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Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Amended Protocol II
on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices
Group of Experts
9 April 2013
Thank you Madam Coordinator
Over the past few years, we have welcomed the opportunity to discuss how to tackle problems associated with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the Amended Protocol II Group of Experts. Australia continues to support this discussion which helps revitalize and re-energise our work under Amended Protocol II. We would like to thank you for your efforts as Coordinator, and the efforts of the Co-Coordinator from Switzerland, in leading the way on this topic.
IEDs are a threat to security forces and the broader civilian population in those countries where these weapons are indiscriminately deployed. Australia knows all too well the devastating effects of IEDs. More than a third of all combat deaths incurred by Australian forces in Afghanistan have been caused by IEDs. Australians have also been affected by IEDs in the tragic terrorist bombings in Bali in 2002 and 2005, at the Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta in 2004 and at the Ritz Carlton Hotel bombing in Jakarta in 2009.
While it is an unfortunate consequence for military personnel that they may be attacked in war, this should not be the case for civilians. In Afghanistan, as in Iraq and other countries, it is civilians – women, children and men – who bear the brunt of insurgent IED attacks. Since 2009, the large majority of casualties result from insurgent attacks using IEDs.
Like others, we invest heavily in the development of effective counter-measures to these weapons and their deployment. In Australia, as elsewhere, there is a great deal of work being conducted by military and police forces to defeat the IED threat and to protect military and civilian personnel from their effects. Better armoured vehicles, personal body army and improved detection equipment only solve a part of the broader problem.
We also recognise there is a need for more coordinated international responses to combat IEDs. In Australia’s view, this is the right forum to conduct further work on the IED threat. In this regard, work under Amended Protocol II on improving information sharing about the impacts, design and use of IEDs could help demonstrate that collectively we can work together to deter and reduce IED attacks.
In defeating the IED threat, it is accepted doctrine that all elements of the IED network must be attacked – the parts suppliers, the manufacturers, the financiers, the planners, the facilitators and emplacers. While our scientists will work on better detection and protection, for our part, we also look to options in other inter-related instruments and fora to learn from and build upon their experiences. A comprehensive approach is needed to address the complexities of the IED threat.
For Australia’s part, we have provided a range of assistance for training, supply of equipment and sharing of information and intelligence to our neighbours to build their capacity to better tackle IED threats. By way of example, Australia hosts an annual bomb data centre conference with South East Asian counterparts to exchange information, share experiences and build relationships. We have also been working with Singapore on information transfer on the CBRN and home-made explosive fields. Along with others here today, we have participated in major international conferences on home-made explosives. Recognizing that almost all IEDs used by terrorists in South East Asia are constructed from commercially available chemicals such as ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate, hydrogen peroxide and others.
Apart from increasing assistance in many regions of the world to clear and destroy explosive remnants of war (ERW), Australia also continues to support Bomb Data Centres in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. This facilitates information sharing on IED-related discussions. The Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police have expanded their training from South East Asia into South Asia and are developing further options for assistance to build Counter-IED capacity in Africa. Australia continues to provide equipment solutions in association with these Counter-IED development and training activities.
I now have the great pleasure in handing over the floor to Brigadier Wayne Budd, Commander of the Australian Defence Force Counter-IED Task Force, who will make a presentation on “Improving Information Sharing”.