Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)
Amended Protocol II – Sixteenth Annual Conference of High Contracting Parties
11 November 2015
Statement by Australia
Congratulations on your assumption of the chairmanship of this 17th Annual Conference of the Amended Protocol II of the CCW.
Australia reconfirms our support for Amended Protocol II and its foundational role in addressing the long-term harm to civilian populations caused by mines, booby traps and other devices. Australia is also a strong supporter of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and would like to recognise in this forum the remarkable success of these instruments, particularly the Mine Ban Convention, in reducing civilian casualties and economic loss caused by anti-personnel mines. We urge states present which have not acceded to these conventions to do so.
The Mine Ban Convention sets a norm of international law which is adhered to by 162 UN Member States. We welcome, and indeed congratulate those states not yet party to the Convention who are nevertheless taking concrete steps and making public commitments towards accession.
We wish to commend France and UNIDIR for their initiative in organising yesterday’s side event on Strengthening the International Response to IEDs, and welcome the valuable suggestions made at this event for possible ways forward on this issue for the UN and the international community.
As a former Coordinator of the Group of Experts on Improvised Explosive Devices, Australia welcomes the Report and recommendations of the Group for 2015 and supports further work by the Group in 2016. We would like to thank participating States for their valuable contributions to these discussions and encourage delegations to continue sharing information on national experiences and best practices to minimise use of these devices.
In this context we are glad to announce that Brigadier John Shanahan will, at this conference, be providing an update on the results of the AXON-Global IED database trial, which has been undertaken in collaboration with the Group of Experts. Australia welcomes the development of such information exchange and remains willing to work with CCW Amended Protocol II States Parties to further progress this important work. He will also be updating the Conference on the International Counter IED Leaders Forum held in Canberra 2-4 September 2015 with Mr Ian Rotsey from Interpol.
IEDs have caused injury and death to military personnel and civilians in many parts of the world for decades. Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also other conflicts, show the harm caused by the indiscriminate effects of IEDs.
Civilians are affected disproportionately by the use of IEDs, which is a clear affront to international humanitarian law and the universal values on which it is founded.
Australia was pleased to co-sponsor with 26 other states the Afghanistan-led resolution in the 70th session of the UN General Assembly - "Countering the Threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices" and welcomed its adoption.
Australia recognises that greater coordination and sharing of best practice can help States more successfully combat the use of IEDs. We believe that Amended Protocol II remains a useful forum to promote discussion on how to improve information sharing on IEDs and their components, and to identify and develop best practices to minimise the spread of IED use.
As we all know, under international humanitarian law, the means and methods of warfare are not unlimited. The CCW and Amended Protocol II are an important part of this body of law, which seeks to raise standards of conduct, in relation to military conflicts.
Thank you, Mr President.