Practice Relating to Rule 83. Removal or Neutralization of Landmines
Fiji’s Anti-Personnel Mines Decree (2011) states:
In exercise of the power vested in me as the President of the Republic of Fiji and the Commander in Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces by virtue of the Executive Authority of Fiji Decree 2009, I hereby make the following Decree –
TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE CONVENTION ON THE PROHIBITION OF THE USE, STOCKPILING, PRODUCTION AND TRANSFER OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES AND ON THEIR DESTRUCTION IN FIJI.
PART 4 – DESTRUCTION OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES
Delivery or notification of Anti-Personnel Mines
19. – (1) Any person who knowingly possesses an anti-personnel mine otherwise than in accordance with section 26, must, without delay, deliver it or notify the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and make arrangements for the anti-personnel mines collection and destruction.
(2) If an anti-personnel mine is delivered to a member of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, or a police officer, in accordance to section 19(1), the member or the officer, as the case may be, must ensure the destruction or permanent deactivation of the mine.
Destruction of Anti-Personnel Mines
20. – (1) Subject to section 22, the Minister shall ensure the destruction of all –
(a) stockpiled anti-personnel mines owned or possessed by Fiji or under its jurisdiction or control;
(b) anti-personnel mines in mined areas under the jurisdiction or control of Fiji; and
(c) anti-personnel mines notified or delivered for destruction under section 19.
Marking, monitoring and protection
21. Where an area is identified as a mined area or is suspected to be a mined area, the Minister shall, as soon as possible,
(a) ensure that such area is perimeter-marked and protected by fencing; and
(b) employ such means as are necessary to notify civilians of the presence of anti-personnel mines,
until all anti-personnel mines contained therein are destroyed.
Permission to retain or transfer
22. The Minister may, in writing, grant permission for a specified number of anti-personnel mines to be in the custody of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces –
(a) to be placed under, on or near the ground or other surface area, or
(b) be possessed; or
(c) be produce[d] or otherwise acquired; or
(d) be physically moved, or for the purpose of development of, and training in any or all of the following –
(i) mine detection techniques;
(ii) mine clearance techniques;
(iii) mine destruction techniques; and/or
(iv) mine deactivation techniques.
In 2011, in a statement submitted during the 11th Meeting of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, the head of the Fiji delegation stated:
Mr President, hearing statements of progress and development from member countries this week and of course the continuing support and significant contribution from major donor agencies towards this worthy course, I can only add that the ensuing momentum would no doubt consolidate resources to providing unprecedented support and cooperation amongst affiliated international organizations at the grass root level for the sustainment of demining and building the lives of those affected immensely by land mines. …
Mr President, Fiji is one of the many Island countries in the South Pacific and common knowledge revealed that the Second World War was fought on the Pacific front. In the post war development, these smaller Island countries are still littered with World War II (WWII) ordnances such as cluster munitions and other explosives[;] though it may not be a direct threat to the people[,] … the leakage of explosive materials, contamination and the gradual corrosion of war heads from missiles and mortars is a major concern.
Mr President, in the Pacific, we have nothing but our natural resources, land and sea as the only means of sustaining our livelihood. Tourism, on the other hand[,] is an added value to our fragile economy. The Pacific is surrounded by vast ocean and the concern for the delay in demining and the proper disposal of these WWII ordnances in our respective sea beds is somewhat a sensitive issue to discuss diplomatically with major donors such as Japan, US etc given their direct involvement in the war.
These WWII ordnances significantly pose unprecedented threats to our Pacific Ocean, our environment, resources and if not expeditiously addressed now, it could destroy our only source of livelihood. Fiji, currently Chairs the Melanesian Spearhead Group which includes Vanuatu, Solomons, and Papua New Guinea and these countries were then regarded as battle fields in the WWII. Hence, on the margin of this forum, we would be able to focus on specific areas of assistance and development to these countries by maintaining our Pacific as a safe and secure place to live.
… The Fiji government being renowned for its active participation in the various UN peace keeping missions since the 1970’s, stands ready to provide resources in a form of assisting smaller Island States with affirmative action to engage collaboratively in the clearance, demining of active landmines, cluster munitions and other related WWII ordinances.