REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
” EliMINATION OF ANTI PERSONNEL MINES AND THE MINES CLEARING OPERATIONS”
TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
OUAGADOUGOU – BURKINA FASO, 28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999
The issue of anti-personnel land mines continues to cause several human and civilizational tragedies and disasters, and the suffering of many states in the world, especially states of the Islamic world from the devastating mines which had been indiscriminately planted and left behind by colonial states in large areas of the territories of those estates without any maps or indications to their places. The result has been the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people representing various generations that have followed since the colonial period. They also maimed thousands of wild and domestic animals and resulted in the removal of those lands from the plans of development and reconstruction considered as non-man’s areas and mine fields that are difficult to utilize agriculturally, commercially or industrially. Furthermore, it impeded the utilization of buried mineral or archeological resources.
- Despite the contravention of the use of anti-personnel mines of the 1980 UN Convention on Inhumane Weapons, and its consideration as a serious problem for many states, especially Islamic States, yet it is regrettably observed that production and use of these mines on a wider scale in several parts of the world still continue.
- It is a cause for satisfaction, however, that several organizations in the world have recently started to deal with this problem, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, and National Societies of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, as well as other international, regional and non-government organizations that are involved in the total elimination of anti-personnel mines.
- The question of the residuals of war, of which anti-personnel mines constitute the most serious aspect thereof, was discussed by the Non-aligned Movement, especially the Fifth Summit of the Movement, held in Kuala Lumpur in 1976 and its Ninth Summit, held in Belgrade in 1989. During these conferences, leaders of the Movement State highlighted the dangers of these mines and made the States that planted them totally responsible for their consequences.
- The Organization of the Islamic Conference is cooperating with relevant international and regional organizations in this matter, and is exerting continuous efforts, in collaboration with the Red Cross, to put an end to this problem which seriously affects several Member States. The OIC is closely pursuing the elimination of antipersonnel mines and removal of their harm and risks to life and the environment.
- To confirm this interest, through its treatment of the issues of disarmanent in the world, especially the subject of reparations for damages caused by colonialism and after-effects of war, where resolutions thereon paid attention to the gravity of antipersonnel mines, the OIC made the colonial states which had planted these mines in the Member States bear their humanitarian, moral and material responsibility. Out of his interest in this serious matter, the Secretary General had decided to include this subject as a separate item on the agenda of the 23rd ICFM which was held in Conakry, Republic of Guinea, in December 1995.
- Islamic Conferences urged OIC Member States to intensify their support for mine clearing operations and to strengthen international cooperation in this field. They also urged the International Community, particularly the developed countries to provide substantial assistance for the removal of anti-personnel mines and to ensure access by all states, especially mine stricken states, to advanced material, equipment and technology as well as to ensure the removal of all existing restrictions in this regard.
- The Islamic Conferences appealed to the States parties to the UN 1980 Convention and the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to redouble efforts so that they may be able, through their cooperation and coordination within the framework of the UN to take strong measures aimed at putting an end of the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines and at taking action towards their gradual elimination.
- The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference as well as the 25th ICFM underlined relevant Islamic Resolutions and expressed deep concern over the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines and the safety of civilian populations and their economic development. The two Conferences also took note of the resolution passed by the Conference on Nuclear Disarmament during its 1997 Session in which it appointed a special Coordinator to seek the views of the Conference members on the most appropriate procedures to deal with the issue of anti-personnel landmines and on the possible mandate.
- The two Conferences urged the international community, especially the developed ones, to extend significant assistance for the purposes of elimination of anti-personnel mines and to ensure that all states, especially those states which suffered from mines, are equipped with advanced equipments and systems and to remove any related obstacles. The appealed to the international community in general and the OIC Member States in particular to contribute and assist in rehabilitating the victims of anti-personnel mines.
- The Secretary General is of the view that states which had planted anti-personnel mines in its former colonies, especially the OIC Member States, have the moral and humanitarian responsibilities to pay for the preparations for the huge human and material losses caused by these mines, and that they should provide afflicted states with maps of the mines, as well as provide the latter states, as soon as possible, with advanced technology and the necessary expertise to eliminate the mines which the colonial states had planted.
- The Secretary General exhorts the international community, in particular states that produce such weapons, to stop production thereof or reduce production to low levels; and their use should be in accordance with binding conditions, notably, providing relevant maps so as to ease clearing operations when conditions leading to their planting are over; and that they should not be used indiscriminately, especially in civilian, agricultural, industrial, arheological and civilizational areas.
- The Secretary General is submitting this report to the Twenty-Sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister for consideration and appropriate decision.