Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)

Meeting of High Contracting Parties

Mines Other than Anti-Personnel Mines (MOTAPM)

14 November 2014

Statement by Australia

Australia remains concerned about the humanitarian impact of mines other than antipersonnel mines (MOTAPM). This concern has not dissipated since we joined the Declaration on anti-vehicle mines in 2006.

Noting that MOTAPM will continue to have military utility for some States, particularly those with contested borders, an approach on MOTAPM that either increases detectability or further restricts use, and focuses on minimising post conflict humanitarian harm, would be an appropriate focus for the future work of the CCW.

Australia welcomes the report by GICHD and SIPRI demonstrating some of the evidence available of the negative impact of anti-vehicle mines on humanitarian assistance, the resettlement of internally displaced persons, and the post conflict development of affected countries. We understand this was only the first comprehensive introductory study. Nonetheless, this report is a useful contribution to our understanding of the humanitarian and developmental impact of MOTAPM.

Undetectable and persistent MOTAPM pose humanitarian risks to civilians. As noted by the GICHD and SIPRI report, low metal anti-vehicle mines are often missed by standard surveys and modern clearance methods and, moreover, are continuing hazards to civilians attempting to develop their land.

We agree this risk could be better managed through regulation of the use and design of such weapons to comply with existing principles of international humanitarian law, and the universalisation of such regulation.

The practical solution to addressing detectability is to ensure all MOTAPM have a specific minimum metal content along the lines established within Amended Protocol II for anti-personnel mines. This would be relatively simple to implement for all future systems. Understandably, this does not address existing stocks.

Australia supports continued discussions in the CCW aimed at minimising the post conflict humanitarian harm of MOTAPM. At a minimum, we continue to see value in keeping this important issue on the CCW’s agenda.