Ottawa Convention - Facts for UPSC

Ottawa Convention is also called as Mine Ban Treaty. The full name of the convention is, “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.” The Anti-Personal Mines in India were in the use post-Indian Army’s proposal to procure over a million such mines to secure Line of Control (LoC) in 2019. Hence, the aspirants of the IAS Exam must know the facts about the Ottawa Convention and India’s scenario.

What are Anti-Personnel Landmines?

  1. Mines that are used against humans are called anti-personnel landmines.
  2. There are different than anti-tank mines as the latter is used against the tanks (vehicles.)
  3. International Campaign to Ban Landmines which is a coalition of NGOs works with an objective to end the anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. This campaign led to the Ottawa Treaty. Some important facts about the International Campaign to Ban Landmines are listed down below:
    • Formed in – October 1992
    • Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
    • Founder – Jody Williams (Winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.)
    • Research and Monitoring Arm – Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor
  4. Uses of Anti-Personnel Mines:
    • Ambush
    • Protection of the army’s base
    • Protection of the equipment while using anti-personnel mines as a bait, etc.
  5. There are typically two types of mines:
    • Blast
    • Fragmentation- Stake mines, bounding mines and directional mines are types of fragmentation mines.
  6. As of November 2017, it has been reported that anti-personnel mines are active in around 61 states and areas of the world.

Facts about Ottawa Convention

  1. It entered into force on 1st March 1999.
  2. There are 164 members to the Ottawa Treaty or Convention.
  3. Palestine is a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  4. The Marshall Islands is one country that has signed the treaty but hasn’t yet ratified.
  5. There are 34 non-signatories to the Mine-Ban Treaty. India too has not signed the Ottawa Convention.
  6. The significant producers and users of anti-personnel mines are US, China, India, Pakistan and Russia. These countries are one of the non-signatories.
  7. A scenario of US –
    • In 2004, the United States government under George W Bush announced its decision to not join Ottawa Convention.
    • In 2014, the US government under Barack Obama announced their inclination towards signing the convention. It mentioned about banning the production and acquisition of APLs and reserving their use for only on the Korean peninsula.
    • The US is a party to Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (1996 amended mines protocol). This convention does not ban the anti-personnel mine but restricts it.
  8. Claymores and anti-vehicle mines are not prohibited under the Ottawa Convention.
  9. Around 50 million stockpiled anti-personnel mines have been destroyed under the treaty’s provisions.
  10. Each state party submits its report on the actions on anti-personnel landmines to the United Nations.

India’s Neighbours – Members of Ottawa Treaty

India has nine neighbouring countries. Let’s find out which of these countries are party to the mine-ban treaty:

  1. Afghanistan – Yes, it is a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  2. Bangladesh – Yes, it is a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  3. Bhutan – Yes, it is a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  4. China – No, it is not a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  5. Maldives – Yes, it is a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  6. Myanmar – No, it is not a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  7. Nepal – No, it is not a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  8. Pakistan – No, it is not a member of the Ottawa Convention.
  9. Sri Lanka – Yes, it is a member of the Ottawa Convention.

Prohibitions under Ottawa Convention

The member states have to follow these prohibitions:

  1. Members of the Ottawa Convention can’t use anti-personnel landmines.
  2. Members of the Ottawa Convention can’t develop anti-personnel landmines.
  3. Members of the Ottawa Convention can’t acquire anti-personnel landmines.
  4. Members of the Ottawa Convention can’t retain antipersonnel landmines.
  5. Members of the Ottawa Convention can’t stockpile antipersonnel landmines.
  6. Members of the Ottawa Convention can’t transfer anti-personnel landmines.

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