors. We also support the second UN General Assembly Resolution on Countering the Threat Posed by Improvised Explosive Devices.

Mr President, international cooperation is vital to tackle the criminal and terrorist networks facilitating and using IEDs. The UK is actively engaged in facilitating discussions amongst the international community on the topic of IEDs and Mine Action. The conference we hosted in May considered the challenges of realising a mine-free world, and looked at how we could overcome them. Much of the remaining clearance challenge stems from recent indiscriminate contamination by mines and IEDs. It is vital that we continue to assess the challenges ahead and collaboratively consider the means to meet these challenges. We must augment our efforts where we can so we can collectively tackle the scourge of landmines.

Thank you Mr President.

Published 29 June 2018