Canada marks 20th anniversary of the Ottawa Treaty to Ban Landmines and announces further support

News Release

December 4, 2017 - Ottawa, Canada - Global Affairs Canada

Canada is committed to eliminating landmines around the world as set out in the historic Ottawa Treaty to Ban Anti-Personnel Landmines, adopted 20 years ago.

Since the signing of the Ottawa Treaty on December 3, 1997, significant results have been achieved including the destruction of 51 million landmines and the clearing of large areas of land and roads, reducing the number of landmine victims and allowing communities to reclaim spaces that might never have been used again.

While Canada celebrates the progress achieved over the past 20 years, it recognizes that much work still lies ahead to stop the scourge of landmines. To this end, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced further support and projects totalling nearly $12 million, to pursue Canada’s goal of ridding the world of anti-personnel landmines and reducing the threat presented by other explosive remnants of war.

While men and boys are often disproportionately the direct victims of mines and explosive remnants of war, women often bear the primary responsibility of caring for survivors and indirect victims. The loss or incapacitation of spouses or other male family members can result in women facing persistent discrimination and hardship. Given these gender dimensions, Canada works to integrate gender considerations in mine action initiatives.

Canada will continue to champion a mine-free world on the international stage, through its mine action projects and through advocacy with international partners.


Quotes

“Today we have much to celebrate. Since the introduction of the Ottawa Treaty 20 years ago, significantly fewer people have been injured or killed because of a landmine. More work remains to be done to rid the world of landmines. We will continue to be dedicated to the goals of the Ottawa Treaty and to work with all of our partners to bring a final end to the scourge of landmines.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Twenty years after the Ottawa Convention was signed, Canada remains committed to mine action. As we celebrate this anniversary, and the outstanding progress we have made, we remember all those who, nonetheless, have been killed or maimed by landmines over the past two decades. It is in their name that we pledge to keep doing as much as we can to keep landmines from threatening the lives and limbs of those who live in their proximity”

- Matt DeCourcey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

The 20th anniversary of the Land Mine Treaty should be a day to rededicate ourselves to completion of the goal of ridding the world of all landmines. The risk to ordinary people in Cambodia, Colombia, Bangladesh, Syria and countless other places around the world is one of the most serious threats to life and limb. Landmines continue to be a weapon of mass destruction and there must be renewed efforts to eliminate their violent impact on the vulnerable of the world.”

- Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, PC, OC, OM, PhD

Quick Facts

  • In 1996, a global civil society movement to ban landmines was building around the world, led by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The ICBL and its founding coordinator, Jody Williams, jointly received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo.

  • In October 1996, with 50 states gathered in Ottawa to discuss a global ban, then Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced that in December of 1997 Canada would hold a treaty-signing conference for a total ban on landmines.

  • On December 3, 1997, 122 states signed Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction in Ottawa, Canada, today known as the Ottawa Convention or the Mine Ban Treaty.

  • The treaty now has 162 state parties, up from the original 122 signatories.

  • Mine action remains at the core of Canadian foreign policy and currently flows through two thematic priorities: bilateral assistance to mine-affected states as part of larger development support initiatives; and under its Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, which focuses on stabilizing conflict-affected states and putting in place the conditions for sustainable peace.

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Contacts

Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Adam.Austen@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
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media@international.gc.ca
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