1 March 2012
Launch of the "Lend Your Leg" 2012 Campaign
Opening remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“Launch of the Lend Your Leg 2012 Campaign"
Palais des Nations, Room V
Thursday, 1st March 2012 at 13:20
It is a real pleasure to welcome you here this afternoon and be part of such a special event.
Today we celebrate the thirteenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Landmines. As we celebrate the successes of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, we should reflect on the dynamic partnership that changed international diplomacy. The vision of a world free of landmines galvanized governments, civil society, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and the United Nations into taking decisive action on anti-personnel mines.
The Convention has made great progress towards its universalization. With the recent accessions of Finland, South Sudan and Tuvalu, the total number of States Parties now stands at159. South Sudan is one of the most heavily mined countries and will need much in the way of assistance to fulfill its obligations. Whereas, Tuvalu is one of the world’s smallest States and is not affected mines. Yet by joining the Convention, all three States have made an important contribution to strengthening the norm against the use of anti-personnel mines.
The United Nations is all too well aware that the hard work on universalization of the Convention must continue. We commit to doing everything we can to achieve this goal. I call on all countries which have not yet done so to join the Anti-personnel Landmine Convention without delay.
This week at the United Nations Office in Geneva, speeches from ministers and other high level dignitaries are being heard at both the Conference on Disarmament and Human Rights Council. The Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention is an instrument where these different bodies of international law – disarmament, international humanitarian law, and human rights have been brought together to address comprehensively the problems and challenges created by anti-personnel mines.
The Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention broke new ground by recognizing that help and assistance must be provided to the survivors, their families and communities. Today as we express solidarity with the victims of mines around the world, we must acknowledge that this is one area where much more needs to be done. Even with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities now in place, we still have many challenges to overcome to ensure that victims of landmines have the support and help they need and are able to exercise their rights on the same basis as all other people.
An area of unfinished business is the ongoing humanitarian threat posed by mines other than anti-personnel mines (MOTAPM). The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has called for States to urgently address the humanitarian impact of MOTAPM. We will all be closely following the meetings of experts on this matter, which take place next month in Geneva.
I look forward to following the campaign events over the next four weeks and wish all of you the very best for the work that lies ahead.