Practice Relating to Rule 83. Removal or Neutralization of Landmines
In 1976, during discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons established by the CDDH, Italy stated that “the obligation to record the location of minefields and to fit a neutralizing mechanism on remotely delivered mines provided a satisfactory guarantee for the civilian population”.
As an example of cooperation that we extend, allow me to share with you our experience in Cambodia, our long-time partner in mine action. In a project that was started in 2013, Japan supported the activities of Cambodian Mine Action Centre, or CMAC, to clear 5,600 hectares of land in the heavily mined province of Battambang. The support included a component for agricultural development on the restored land, consisting of development of infrastructure such as rural roads and agricultural facilities, and capacity building on agricultural activities.
The project was succeeded by another project starting from 2016, in which Japan provided CMAC with new mine clearance machines to replace its old ones, in order to accelerate mine clearance to create another 7,000 hectares of land free from mines. The new project again includes agricultural component on the restored land, aiming at ensuring safety in local agricultural activities and improving the livelihood of 210,000 residents in four targeted districts.
Despite the remarkable progress, however, challenges still remain in front of us, and we also face emerging problems. It is clear that many countries will have to continue their efforts of mine clearance for years.
In an effort to ensure human security, Japan has been continuously providing assistance to tackle various issues caused by anti-personnel mines around the globe. Since 1998, we have contributed more than 800 million US dollars to mine action in 51 countries and regions. In the 12 months starting from April last year, we have implemented 43 projects in 24 countries and regions.
Our support focuses not only in mine clearance, but also in risk education, construction and reconstruction of schools and revitalization of economic activities to promote local stability and development. Our support is comprehensive in a sense that it includes assistance to survivors for their full integration as well as their equal and effective participation in the society.
In order to accelerate our efforts, we need to work in innovative ways. Japan’s advanced technology promote innovation to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the world’s efforts to further achieve the objectives of the Convention. As an example, some Japanese private companies assist NGOs to conduct mine clearance, and even contribute to reconstruction of local facilities on cleared lands, in their own capacity. Mine clearance machines and devices developed by Japanese private sector and academia largely contribute to acceleration of demining, releasing more land for development and better livelihood of local communities. Part of that technology will be presented in details in a side event that we will organize after this morning session, and everyone is welcome to learn more about innovative way of mine clearance.
In the implementation of the Convention, the ownership of States Parties is indispensable. Aiming to put an end to casualties caused by anti-personnel mines, Japan remains committed to working together with impacted countries, civil society and the international community.