Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Statement820

Certain Conventional Weapons

Twentieth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II

20 November 2018

Agenda Item 7: General Exchange of Views

Statement by Australia

Mr President

I would like to firstly express Australia’s gratitude for the work that you and your vice Presidents have done in preparation for this Twentieth Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II of the CCW.

The ongoing use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) targeting civilians is a clear affront to international humanitarian law and the common humanitarian values on which it is founded.  In too many conflicts across the world, mines, IEDs and booby traps pose an unacceptable threat to the civilian population, both during and after hostilities.   These weapons cause indiscriminate death and suffering, prevent displaced people from returning home, and hold back economic development long after conflicts have ceased.

As part of Australia’s comprehensive efforts to reduce the suffering caused by indiscriminate weapons, Australia is a strong supporter of not only Amended Protocol II of the CCW, but also of Protocol V, and of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

We would like to recognise in this forum the complementarity of all these instruments, and urge states that have not acceded to these conventions to take concrete steps towards doing so and fulfil their reporting obligations.

Mr President

Allow me to cite a few examples of the practical contribution Australia is making to improve the safety of civilians from the threat posed by IEDs.  Australia contributed more than $11.6 million last financial year (2017-2018) on mine action activities.  This included:

  • $4 million to United Nations Mine Action Service’s project in Syria as part of Australia’s $220 million Syria Crisis Humanitarian and Resilience Package
  • $3 million to the United Nations Mine Action Service’s project in Iraq as part of Australia’s Iraq Humanitarian and Stabilisation Package
  • $550,000 to the Mines Advisory Group project in Sri Lanka to help Sri Lanka meet its obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.  (We note and welcome Sri Lanka’s accession to that Convention in December 2017)
  • We also allocated $300,000 to the United Nations Mine Action Service to develop its monitoring and evaluation framework and to update the United Nations Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes.

Australia considers clearing of mines and IEDs to be a humanitarian imperative for the successful distribution of aid and safe return home of thousands of displaced residents.  We also support efforts by states parties to pursue work on stockpile management and encourage cooperation in capacity building and establishing best practice.  We commend UNODA’s website on IEDs as an important portal for existing guidelines, best practices and other recommendations on combatting IEDs.  

Mr President

We urge all states to abide by the restrictions placed on the use of weapons addressed under this Protocol, and to widen and adapt our efforts to address the long-term suffering they cause.

Thank you, Mr President.